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32-bit vs. 64-bit Microsoft Office
By Richard Rost   Richard Rost on Facebook Richard Rost on Twitter Richard Rost on LinkedIn Email Richard Rost   7 years ago

2020 UPDATE: This article was originally written in 2013 when the default install of Office was still 32-bit. In 2018, Microsoft decided to make the default install for Office 2019 and Office 365 to be 64-bit, completely changing their previous stance on the matter. So, it's now 2020 and I'm going to be updating my databases to have a 64-bit option. I will still maintain backward compatibility for 32-bit in my lessons for the near future. I still stand by my original viewpoint: 32-bit is just fine for 99% of people and 64-bit is unnecessary, but the trend is now clear: Microsoft will be using 64-bit moving forward.

Lots of people have been emailing me asking whether or not they should install the 32-bit or 64-bit versions of Microsoft Office. Here's the general rule of thumb: Unless you absolutely need the increased capacity of the 64-bit version, then you should install the 32-bit version of Office.

The 32-bit version is the most compatible with everything else that is out there. The 64-bit version does not include compatibility with most of the ActiveX controls, 3rd-party add-ins, and ALL of the 32-bit databases that you'll find out there (including MINE).

Chances are, you probably don't need 64-bit Office anyway. The main reason for the 64-bit version is to allow file sizes over 2 GB. If your Excel spreadsheets are that big, they should be in Access! To make things worse, even 64-bit Access still has the 2 GB file size limit! If you have a single Access database file that's larger than 2 GB, you can split it up into multiple tables or upsize to SQL Server (which you probably should with that much data anyway).

Sure, 64-bit is the future... but it's a long way off. If you want to maintain any kind of compatibility with the rest of the world right now, stick with the 32-bit version. Large enterprises that are running a single solution may want to consider 64-bit, but the rest of us should just stick with 32-bit.

Even Microsoft agrees with me: "If users in your organization depend on existing extensions to Office, such as ActiveX controls, third-party add-ins, in-house solutions built on earlier versions of Office, or 32-bit versions of programs that interface directly with Office, we recommend that you install 32-bit Office 2013 (the default installation) on computers that are running both 32-bit and 64-bit supported Windows operating systems."

How to get MY sample databases to work on 64-bit Access:

Now, I personally don't have any 64-bit installations of Office here in my office (pun intended). So all of my databases that I post are 32-bit versions. You will NOT be able to use any of the ACCDE (encrypted) test databases, but if you purchase a seminar or template, when you get the FULL version (ACCDB file) you will be able to create a new blank ACCDB file on your 64-bit machine and then IMPORT all of the objects out of my 32-bit database (tables, queries, forms, etc.). Some of my databases use 32-bit specific controls, like COMDLG32.OCX, but the majority of them should work just fine after you import the objects into a 64-bit database file.

Here's another article about the topic.

Here's an article Microsoft posted in 2018 regarding updating your VBA code: 64-bit VBA Overview.


64-bit VBA LongPtr PtrSafe LongLong Link 
Selby Halfpenny     
2 months ago
Dear Richard, Could you please explain PtrSafe and LongPtr with 64 bit Access API Declarations. How is long different from longptr?.
Regards Selby
Richard Rost    
2 months ago
Microsoft posted an excellent article on this: 64-bit VBA Overview
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32 bit vs 64 bit Microsoft Office Link 
Dani L 
3 years ago
Its was very helpfull
Thank you very much . Dani
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32 bit vs 64 bit Microsoft Office Link 
4 years ago
i have been having some problems with my 64-bit version because its the one on my machine now my question is that do you allow me also to install 32-bit version as the best solution ?.
secondly how do i open an ACCD file format that came in 32-bit version with 64-bit version ? Read More...
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32 bit vs 64 bit Microsoft Office Link 
7 years ago
Access 2010 64 bit on my Sony laptop with an AMD E450 processor loads faster than my Acer laptop with an iCore-3 processor with Access 2010 32 bit. The real acid test would be to test it out on 2 separate computers with the exact same Windows and hardware configuration.
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32 bit vs 64 bit Microsoft Office Link 
7 years ago
I have the 64-bit version on one of my laptops at home. With the lessons learned from accesslearningzone.com, a user should be able to create databases and do at least 80 percent of the content that Richard lectures on in the Access videos. The 64-bit version does load faster, so it is leveraging the operating system. Read More...
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Keywords: 32 bit 64 bit office longptr ptrsafe longlong  PermaLink