Will your Mac run Microsoft Office 2016?

Word2016IconXMicrosoft has released a preview of Office 2016, which you can download from the Office Web site (a 2.66GB download) and install on any Mac that supports it. The latest version of Office offers an interface that is optimized for OS X Yosemite, bringing a flatter look, and better integrates Office with Microsoft’s cloud services. As with any new software suite, you might be wondering whether or not you can install and use it on your Mac.

At its basics, even if you have a speedy and relatively new system, unless you have Yosemite running then you will not be able to install Office 2016. Unfortunately, and likely because of programming restrictions and service support in Yosemite, this is the only system requirement for Office.

This means the following systems are ultimately eligible for running the Office 2016 preview. This will likely continue to be the case for the final version of Office:

  • iMac (Mid-2007 or newer)
  • MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)
  • Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)
  • Xserve (Early 2009)

Note that since Yosemite requires 2GB RAM or greater, this will also be a requirement.

As a result of this, if you want to try Office 2016 and are using OS X Mavericks or prior, then you can download and install Yosemite from the App Store as a free upgrade, provided your Mac supports it.

Once installed, Office 2016 will be continually updated as new releases are issued, until the final build is available later this year. Microsoft has not yet discussed pricing options for Office 2016.

Office 2016 installation

The Office 2016 apps will be directly in your Applications folder, as opposed to a separate Office folder as with prior versions. Office 2016 will also not touch prior Office installations.

When installed, you will see your new Office Apps as separate applications within your Applications folder, instead of being enclosed in a separate Microsoft Office subdirectory. The installation will not overwrite any prior version of Office; however, do keep in mind that with multiple versions on your system, you will have more than one official handler for Office document formats. Therefore, you may inadvertently trigger one Office app to open when you intend a different one. You can change this by getting information on an Office document and using the Open With section to set the desired application for handling that document.

24 thoughts on “Will your Mac run Microsoft Office 2016?

  1. David Emery

    The only reason I would buy -and suffer through more gratuitous Microsoft GUI changes- after I retire at the end of the month would be if I go back to work…

  2. Tony Brown

    Is Microsoft Office really designed to work with a Unix type operating system or is it prone to the usual Microsoft susceptibility to viruses etc.? Seems to me that would be an impossible intellectual leap for Microsoft.

    1. Randy Singer

      The only “viruses” that Microsoft Office for the Macintosh has been susceptible to are macro viruses. Word has a built-in macro language (Visual Basic) which allows the user to script shortcuts and it allows third parties to craft and offer additional functionality. Word has had a built-in feature to protect you from Word macro viruses for well over a decade now. Simply turn on “Macro Virus Protection” in Word and Excel to block malicious macros from running. More info:
      Probably because of the presence of this protection, word macro viruses, while not exactly extinct, are now incredibly rare. And not at all something that you have to stress over.

  3. Lawrence Krupp

    There seems to be great confusion as to whether the new Office for Mac will REQUIRE an Office 365 subscription. If that is the case I will not be upgrading.

  4. Ian Weir

    Installed it and first opened up Outlook. Crashed. Opened again Crashed. Was trying to import setting from 2011. Maybe later they’ll get their stuff together.

    Why would anybody in the right mind subscribe to Office 365. Sounds like a Bill Gates billion dollar idea to keep ripping of the public like Microsoft has done for decades.

  5. B. Jefferson Le Blanc

    I might install Office 2016 on a Yosemite test partition just out of curiosity. I would highly suggest a similar strategy for anyone thinking of taking a look at it. Remember, this is early days and it’s beta software. Testing it on your main system is risky. Testing it with real work is just plain foolish, unless you have backup copies of that work. Of course, using Yosemite on your main system is also risky; it, too, is beta software and hardly ready for prime time, despite the fact it’s been out for six months.

    That said, I’ll probably wait till Office 2016 has been reviewed by a few knowledgeable people and I have an idea whether it’s worth the effort. Compatibility with Yosemite is hardly enough at this point since Office 2011 seems to work fine in OS X 10.10.x.

    On the one hand, hating Microsoft is so 1999. Yet if you do still bear a grudge, there are now a number of alternatives on the Mac. They have rather antique interfaces, but they work. And they can read and write Office compatible documents if compatibility is necessary – as it usually is.

    It’s nice to see Outlook included with the new version of Office, as Entourage once was. Of course that doesn’t mean Microsoft won’t still break it out of the main suite and charge a premium for it, as they do with Office 2011. Given their cloud strategy, I’m sure there are many surprises yet to come with Office 2016, of which the price may be the least of it.

    One interesting note, a Yosemite-like version of Office will bring the Mac and Microsoft versions even closer together since both Apple and Microsoft have adopted the same flat UI meme. Go figure.

    1. floob

      Considering the turd that OS X has turned into I’m seriously considering Win 10 as my main OS once it’s out; assuming the disconnected feel of Win8 disappears.

      I’d prob stick with mac hardware unless Lenovo figures out how to make a decent trackpad…although the trackpoint is not bad. But, sigh, their 15″ Thinkpad has an off center keyboard now.

  6. Lloyd

    I installed on a Dual Core 2.53 Mini with 8 GIG RAM, running Yosemite 10.10.3 (second version of the seed) and had no problem importing from Office 2011 Outlook. The best part is that all of the complex and very extensive Excel work books I use no longer require me to have to boot onto Excel 2004 for printing because Excel 2011 screwed up cell padding, failed to keep spacing settings, and printed a shrunken page. The vertical spacing remained okay, but the horizontal spreading out reduced printed font size to the point that some pages were worthless.

    So far, no issues. Now, I might be able to phase out 10.6.8, which I kept primarily for my Excel work.

    1. Bob Dugger

      Lloyd – I’ve gone through all my apps to check compatibility with OS X 10.10, and the most significant question I still have is whether my VBA macros in Excel 2011 will run OK on 10.10. Sounds like you probably have some experience in that area – any problems to report with VBA & 10.10?

      1. Lloyd

        Sorry for not responding… did not receive a notice.

        Because of the lousy way Excel converted very detailed sheets with lots of columns and conditional formatting, I stuck to Office 2004 – 2011 expanded horizontal cell padding, causing fonts to shrink in order to fit “one page wide x “x””, resulting in a full page in width, smaller fonts, and about 1/3 less in length per page.

        Excel 15.8.1 took a little getting used to because of the “flat” look (they’re trying!), but printing was perfect. I only used a few macros in a summary sheet and those failed. In order to keep from crashing, I had to re-save all of my “docs” and Workbooks in .xlxs, from .xls.

        Updates came out about a week or so ago. Excel was updated to 15.9. Some changes, including the option to leave the page header “natural” or Excel green. Was able to get two sheets from page one of a four-page doc to print once. Crashed. Downloaded a sheet from OneDrive that I had sent up from Office 2010, Windows version running OS 7. Made a few changes, saved the shee “as” and deleted the original from my desktop.

        From that point on, I have not been able to print in Excel. As soon as “Print” is selected, it crashes. The reporting process shows the full file I had deleted, along with an entry carrying my computer name, the term “CustomLog,” and the time and date is sent to MS.

        I tried “Recent” to see what whould show up and the file I had downloaded appeared. I opened it and actually was in OneDrive. Quit. Removed all docs from OneDrive (never used it for anything but photos for work). Disappeared from the “Recent” menu. Quit. Booted from backup made before I u[dated the MS items. Did all of the stuff one does. Checked for damage. Ran DiskWarrior. Checked for frag. (Almost none.) Booted back to the main Yosemite partition, went through the Shift boot, reboot, PRAM reset, second reboot.

        Tried opening a different version of the book (one for each month for the last five years). Had some old versions saved as .xlxs. No luck. Start to print. Crash. Report showing the same file, along with a new CustomLog entry for every failed attempt. Tried to locate the “CustomLog” file. No luck.

        Rebooted to the backup Yosemite partition. Trashed the Excel updated version from the main partition. Did not run the full installer. Simply copied Excel 15.8.1 to the applications folder. Ran DW one more time, after running Prefs, rebooted to the main partition. Could print just fine. As soon as the print info completed, it crashes. But at least, I can get a print.

        Be careful.

        Waiting for 15.9.x. Have not had a chance to Google to see if others having problems with this latest update.

        One other issue: This outlook performs much better that the one from 2011. Problem is that the search feature won’t find anything, of any knind, any place. I have submitted a number of “what you can do better” with the automatic screen shot feature and my email. Been that way since first installed.

        Good luck.


  7. Randy Singer

    Visual Basic is part of Office, not part of OS X. Assuming that you will be running the same version of Office under Yosemite as you do currently, everything should work exactly the same. Office 2011 is fully compatible with Yosemite:

  8. tgd

    We found repeatable bugs in Powerpoint 2016 for Mac within 2 minutes of launching it.
    It crashes every time we try to delete a master layout.

    How does a fault so basic find its way to market?

  9. Georgi Karakolev

    Will the new Microsoft Office Package work well enough (i mean not lag) on my MacBook Pro Late 2011 – Intel i5 4GB RAM? Please answer me, because it lags a bit from the OS X El Capitan. Should I upgrade with the new package 2016 or stay with the old one package 2011? Please tell me, I really need an opinion!

    1. Randy

      Georgi, if your entire Mac lags since the update to El Capitan, then before you do anything else, I recommend that you re-install El Capitan, only this time do a clean install of the OS. You should be seeing a performance increase with El Capitan, not a noticeable lag in performance. Users who upgrade via a clean install don’t see a performance decrease.

      Personally I have a 7 year old iMac with only 4GB of RAM that was running great under OS X 10.6, and it now is performing even better under El Capitan.

  10. Owen Baxter

    It’s OK if you have a machine with an SSD. Apart from that it’s really slow to launch. Once it’s running it’s… Office minus some of the better parts of Office 2011, but at least with a cleaner GUI. I would never use it myself because I have high standards – that’s why I use a Mac – but many of my clients do and it.. well it works most of the time. That’s about the kindest thing I can say.

    1. nala

      thank you for your answer Mr. Baxter. I’ve installed office 2016.
      > It has a better interface than office 2011, much cleaner GUI as you said

      > it is slow to launch
      > i have a lag processing, especially when running ms. excel. even when i have a small amount of data
      > it has no ms. access
      > it lacks some important features, for example some pivot table options in ms. excel

      Thanks you

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