Microsoft Office is available in multiple flavors. And then, there is Office 365, which is a subscription service. It works both in the browser and desktop apps. It also works with all the Office versions that Microsoft has released over the years — Office 2019, Office 2016, and Office 2013, and things quickly become confusing.
For those who want to install and run two versions of the Office suite on Windows 10, there are some pre-requisites you need to fulfill.
You should avoid installing multiple versions of Office on the same Windows 10 computer if you can. It will cause all sorts of problems and may or may not work. Microsoft didn’t design them to work that way. The single biggest problem will be the file association.
Another problem could be the file format. Microsoft used the .doc proprietary format for all files created in Word. That changed with the launch of Office 2007 when Microsoft started using the .docx format. The same goes for other Office apps too. They all have x at the end.
2. License and Key
You will need an official CD and product key to install and activate an older version of Microsoft Office. Even if you manage to install it using a .exe installable file, you will still need a key to activate it. Otherwise, you will have to bear with the constant pop-ups that ask you to upgrade Office.
There are two types of licenses. One is the OEM license, which is non-transferable. In that case, the Office suite was pre-installed on your computer. The other is a retail license that you bought separately, and that came with a key and CD.
The good news is that Microsoft was lenient about users installing Office 2013 and older versions on two computers. The case is different for 2016 and subsequent versions. They track these licenses and machines they are installed on.
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3. Versions You Can Install
You can’t install Office 365 and the home or business version of Office 2019, Office 2016, and Office 2013 on the same Windows 10 computer. The only way to do that is when one version of Office was installed using MSI. That’s for volume licensing products. If that’s the case, you can install another version of Office on the same Windows 10 computer and use them alright.
4. Standalone Office Apps
Some users have just Word or Excel installed on their computers because they don’t need or use any other Office app. You will see the pop-up below when installing a different version of Office on the same Windows 10 computer.
Microsoft notes that you will have to select the Install Anyway option to overwrite it as the two apps can’t co-exist. One exception to this rule is when the standalone Office app is not part of the Office suite that you are installing. In that case, it will not be removed. An example can be when you have Word 2007 installed and are trying to install Office 2019.
5. Incompatible with RDS
Remote Desktop Service is a Microsoft product that users use to access other Windows machines virtually from a remote location. Microsoft says that multiple versions of Office suite are not compatible with such a machine.
You will either have to disable the RDS (Remote Desktop Service) or remove it completely to make it work. That can be a problem because once you disable it and install another version of Office and then re-enable RDS, there is no telling how these two products will behave. The result may vary depending on your OS build number and Office versions installed.
6. Follow Version Sequence
You need to install the earlier version of Office first before you install the latest version. Let’s take an example. If you want to install Office 2007 and Office 2016, then you need to install the Office 2007 version before you install the Office 2016 version.
Well, what if I already have the Office 2016 version? In that case, you need to remove it and install both in the correct sequence.
7. Pick the Correct 32-Bit or 64-Bit Version
You cannot mix them. That will create all sorts of conflicts. It will depend on whether you have a 32-bit computer or 64-bit. Both the Office versions must be the same bit. To check, press Windows key+E to open File Explorer and right-click on This PC to select Properties.
You can check your computer’s architecture, RAM, Windows edition, and more. Note it down and then download and install the correct Office versions on the same computer.
8. Version Combination
I found two support pages buried deep in the Microsoft support site where you will find some more information on what to expect when going ahead with the installation. You can either install Office 2007 or Office 2010 with Office 2013, 2016, and 2019.
Keep It Simple
There are many things that you need to keep in mind before you can install a different version of Office on the same Windows 10 computer. It's better to install only one version or go for another Office suite like LibreOffice. If you still want Microsoft Office, go ahead and tell us how it went in the comments below.
Next up: Looking for an office suite of apps for your smartphone? Click on the link below to view a curated list of 5 Office suite apps for both Android and iOS.