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Windows 11 Microsoft Office gets native 64-bit ARM support — what this means

Windows 11 Dynamic refresh rate
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Windows 11 is the talk of the town, and while the excitement for the new OS is still fresh, Microsoft announced that it's rolling out a native 64-bit version of Office for Windows-on-ARM devices. 

This new 64-bit Office variant is specifically designed and tailor-made for the ARM64 platform. The Redmond-based tech giant promises that it will bring greater memory availability, run at a faster rate and offer better support for large documents.

Microsoft Office 64-bit ARM version comes to Windows

In a blog published on Monday, Microsoft Engineering Manager Mike Smith announced that Office is set to support the ARM64 platform with the next generation of Windows. 

Smith added that the new Office 64-bit ARM version will maintain compatibility by using "new x64 emulation capability" provided by Windows 11. This is optimistic news for ARM-powered PCs. Windows-on-ARM devices such as the Surface Pro X are difficult to recommend due to their app incompatibility issues and performance dips. However, this new 64-bit ARM version of Office may mitigate these issues.

Microsoft Surface Pro X (SQ2, 2020) review

Surface Pro X (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Microsoft's move to launch a new optimized Office app for Windows-on-ARM PCs seems rather late. After all, M1 MacBooks got their native version of Office at the end of 2020, so an Office update for ARM-powered Windows machines was long overdue.

Microsoft promises enhanced performance with the newly updated productivity suite. "Office on ARM will feel and perform just like Office on Intel-compatible processors," Smith said.

How to test the new Microsoft Office for Windows-on-ARM PCs

It goes without saying that you'll need a Windows device packed with an ARM processor to test the new Microsoft Office optimized for the ARM64 platform. You should also uninstall any 32-bit versions of Office.

Next, you'll need to download the Windows 11 preview build. You can do this by following our guide here. Finally, visit Office.com and install the latest version of Office (64-bit). ARM-optimized versions of Office applications will automatically install.

Microsoft Office for ARM

Microsoft Office for Windows-on-ARM (Image credit: Microsoft)

If you want to confirm that you're running the new Office for Windows-on-ARM, launch the Task Manager and check the architecture of the apps.

"The applications currently enabled as ARM64 include Excel, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word," Smith said. "Other applications will run in x64 emulation mode."

Look out for the full version of Windows 11, accompanied by the newly redesigned Microsoft Office, this holiday season.

Windows 11 news

Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!