HomeEnd User SetupConfiguring ExcelShould I Install 64-bit Excel?

2.1. Should I Install 64-bit Excel?

Applies to: All products

Does @RISK come in a 64-bit edition?

With recent versions of @RISK and all our other tools, the installer automatically detects 32-bit Excel or 64-bit Excel and works with it. There's no need for separate Palisade installers for 32-bit and 64-bit code.

I currently have 32-bit Excel. If I switch to 64-bit Excel, will I get faster performance?

In most situations, no. If you work with large simulations in @RISK, more than 2 GB★ of data, you may benefit from 64-bit Excel. See Memory Used by @RISK Simulations to estimate the size of your simulation data. Most @RISK models will not run faster in 64-bit Excel. The same is true for the other tools: unless you have a really massive workbook, larger than 2 GB★, you will not see faster performance from 64-bit Excel.

64-bit Office is recommended when you have gigabytes of data and you have enough physical memory to store it, because then the data can all be held in RAM without being paged out to disk. There is no speed improvement from 64-bit code as such, only from holding data in RAM and not paging it out to disk. If your data size is under 2 GB★, you can more easily hold all data in RAM by simply not running other memory-hungry applications at the same time.

In Choose the 32-bit or 64-bit Version of Office 2016, which actually applies to Office 2010–2016, Microsoft says "We recommend the 32-bit version of Office, because it helps prevent compatibility issues with most other applications, especially third-party add-ins." For this reason, by default Office installs itself as a 32-bit application, even in 64-bit Windows. The same article warns that third-party add-ins and controls may not work with 64-bit Excel. Palisade software works with 64-bit Excel, but not all other add-ins do.

Microsoft's article 64-bit Editions of Office 2010 says, "this additional capacity is needed only by those Microsoft Excel users who require Excel spreadsheets that are larger than 2 gigabytes★ (GB). The 32-bit version of Office 2010 provides the same functionality and is also compatible with 32-bit add-ins." Later, the article says that 64-bit "Project 2010 provides improved capacity, especially when you are dealing with many subprojects to a large project." Again, unless you are simulating really massive projects there is no need for 64-bit Office.

★ In June 2016, Microsoft released a Large Address Aware update to Excel 2013 and 2016, which changed the 2 GB limit on address space. With this update installed, 32-bit Excel in 64-bit Windows will automatically be able to use a 4 GB address space. If you have 32-bit Excel 2013 or 2016 in 64-bit Windows, getting this update is a much simpler solution than installing 64-bit Excel.

The same update increases the address space of 32-bit Excel 2013 and 2016 to 3 GB in 32-bit Windows, but to activate it you must set an option in your boot file. Please read the Large Address Aware article carefully before you set the option in your boot file, because that may cause other system issues.

Last edited: 2016-08-12

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