A boxed copy of Microsoft Office 2016 sitting on a laptop.
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Is your version of Office still getting security updates? It depends which version you’re using. Microsoft has a published support lifecycle, but it can be difficult to dig up the info. Here’s what you need to know.

Software updates are important for Office just as they are for other applications. An out-of-date version of Microsoft Outlook is vulnerable to malicious emails, but even an out-of-date version of Microsoft Word is vulnerable to malicious DOC and DOCX documents you might download and open. Even a malicious image you copy-paste into an Office document could potentially compromise your system if you don’t have the latest updates.

Mainstream vs. Extended Support

First, let’s go over the difference between “Mainstream Support” and “Extended Support.” Just like Windows releases, every Office version receives “Mainstream Support” for several years when it’s first released. Microsoft will continue updating that version of Office with new features.

Several years after that, it’s put into an “Extended Support” period. Microsoft will stop adding new features, but will continue issuing security updates throughout the Extended Support period.

Organizations may also be able to buy Extended Security Updates after the period, just as they can with Windows 7.

As long as your version of Microsoft Office is still receiving at least extended support, it’s still getting security updates.

RELATED: What It Means When Microsoft Stops Supporting Your Version of Windows

How Long Will Microsoft Support Your Version of Office?

These versions of Office are still getting security updates, as of November 2020:

  • Office 365, available through a Microsoft 365 subscription, is always kept up-to-date with the latest software.
  • Office 2019 for both Windows and Mac will get security updates until October 14, 2025. The mainstream support end date is October 10, 2023, while the extended support end date is October 14, 2025. (Source)
  • Office 2016 for Windows will get security updates until October 14, 2025. The mainstream support end date is October 13, 2020, while the extended support end date is October 14, 2025. (Source)
  • Office 2013 for Windows will get security updates until April 11, 2023—as long as you have Service Pack 1 installed. The mainstream support period ended April 10, 2018, while the extended support end date is April 11, 2023. (Source)

Office applications normally get automatic updates. Here’s how to ensure automatic updates are enabled in Office.

The following versions of Office are no longer supported, as of November 2020:

  • Office 2016 for Mac received security updates until October 13, 2020. Mainstream support ended on that date. Unlike Office 2016 for Windows, it did not receive extended support. (Source)
  • Office 2011 for Mac no longer gets security updates. Microsoft stopped supporting it on October 10, 2017. (Source)
  • Office 2010 for Windows only received security updates until October 13, 2020. The mainstream support period ended on October 13, 2015, while the extended support end date was October 13, 2020. (Source)
  • Office 2007, Office 2003, Office XP, Office 2000, Office 97, Office 95, and older versions of Microsoft Office no longer receive security updates. Office 2007, for example, reached the end of its extended support period on October 10, 2017. (Source)

Want to know whether a Microsoft product is still getting security updates? Head to Microsoft’s Search product lifecycle page, and search for the name of the product you want information about.

What to Do If Your Version of Office Isn’t Getting Security Updates

if you’re still using an older version of Office that isn’t getting security updates, you should upgrade immediately to something modern and supported.

For example, you could get a Microsoft 365 subscription or buy a boxed copy of Office 2019. There are several ways to get (or try) MIcrosoft Office for free.

You don’t necessarily have to spend money—you could try a free and open-source office suite like LibreOffice, use a web-based office suite like Microsoft’s free Office Online or Google Docs, or install Apple’s free iWork software for Macs.

Whatever you do, however, we recommend you use office software that’s modern and up-to-date with security updates.

RELATED: How to Get Microsoft Office for Free

Chris Hoffman Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffman is Editor in Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for nearly a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than 500 million times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
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