UPDATE! – Microsoft Office 2016 is Crashing on OS X El Capitan

It appears users of Microsoft Office 2016 are experiencing a high incident of the applications crashing since they upgraded to OS X El Capitan. Microsoft has acknowledged the problem and has indicated they are working closely with Apple to come up with a solution but have not indicated when that might be released.

Emails released by Microsoft have acknowledged the issue and one senior program manager, commented:

“We are aware of the issue with Outlook 2011 on El Capitan and of Office 2016 on El Capitan,” “We are working on a fix for 2011, and for 2016, we are working closely with Apple to resolve this issue as soon as possible,” “Unfortunately, we do not have any timelines for either fix, please stay tuned and thank you for your understanding.”

These problems may not be coming as a surprise to some as a review of message boards shortly after the release of the first public beta of OS X El Capitan in late July made mention of these issues.

A support discussion on Microsoft’s site (currently) goes on for 25 pages with close to 250 messages about the issue. Here is a link to the Microsoft Support Page so you can read some of them yourself.

No one is saying whether Microsoft had access to the pre-release versions of OS X El Capitan prior to its release on September 30th but given the popularity of the office suite, and the fact that Apple regularly makes their software available to third parties prior to a release, we would expect that they did get a copy. Beyond that, we suspect that at least some of the nearly 120,000 Microsoft employees obtained a copy of the pre-release software as part of Apple’s public beta program and certainly cold have done their own testing.

Until a solution is presented it will be hard to know whether this issue is caused by a problem with Microsoft’s application or something within the OS X El Capitan operating system. Regardless, absent evidence of other applications having a similar issue or more widespread crashes across the OS X El Capitan platform, we see this as Microsoft’s problem to fix.

One frustrated Microsoft user posted:

“You cannot blame Apple for this. It is down to Microsoft to test and update their own software to run on updated operating systems,” “How would Apple have access to the development code for a Microsoft product?”

Testing of the first maintenance release of El Capitan (10.11.1) is already in the hands of beta testers and no one is saying whether a fix for this issue is, or will be included in that release.

The Bottom Line

Our suggestion is, at least for the time being, if you are thinking of upgrading to Office 2016 for Mac, wait until this issue has been address and fixed. If you are using an older version of the Office suite, you should be OK. If you have already upgraded to Office 2016 for Mac and are experiencing issues, you may want to consider uninstalling the office suit and reverting back to an older version or using an alternative suite of applications.

If you are using a newer Mac, you should already have access to Apple’s Pages, Numbers and Keynote applications, all of which can save files in an Office compatible format.

Another option is one of the free, Open Source Office alternatives like Apache Open Office or Libre Office just to name two.

We’ll continue to follow this situation and provide an update when a solution is finally provided.

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UPDATE – 10/8/2015

Microsoft has released a partial fix for this issue.  On September 7, 2015, Microsoft released Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 14.5.6 update and they state on their web site:

The hang situation that occurs during an account sync operation in Microsoft Outlook for Mac 2011 is fixed.

Microsoft is still researching the issues associated with Microsoft Office for Mac 2016 which affects the entire Microsoft Office suite of applications. No estimate has been provided as to when that fix may be available.

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