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How Do I Get Mac Excel and Word Back After Catalina Upgrade?

i just upgraded my MacBook Pro to Catalina and lost my Mac Excel and Mac Word. The app
store only has apps for MS Word 365 which requires a subscription.????? Help

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Pat Schelling

Comments: 44 Responses to “How Do I Get Mac Excel and Word Back After Catalina Upgrade?”

    5 months ago

    So it sounds like you were using very old versions of Word and Excel that were 32-bit. Catalina only supports modern 64-bit apps. I did a video on this a while back: https://macmost.com/what-to-do-about-32-bit-apps-before-updating-to-macos-catalina.html

    So you need to update. You can use the current versions in the Mac App store with an Office 365 subscription. A regular one is $100 per year, and they have a personal subscription for only $70 per year. https://products.office.com/en-us/buy/compare-microsoft-office-products-for-mac

    Software subscriptions are the way things are going as the developers need a sustainable way to update software. The old method where people bought it as cheap as possible and then didn’t update for 10+ years was killing the industry.

    As you can see wit that link they still do offer a “Office Home & Student 2019” one-time purchase for $150 if you really want that. But I’d imagine eventually it will be subscription-only.

    If having Word and Excel aren’t important enough to you to spend $70/year, then there are alternatives. You can just use Pages and Numbers, which you get for free with your Mac. Or, you can use Google Docs or Open Office or something else.

    Les schreiber
    5 months ago

    Does that mean Microsoft does not plan to upgrade the office sweet, so I should discard it from my applications?
    I also have Quicken which falls in the same category what do I do with that?

    5 months ago

    Les: Microsoft has been constantly upgrading the office suite. There are new versions out this year, including versions now distributed through the Mac App Store. The Quicken site shows Quicken 2019 for Mac, so it appears they are up-to-date as well. Just check the developer sites and you’ll see.

    Klaus
    5 months ago

    I have the latest Excel version (16.30) but with Catalina I cannot open newer documents, message says …not accessible

    5 months ago

    Klaus: Have you contacted Microsoft support about that?

    Neil Nothard
    5 months ago

    Gary, thanks for the advice. I will be moving to Pages and Numbers. How do I get an existing Word or Excel file to open in Pages and Numbers? Thanks

    5 months ago

    Neil: Just open it and it will convert. Try it.

    Marianne Leone
    5 months ago

    I cannot open any word docs after upgrading to Catalina. Would like to move my word docs to pages, but they won’t open. How do I open them?

    5 months ago

    Marianne: Is this because you had an old version of Word that no longer works? If so, one option is to simply get a newer version of Word. If you want to leave Word and switch to Pages, then you should be able to open them in Pages. Drag and drop on to Pages or choose File, Open in Pages and select those documents. If not, what happens when you try?

    Marianne Leone
    5 months ago

    I have tried to drag and drop files but Pages rejects them> I did, apparently, have an old version of Word that didn’t work with the Catalina upgrade. This Word does not seem to have an “open in pages” option. It has “open” but that is just to open the file.

    5 months ago

    Marianne: Launch Pages. Go to File, Open. Then select the Word document in there.

    Marianne Leone
    5 months ago

    Thanks, I just discovered your comment up at the top of the page and guess I will do the one year subscription and then move everything to Pages!

    Helen Killick
    5 months ago

    Where can I buy a new version of Word, excel etc for Apple in the UK?

    5 months ago

    Helen: Did you check in the Mac App Store? It is there in the US, but I’m not sure about the UK. Then you would go to Microsoft’s site to get the subscription. If not, you can always download from the Microsoft site too, I’m sure.

    Pradeep Desai
    5 months ago

    i tried dragging the file from word document as well as copy and past it doesn’t work
    Microsoft needs money desperately

    pages & number ( free) is the way to go

    Camilla Degerth
    4 months ago

    Before reading this I updated to Catalina, knowing that there were issues with Office, but also upgraded to the new Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint believing this would allow me to open docs and upgrade them. Now I cannot open any doc or convert them to Pages as suggested above. I will try to call Microsoft support as soon as I have a couple of hours during office hours but any other suggestions meanwhile would be appreciated.

    Pam Killingsworth
    4 months ago

    I also upgraded to Catalina and upgraded to newest version of office 365. Still cannot open any excel or word docs. Also have tried drag and drop to numbers and Pages with no success. I need access to these documents. Any help appreciated.

    4 months ago

    Pam: Have you contacted Microsoft support? They should be able to help. I did find this: https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/msoffice/forum/all/updated-mac-to-catalina-and-now-cannot-access-word/cc0ec467-a930-463e-ada3-f674fe2fddb4 but I’m not sure if that is the problem you are having. Are you sure you are logged into your Microsoft account in the Word app? Have you tried to use File, Open inside of Page to select these documents to open them in Pages?

    eden walker
    4 months ago

    Does anyone know the Microsoft support phone # so I don’t go in circles. So because I upgraded to Catalina and word and excel had come with my MacBook air, does that mean I need to pay moving forward? or just use pages?

    4 months ago

    eden: How long ago did you buy your Mac and what version of Word did you have? You probably need to upgrade if it was an old version. Or, just use Pages if Word isn’t that important to you.

    eden walker
    4 months ago

    HI Gary – my macbook air is from 2012 so whatever version was available at that time. Am not sure. Do I need to pay to upgrade?

    4 months ago

    eden: Yes. You would need to get the latest version from Microsoft.

    Alexei Hardingovic
    4 months ago

    Hello,
    I just want to call you out on some BS – ‘very old versions of Word and Excel that were 32-bit’ – excuse me, everything on my Mac was 32-bit until this latest update, Catalina. And ‘the developers need a sustainable way to update software’ just means they want more money for mostly the same product. 100 dollars a year? Are you f***king kidding me? You must be a software developer ;) Do you know that we all have other costs too?

    Sharron K. Hawkins
    4 months ago

    Same problem, I was automatically upgraded to Catalina and now I can’t open (or even find) my old Word documents. I have tried all suggestions and none of them work since the old Word documents are gone. I can’t transfer something that’s just not there. So, is there a way to uninstall Catalina and go back to the previous operating system (temporarily) while I retrieve my old Word documents and load them onto Pages or something? Thanks.

    4 months ago

    Sharron: Your first step is to simply find the documents. Upgrading to Catalina doesn’t delete them. Perhaps they were on Microsoft OneDrive and you simply need to log into that? Going back to Mojave from Catalina is a long and difficult process and it won’t find your files for you.

    ken Murphy
    4 months ago

    i ran into the same problem with Catalina – i use excel daily and there is no other option then to pay the $70 or $100 for my family – it does seem like a way to get more money from millions of people and likely happen again in a few years. funny how everything was fine yesterday and now its not. no other option right?

    4 months ago

    ken: If you look on Microsoft’s site, they do have an Office Home & Student option that is $149.99 one-time instead of annually. You won’t get upgrades with that, though, of course. And no OneDrive and other things.

    Ken Murphy
    4 months ago

    thanks gary – do you know if that is family package? my kids mainly use google docs and other items like that in school vs excel/word – but be great to get my wife’s machine working up to see again too..thanks. no avoiding this so i might as well do the right thing now

    4 months ago

    Ken: You can read about the details on the Microsoft site. I think it is 1 computer though.

    Michelle
    3 months ago

    Are you kidding me with this? I purchased this Microsoft office and use it daily for work and school. So now Apple creates an update that just eliminated my *** program? Now I have to buy it again? WTF

    3 months ago

    Michelle: Unless you bought Word a long time ago you either have a 64-bit version or can upgrade to one. I think only versions prior to 2016 would require you to buy an upgrade. In that case, if you find Word worth it, then you’ll need to pay Microsoft again (4 years since). If you don’t think it is worth it there are many cheaper and free alternatives. See https://macmost.com/8-ways-to-handle-microsoft-word-documents-on-your-mac.html

    Steve
    3 months ago

    I find it hard to believe that Apple has decided to wipe out a program like excel because it is old. Then state that all you have to do is buy it if you require it. This may be a reason to leave my MAC and look at buying something else. Thinking like this kills good companies.

    3 months ago

    Steve: Apple didn’t “wipe out” Excel. macOS Catalina will only run 64-bit apps. Apple stated this 2 years prior and even gave visible warnings in Mojave if you were still running 32-bit apps. Microsoft, being a good developer, updated Excel to 64-bit way before that in 2016. So it is only if you have 2015 or older version fo Excel that it is 32-bit and won’t run in Catalina. Just get a newer version of Excel and it will run fine. It isn’t “because it is old” it is because it is 32-bit.

    terry
    3 months ago

    I just got a message that my mac needed updated as my computer usually gets these update icons. So my computer automatically downloaded them as it has been doing since i bought my mac. I’m not a genius when it comes to computers but now that Catalina is on my computer everything is screwed up. I no longer have my office word program that i bought and had installed when i bought my mac. Is this another way Apple is out to screw us all by making us all pay twice for what we’ve already paid for

    3 months ago

    Terry: How is Apple benefiting by you paying Microsoft to update your software? If Office is worth it to you to keep using, then just pay for the current version. If not, there are so many FREE alternatives, including Pages/Numbers/Keynote given to you free from Apple, or OpenOffice, Google Docs, etc.

    Terry
    3 months ago

    Hey Steve, I agree with you 100%. Companies that do these things like Catalina are ruining their own company. If one person doesn’t like it, ok i can call that a fluke, but when everyone i know that i’ve talked too tells me, after it’s been downloaded on my computer, don’t let that program get onto your computer. To late, I’ve been F—–, now it’s on my Mac and I’ll have to take it to my computer persons to get it taken off my computer. By the way, I have to agree with Steve!

    terry
    3 months ago

    Gary, sorry i typed before i read your comment. My Mac was working just fine. Already bought and had office word, excel all of it installed on my computer when i purchased my Mac. You said free but nothing this Catalina installed on my Mac is free, nothing. TV cost and didn’t before Catalina. Word costs and didn’t before plus worded just fine before. Everything costs money, why do i have to pay for Office word program again when i already bought it and had it installed ?

    3 months ago

    Terry: You had an old version of Word. Sometimes we have to pay for upgrades. Software costs money to develop — Microsoft employs lots of programmers to develop those apps. You bought Word more than 4 years ago, so it is not unreasonable to have to pay for a new version every once in a while. But like I said, there are free alternatives. Pages IS free. It doesn’t cost you a cent more to download it and install it (you probably already have it). If Microsoft Office is too expensive for you to update, then that’s fine. It is professional software and most people don’t need it. Use Pages. Use OpenOffice. Use Google Docs. Those are all free. Yes really free. I’m not sure what you mean by “TV cost and didn’t before Catalina” — the TV app is free. Maybe you are confusing it with the paid “Apple TV+” service. That’s new and is some TV shows Apple is producing. But it wasn’t something that even existed before, so I think you are mixing it up.

    Frances Gottschlich
    3 months ago

    If I purchase Office 365 which I am more than willing to do – can I get my old Word documents back so that I can use them again (alter them etc.)

    3 months ago

    Frances: Back? Are you missing the files? If you have the files, you should be able to view them now using Pages, TextEdit, or any number of other apps. Word is just an app that can open document like any other.

    KM Braddon
    3 months ago

    I need to clarify something here:
    Apple and Microsoft are totally independent and unrelated mega companies – a couple of the biggest and most valuable in the world BUT, they are direct competitors in hardware and software.
    If you have installed Microsoft Office (eg) on your Apple computer it is because you were probably brought up on it and used it on a computer with Microsoft Windows operating system or use it at work etc.
    It’s definitely NOT Apple’s fault if Office won’t work with Catalina.

    LC
    3 months ago

    Word files no longer appear in Finder when 32bit Word becomes inoperable after Catalina. Impossible to open them if they don’t appear.

    3 months ago

    LC: That shouldn’t be the case. Files are just files. They wouldn’t just disappear. Perhaps you had them stored in Microsoft OneDrive? Or somewhere else?

    Jason
    3 months ago

    Everyone saying that people need to pay for upgrades, or poor companies need to make money, or to buy a new one if you want to keep using is full of *. You should only have to buy a new version if you want the new features. Four years is nothing for a life of a program. I have an old PC from 2005 (I think) running Office 07 just fine. Don’t tell people if they want to keep using the program that they paid for, to pay for another one. 2016 v15.35 or later will work, anything older won’t.

Comments Closed.