Microsoft's Extended Support for Office 2007 Ends October 2017

What to Expect From This Deadline and How to Switch to Another Version

Microsoft Office 2007 to Lose Support October 2017
Microsoft Office 2007 to Lose Support October 2017. (c) Dimitri Otis / Digitial Vision / Getty Images

Microsoft Office 2007's mainstream support ended years ago, with extended support ending around October 2017.

Since this can create disruptions for business and individual users alike, it pays to look for alternative versions or productivity solutions as early as possible.

How Can Office 2007 Be Expire if So Many People Still Use It?

As a project-based technical writer, I work with plenty of clients who still use Office 2007 even as I write this in 2016.

When Microsoft Office 2007 loses support, the suite will still launch and operate, but important support features will no longer be maintained.

So why aren't these users moving on to a newer version? Once a company is comfortable with a certain version, it can feel like an obstacle to interrupt the flow of daily business in order to stay up with the latest and greatest office software version. After all, the incremental feature improvements may seem minor from one verOffsion to the next. 

Then a final date like this one pops up. Unfortunately, it means that, unless users aren't bothered by increasing glitches and vulnerabilities, a change is necessary for most businesses and individuals. 

When is Microsoft Office 2007 Expected to Lose Support?

Microsoft typically provides mainstream support for five years, so Microsoft Office 2007 began losing support years ago. Then extended support kicks in for some users.

If you have extended support, you probably know about it, because it typically requires additional payment and other arrangements with Microsoft.

Official support for Service Pack 3 is slated to end next October, though support for Microsoft Exchange may end in April 2017. 

What a Microsoft Office Version Expiration Means

Expiration of support for Microsoft Office 2007 means users will no longer benefit from updates such as patches or other security concerns.

This may sound like a risk you would rather take than jump into the expense and inconvenience of upgrading to a more recent version, but please consider a few things.

Office 2007s Expiration Also Represents An Important Change for Organizations

Until now, Microsoft's Premier support customers could opt for custom support contract, for a price. This required special arrangements an assurance that the company intended to modernize in the near future. 

But this will no longer be available going forward, which makes Office 2007's expiration significant. Some sources attribute the change to a shift toward Office 365 subscriptions.

Understanding Office Software Subscriptions

Make a Plan to Upgrade or Switch

If all this has your head spinning, consider taking action. Make a plan, investigate alternatives, and start making the move as soon as possible.

Threats to security may not be a problem today, but since they are prevalent, sticking with Office 2007 may mean exposing yourself to unnecessary and even more drastic inconvenience and expense if you do not upgrade.

Also, compatibility will become an increasingly inconvenient issue to deal with, as more and more other businesses you work with move forward into later versions of Microsoft Office.

Ultimately, the choice is of course up to you and depends on many factors, but changes like these take time, so this is not a decision you should procrastinate.

Help as You Consider Alternatives

If I were a business owner or individual using Microsoft Office 2007 with extended support (or no support!), I would consider the following alternatives:

  • Microsoft Office 365 - This cloud-based monthly or yearly subscription model is the one Microsoft would prefer you to upgrade to. Yes, it earns the software come any more money from you in the long term. But consider that it also affords you pretty great conveniences., Not the least of which is the assurance that you will always be accessing the latest and greatest version of office when you log in to your online account. Plus, if you are upgrading your entire organization, you'll find that this cloud environment and ecosystem offers a ton of additional tools for collaboration, organization, project management, and more.
  • Microsoft Office 2016 - If you already know the general Microsoft office approach to programs such as word processors, spreadsheets, presentation and more, you can mitigate the pain of switching by staying in Microsoft's ecosystem. You may be tempted to jump in with Microsoft Office 2010, since that will be the closest version to the one you are used to; however, I suggest jumping into a version that is more likely to save you from going through all this upheaval again in the near future. For that reason, I suggest you investigate this latest version of the Office suite. It won't feel completely alien, and you will get reacquainted faster than you think. Plus, you will enjoy more compatibility with others who have made the move to Office 2016.
  • Want to check out even more options? Find Your Best Version of Microsoft Office.
  • If you would like to search for solutions based on your operating system of choice, from both Microsoft and other software companies, please check out my List of Office Software Options for Windows or List of Office Software Options for Mac. These lists help you get a feel for popular options, at a variety of price points.
  • List of Online Office Software Options - Many OpenOffice users do not use online productivity programs or tools. Keep in mind that even a hybrid approach can add convenience to your productivity routines, goals, and projects.

Most of all, as you ready yourself and your team to meet this transition,try to take a long-term view, to inform which software could empower your team most.

You will likely be surprised how quickly you "take" to these alternatives.