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UpdatedDec 2, 2021, 3:18 pm EDT| 3 min read
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 An out-of-date version of Microsoft Outlook is vulnerable to malicious emails, but even an out-of-date version of Microsoft Word is vulnerable to malicious DOC and DOCX documents you might download and open.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 the company will continue issuing security updates throughout the Extended Support period.Note: Only Office for Windows gets an Extended Support period. Office for Mac does not get an extended support period. In other words, when Office for Mac’s Mainstream Support period ends, it no longer receives security updates.
Organizations may also be able to buy Extended Security Updates after the period, just as they can with Windows 7.
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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 December 2021:
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 December 2021:
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 2021. 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
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