When does support end for... Microsoft Office 2007?

There's just three months before the already-extended suite goes dark -- literally, in the case of Outlook 2007

Magdalena Petrova

Businesses that remain wedded to Office 2007 have just over three months to drop Office 2007's applications and switch to a newer suite, such as Office 2016.

A significant number of organizations will be affected by the deadline. According to patch management vendor Qualys, about 11% of enterprise PCs equipped with Microsoft Office include at least one component from Office 2007. The suite's "share" was determined from more than 3 billion scans Qualys conducts annually on customers' networks, said Jimmy Graham, Qualys' director of product management, in an email.

Office 2007's support expires Oct. 10. After that date, Microsoft will no longer supply patches for security vulnerabilities or fixes for other bugs, nor will it provide company-assisted technical support, whether free or paid, such as by-phone consultations or trouble-shooting.

Initially, Office 2007 support was set to end in April -- at the same time Windows Vista was put to pasture -- but in 2012 Microsoft extended the productivity suite's support by six months. The reason for the extra time: a little-known provision in the company's support policy that guarantees at least two years of "mainstream" support after the launch of a product's successor (in this case, Office 2010).

A list of all Office 2007 components that will be retired Oct. 10 can be found in this support document on Microsoft's website.

The applications within Office 2007 will continue to operate after support ends -- with some exceptions -- but companies will be taking a risk that malware exploiting a subsequently-revealed flaw might hijack devices. To receive security and non-security updates after Oct. 10, IT administrators must deploy Office 2010 or later. Not surprisingly, Microsoft recommends the Office 365 rent-not-own subscription program, and the Office 2016 applications that come with most enterprise- and business-grade plans.

In some cases, Office 2007 apps won't work properly at all after October. The most notable of these: Outlook 2007. "As of October 31, 2017, Outlook 2007 will be unable to connect to Office 365 mailboxes, which means Outlook 2007 clients using Office 365 will not be able to receive and send mail," Microsoft said.

Microsoft has created a sub-site specifically for Office 2007's end of days that includes information on upgrade paths, links to detailed migration instructions, and more.

office support timelines Gregg Keizer/IDG

There are three possible Microsoft-made replacements for Office 2007, but only Office 2016 has more than 5 quarters of Mainstream support remaining.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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