Microsoft Office for ARM CPUs is here: Office Insiders with Windows 11 can try the new versions of MS Office meant specifically for WoA Edition

Microsoft Office Windows ARM WoA Edition
MS Office built specifically for ARM CPUs is here. Pic credit: bfishadow/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

New versions of the Microsoft Office productivity suite are gradually rolling out to Office Insider program participants. This is the first time Microsoft is offering an MS Office version that the company has optimized for ARM CPUs.

The new version of MS Office should run well on computers running the Windows on ARM operating system. However, users will require the latest preview build of Windows 11.

A new version of Office, designed specifically for the next version of Windows on ARM, is rolling out:

There is a new beta version of Office for Windows with a fresh user experience. Microsoft has aligned the aesthetics of the new MS Office with the design of the upcoming Windows 11.

Apart from the MS Office for regular Windows 11, Microsoft has also announced a 64-bit version of Office for Windows 11 on ARM testers. Needless to mention, this version will interact directly with the core of the operating system running on an ARM-based CPU.

Microsoft is promising significant performance improvements with the new MS Office for ARM CPUs. The company is obviously comparing the new version with the one that currently needs emulation to function on a PC running Windows 10 on ARM (WoA) OS.

Talking about the new version, the Office Insider team said: “This new version of Office is designed specifically for the next version of Windows on ARM. It has been recompiled for the ARM architecture to run fast, bring greater memory availability, offer better support large documents, and maintain compatibility with existing 64-bit add-ins using the new x64 emulation capability provided by Window.”

Microsoft has designed the first MS Office on ARM64 build as an ARM64EC (Emulation compatible) app. This means that it supports legacy add-ins. You know, the ones that Microsoft hasn’t yet recompiled for the ARM64 architecture.

Currently, the new MS Office for ARM has only Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote that Microsoft has specifically optimized for ARM64 CPUs. The rest of the Office apps still run in x64 emulation mode. Simply put, users should feel better performance only on the main platforms within the new MS Office for WoA.

Who will benefit from the new MS Office built for ARM CPUs?

There aren’t many computers that have an ARM-based processor with Windows operating system. However, this is about to change very quickly.

Microsoft has been actively developing the special edition of Windows OS which will run, without any emulation, on an ARM-based CPU. This is similar to the Apple macOS which runs on the ARM-based M1 CPU.

The most obvious candidate for testing the new MS Office for WoA Edition will be a Qualcomm-powered PC such as Microsoft’s Surface Pro X.

However, users will need the Windows 11 Insider build 22000.51. Once installed and running, testers can experiment with the 64-bit version of Office for Windows on ARM.

The WoA Edition began with Windows 10. And Microsoft is certainly trying hard to build the new Windows 11 to reliably work on ARM CPUs. Meanwhile, CPU makers such as Qualcomm, are actively developing powerful CPUs for the OS.

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