Microsoft began releasing 64-bit versions of Office, including Project, back in 2010. Eleven years later, we still see that a lot of our users still haven’t switched from 32-bit Project to 64-bit Project, even though they’re continuing to upgrade their Microsoft Project versions from 2010 to 2016, then to 2019 and onward.
Believe it or not, 66% of OnePager Pro users are still using 32-bit Project. The vast majority of these 32-bit users are running a relatively modern version of Microsoft Project like Project 2016 or Project 2019. On top of that, almost all of these users are on 64-bit Windows 10.
You read that correctly: people who have a blazing-fast computer with the highest-powered version of Windows available are still running a lower-horsepower version of Microsoft Project. It’s a common misconception that if you have 64-bit Windows that you will automatically have 64-bit Project, but the reality is that most 64-bit Windows users are still on 32-bit Project.
Why 64-bit Project Matters
Unless you’re a software engineer or a desktop support technician, you probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the differences between 32-bit Project and 64-bit Project. After all, they look the same and have the exact same features. So, why should anyone care?
The key difference comes down to performance. When you use 32-bit Project, you are limited in the amount of system resources you can use. Specifically, 32-bit applications are capped at 4GB of memory (RAM) usage. Even if you have a brand-new computer with 64 GB of RAM, using 32-bit Microsoft Project will limit you to only 4 GB of your available 64 GB. It’s akin to having an exotic sportscar like a Bugatti with a 16-cylinder engine, but only running on one cylinder. In short, you’re going to start running out of memory, especially of you’re working with larger Microsoft Project schedules or more complex OnePager charts.
The bitness of OnePager that you install is always matched to the bitness of Project that you have. So again, if you’re on 64-bit Windows, but only have 32-bit Project, you’re using 32-bit OnePager whether you know it or not. At some point, the demands of either Microsoft Project or OnePager are going to exceed the limits of your 32-bit architecture and things will just shut down.
Switching to 64-bit Project
If we’ve managed to convince you that 32-bit Project has gone the way of the dodo, you can check to see which version you have installed. To do this, launch Microsoft Project and go to File > Account, and then click the About Project button:
A window will pop up which will confirm which bitness of Microsoft Project you have:
If you find that you’re on 32-bit Project, it’s probably time to consider switching. You can change from 32-bit Project to 64-bit Project and stay on the same version number. For example, if you’re using Project 2016 and like it, you can switch to 64-bit Project 2016 and really not notice any difference, other than the greatly improved performance. When you purchase a license from Microsoft, you’re eligible for either 32-bit or 64-bit, so switching from one to the other typically costs nothing other than a little time.
The only real catch here is that Microsoft requires that the bitness of Microsoft Project match the bitness of the rest of Office. So, if you want to use 64-bit Project, you also need to be running 64-bit Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. Of course, you’ll want to check with your own helpdesk and ask for their assistance in making this switch for both Project and the rest of Office, since most companies don’t let their employees make these kind of changes to their computers independently.
Once Office and Project are switched over to 64-bit, you’ll want to uninstall and reinstall OnePager, which will automatically switch OnePager from 32-bit to 64-bit as well.