When and how to switch from Office 2010 – your questions answered

Office 2010 ends support on 13 October 2020 and we’ve been receiving questions from readers asking about switching to newer Microsoft Office.

We’ll answer questions about when to update, what to replace Office 2010 and important factors to consider.  We’re hearing concerns about privacy in modern Office, reliability and the constant, monthly, changes in the software.

Office 2010 changeover in short …

Office 2010 users should prepare for a switch to different software but there’s no rush. There’s time to shop around for a good price on Office 365 and, perhaps, upgrade your computer.

Make sure your computer is powerful enough to cope with Office 365 or Office 2019, especially memory requirements.

Office 365 is the more flexible and powerful option than Office 2019.

Office 365 is often sold cheaper from legitimate retailers. NEVER pay full price and definitely never from Microsoft direct.

Office 2010 ending

Yes, support ends on 13 October 2020.  After that, there’ll be no more security updates.

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Office 2010 software will keep working

There’s no need to rush into switching from Office 2010 before 13 October.

After that, the software will be slightly more risky as the months pass and newly discovered security bugs aren’t fixed.

There’s no urgency about switching away from Office 2010.

Office reliability

Office is very reliable.  Yes, there are bugs and other ‘unforced errors’ by Microsoft, made worse by their poor communication.

Don’t let that stop you from choosing Microsoft Office. Just don’t believe everything Microsoft says.

Office 365 vs Office 2019

Office 2019 is a lot more expensive and less flexible than Office 365. It’s hard to pass up Office 365 on financial terms.

Office 2019 is expensive, licensed for a single computer with no OneDrive storage, Skype minutes and other cloud based features.

If you choose Office 365, we urge you to buy the annual plan from a cheaper retailer.  Don’t buy from Microsoft direct or anywhere else selling for full price.

One advantage that Office 2010 users have is flexibility in when they change over.  Wait a few weeks or more until you can buy Office 365 at a good price. See 6 steps to saving on Office 365 renewals or first purchase

Is your computer ready?

Office 365 or Office 2019 requires better hardware than Office 2010.

Microsoft’s system requirements for Office 365/2019 are unrealistic and only allow for one or two Office apps running.  They don’t allow for Outlook (a serious resource hog) or other programs like browsers (any modern browsers uses a lot of memory).

At a minimum, an Office 365/2019 computer should have 4GB of RAM (not disk space), preferably 6GB or more.

See if your computer can be upgraded with more memory or perhaps it’s time to consider a new computer? 

Office 2010 Document Compatibility

No problem with document compatibility with Office 2010 vs Office 365/2019.  In fact, no problem with the ‘modern’ Office 2007 and later formats (docx  xlsx  pptx etc).

No conversion is necessary.  Older documents will open directly in later versions of Office.  You might get a compatibility warning, but that’s a cautious reminder that some older features might not make the transition.

Monthly updates

For many customers a downside of Office 365 are the monthly feature updates.  They don’t like the idea of changing software and prefer the certainty of fixed feature software.

To Microsoft, the new and changed features are an absolute good.  The company doesn’t understand or want to understand customers who prefer unchanging software.

On the other hand, the changes aren’t invasive and mostly don’t change the way Office works from day to day (or even month to month).

Most Office features haven’t changed for years.  Sure, the interface looks a little different and Microsoft talks about how much ‘better’ and ‘different’ Office is. But it’s mostly hype, intended to generate sales and make people think they are getting their money’s worth.  The Office fundamentals don’t change as much as Microsoft’s hype might suggest.


There are legitimate concerns about Microsoft ‘snooping’ on customers. The apparent change to enforced Office login has increased that worry.

The required login to use Office 365 does NOT mean Microsoft is spying on your documents or work.  Login is more to do with Office licencing and access to OneDrive/SharePoint storage.

If they wanted to, Microsoft could spy on users with or without a specific login.

The greater risk, such as it is, lies in storing confidential documents in cloud storage (OneDrive, Dropbox etc). Putting data online opens up the possibility of unwanted copying/intrusion by hackers, operators of the storage service or government agencies. This doesn’t happen often, that we know of, but is a concern.

On the other hand, storing documents online is very convenient and useful.  Being able to access the same document seamlessly on multiple devices is incredibly powerful.  Online storage is also a great backup and protection from ransomware.

Microsoft pushes customers to save all their documents on OneDrive. They do that because it’s a simple message and increases reliance on Microsoft services.

We prefer a mixed approach with most files kept on a local computer or local network share. Only the current or shared documents kept on OneDrive.

For more personal / private documents we recommend either:

  • storing on a local computer
  • saving to cloud storage as a password protected document.
  • OneDrive’s Personal Vault is another possibility, though we find passworded docs easier to manage.

In terms of privacy and security from snooping, Office 2019 is no more secure than Office 365.

Microsoft 365 money saving roundup

Office 365 money saving traps – if you’re not careful

Thinking of Office 2019? Try this money saving trick

6 steps to saving on Office 365 renewals or first purchase