How to use HEIF/HEIC/HIF Apple images in Microsoft Office

Microsoft has added support for Apple’s iPhone and iPad image formats .HEIC .HEIC and .HIF but there’s a small extra price to pay. After an unsubtle reminder from us, Microsoft has clarified the two extensions needed and the extra to be paid.

iPhones and iPads now use a new image format .HEIC or ‘High Efficiency Image File Format’ which gives better quality images for a smaller file size. It’s an improvement on the familiar .JPG picture format.

Office 365 for Windows is getting direct support for HEIC. Insert | Pictures | On this device gets an extra line in the list of supported types.

High Efficiency Image File Format (*.heif *.heic *.hif)

Source: Microsoft with our cropping

Other methods of inserting images like drag n drop or copy / paste will also work with HEIF/HEIC images.

It’s good news because Apple device users will be able to insert HEIC/HEIF images from their Camera Roll without conversion.

The bad news is that there’s an extra cost for this feature. Only US$0.99 but even so …

The original Microsoft post on the HEIF/HEIC features didn’t mention this extra cost nor all the Windows 10 plugins needed to make it work. This original, wrong and incomplete info was:

“You will need to have the HEIF Image Extensions installed for this feature to be available. If you don’t, you can download them from the Microsoft Store here.”

However, the add-on link provided by Microsoft is to the HEVC Video Extensions which cost US$0.99 plus tax.  That link was on the public web page for three weeks, more than enough time for the mistake to be corrected. Only after Office Watch pointed out the problem in August 2020 was the text updated with no apology or even acknowledgement of the mistake.

Now we know that two Windows 10 extensions are necessary. One is free, the other costs US$0.99

You will need to have the HEIF Image Extensions and the HEVC Video Extensions installed for this feature to be available. Note, there is a small fee of US $.99 for the HEVC Video Extensions.

Not a lot but it would have been nice if Microsoft had ‘come clean’ with this important requirement in the first place. Even the revised wording doesn’t tell the whole story.

HEIF vs HEIC images

HEIF Image Extensions plugin only supports .HEIF images. Any compressed images with .HEIC file extension needs the paid HEVC Video Extensions plugin as well. The HEVC plugin has the decompression software needed to show .HEIC images.

HEIF/HEIC support is in Microsoft 365 for Windows v2006 Build 13020.10000 or later plus the two Windows 10/11 extensions mentioned above. .