Multiple Office installs

Hi All,

As an Office developer and (to be) author, I tend to have side-by-side installations of multiple Office versions.
Currently my system hosts Office 97, 2000, XP and 2003.

Microsoft does not support this kind of setups and indeed sometimes I stumble over something that doesn’t work.

One of those is that you cannot save custom chart types (Select chart, select chart type, on the custom types tab choose “user defined” and try to add one, then OK your way out).

I’m interested to learn what other problems my fellow developers have experienced!


Jan Karel Pieterse

Posted in Uncategorized

11 thoughts on “Multiple Office installs

  1. I have 5, 96, 97, 2k, XP and 2003 on one system. Remarkably few problems. But this one is ugly:

    Do not sign code digitally when more than one Excel is running. Do not edit digitally signed projects when more than one Excel is running. These actions can lead to serious workbook corruption.

    Best wishes Harald

  2. Hi JK,

    For some years ago I decided to use vmWare ( and install each Excel-version on separate guest system.

    It also give me the flexibility to configure systems the same way as individual clients. In addition I can use different versions of the PIAs when working with VB.NET.

    Today I use a Linux distribution (Debian) as the host system and run all Windows systems as guest systems.

    It works well and the only drawback is that it require at least 1 GB RAM and large disks.

    Today wmWare is quite cheap but I believe You have access to MS Virtual PC that will give You the same enviroment enabling You to check it out.

    Kind regards,

  3. Dennis:

    Yes, I do have VPC and have used that to avoid trouble. But I work on a laptop with a 60 GB HD, which tends to spill over with many VPC “systems”.

    It is the best way to do this however.

    Any other problems anyone?

  4. I had confirmed Jan Karel’s issue with the chart user gallery when multiple Excel versions are running. No sooner had I done this when two different people told me they use multiple Excel versions and have no problem with the user defined charts. In my case, I’ve probably hosed my Office installations beyond all recognition, and I suspect Jan Karel’s is like mine ;)

  5. At what point does one just have to bite the bullet and establish a cut off at some earlier version?

    I would think 97 is fast approaching obsolescense. I can’t think of a single instance of 97 remaining in the organizations I deal with.

  6. doco,

    I would agree with You in general terms but I noticed that Harald (see his post on top) also support version 5.0!!!

    I have two computers with wmWare (two legal licenses!) installed.

    One stationary (the development computer) and one laptop which is used to present solutions etc towards clients. I only have one guest system available on the

    Kind regards,

  7. Excel 5 was my first digital love, and she changed the course of my life. I will never own a pc without Excel 5.

    The collection is fun, great for reference, and in case something has to run on ancient versions then I can make it. Otherwise I do all my codework on Excel 2000 and test it on 2003.

    I still make or support dialogsheets from time to time. Those are undocumented since version 97 and there’s close to nothing on the web about them. Excel 5 VBA help comes to rescue.

    Best wishes Harald

  8. I used to have multiple PC’s with different Excel versions (97+) to test applications. I’ve also had several version on the same machine and can’t remember experiencing problems. But I don’t work much with charts.

    Most of the times you know exactly in what situation your customers will use the application but with ASAP Utilities I found out there are many, many different combinations.

    Last year I bought MS Virtual Machine which easily allows me to setup multiple test systems. Different Excel versions, service packs and different Windows versions. It also allows me to install software on a machine, test it and then return to the original state of the machine.

    ASAP Utilities has an option to save a range as an image and I found out that no matter what Excel version you have only with Windows XP you can use a much larger area (I use it to export large flowcharts), but I had to test it in W2000 to find out.

  9. Bastien:

    I have similar experience with my utilities (on the many different combinations).

    And even worse: the many different circumstances Excel can be in, like editing an embedded object in Word or being behind the scenes because an Excel file is open in IE.

  10. For my two cents I have a stand alone XP test box with vpc hosting NT and 2000. I typically put 97 up against NT, 2000 against 2000, etc. By putting it on a test machine, despite the pain involved in the multi-os install and problem with video drivers under vpc, I can always switch around with different combinations without messing up my development environment. Given that the cost of a new box is more the time involved in getting everything involved and working rather than money these days, it’s given me something I can fall back on if a customer configuration is not working.

    Oh, and there big banks still using 97 and NT, much to my annoyance.

    Keep up the good work with the blog.

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