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Upgrade collision causes Microsoft Office 2016 crashes on Apple El Capitan OS

Fri 2 Oct 2015

When two code-behemoths head for the same intersection at full speed with broken CBs, expect twisted metal. This seems to have happened in the case of Microsoft’s Office 2016 suite, which has been suffering major instability issues for Mac OS X users who have upgraded to the just-released El Capitan version of the Apple desktop operating system.

Office 2016 users on the Mac platform are reporting multiple issues, including the inability to run more than one Office 2016 application at a time, apparently random crashes, and the inability of the new version of the Outlook email client to actually send any mail – assuming it is able to run.

Other reports indicate that updates to software and services across the MS Office infrastructure may be affecting users who have not upgraded either Office or OS X, whilst there are additional claims that Office 2016 reports problems on any Mac OS, not just El Capitan.

A user thread at the Microsoft Community identifies the earliest clash between Office 2016 and Yosemite as taking place in early July, just after the release of the new Office suite for 365 users. The initiator of the thread was already running a beta of OS X El Capitan, and a subsequent install of the then newly-released Office 2016 package caused freezes in Outlook which required force-quitting.

In fact Outlook 2016 seems to be the critical point of failure in all scenarios for Mac users at the moment. Community member Xavier Villafuerte commented in the main issues thread:

‘I have reports from users inside my organization who are having really bad problems with Office 2016. They are not using El Capitan but Yosemite 10.10.4 or 10.10.5. Office apps hangs continuously and you need to use the force quit option with them. An interesting pattern we have noticed is most of the times it occurs when Outlook is open. It seems Outlook is guiding the other apps to crash even though they are not directly related. For example, keeping Outlook Open when working in an Excel file probably leads to a crash in Excel. I have been using El Capitan along the whole Beta period and I can confirm the problem reported in this forum.’

Though Microsoft have not made any official announcements on the 2016 issues yet, presumably because it is knee-deep in spanners and oil regarding the issue, users across many sites and forums are indicating that new restrictions in the way that El Capitan lets applications modify operating system or user files could be behind the initial incompatibilities between El Capitan and Office 2016.

A July Community post by Microsoft Senior Program Manager Faisal Jeelani indicates that El Capitan was indeed the initial cause of incompatibilities, even if – as often happens – the fixes applied to the problem have subsequently created other issues:

We are working hard to fix El Capitan issues and will keep pushing out updates to Mac Outlook that will contain these fixes. In the meantime, we recommend that you keep upgrading to the latest beta of El Capitan and Mac Outlook as and when they release.

Regarding Export, we are working on exporting to OLM, please stay tuned!

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