How to revert to Microsoft Office for Mac 14.1.4 after upgrading to SP2

If you need to revert to a previous version of Microsoft Office for Mac after a bad update, it’s a fairly easy process as long as you have a backup on Time Machine or other backup like a CCC or SuperDuper clone. If you do not have a backup copy of your Microsoft Office 2011 folder, you will need to re-install Office.

Note: Before you revert, you will need to delete the Exchange and IMAP accounts from your SP2 Identity so you can recover your “On My Computer” data without duplicates if needed.

Use Time Machine to restore your Microsoft Office 2011 folder

Select Enter Time Machine from the icon in the Dock or the Menu bar.

Go back in time prior to the update. April 12, 2012

Select the Microsoft Office 2011 folder. Under the gear, select “Restore “Microsoft Office 2011” to…

Choose Applications.

You can select to keep both or replace your current copy of Office. If you intend to revert and wait for 14.2.1, I suggest you Replace.

Even though Service Pack 2 moved some files to your User’s Library/Application Support, it left the originals in their old location. However, your Outlook identity was upgraded and you will need to revert to copy of your identity prior to the upgrade or start over in a new identity. (See below)

Use a backup to restore your Microsoft Office 2011 folder

Users that clone their drives or have saved a copy of Microsoft Office 2011 prior to the update can drag back a copy of the Microsoft Office 2011 folder and replace the updated folder in Applications. Be sure that it’s 14.1.4 and not 14.2.0. You can click on any Office for Mac to view version info.


Re-install Office from your DVD or Installer

If you do not have a backup to restore your Microsoft Office 2011 folder you will need to re-install.

Drag the Microsoft Office 2011 folder in Applications to the Trash.

Install Microsoft Office 2011. Depending on what version you received when you purchased, you might only need one updater. Be sure to restart between updates. See this link for instructions How To Install, Reinstall and Update Office 2011

Current updaters needed to update 14.0.0 (download links)
14.1.0 SP1
14.1.4 (includes previous updaters)

If you do not update you will get this error:

This Identity Cannot Be Opened With This Version of Outlook”

This message usually means any Identity saved with a newer version will not open in an earlier version. Until you update the Identity will not open.

There was a database upgrade in 14.1.0 and again in 14.1.3. Until you update the Identity will not open. However this time stop at updating to 14.2.0.

Recover your Outlook data

Your options to recover your data will vary depending on what type of account(s) you have (POP, IMAP, Exchange) and how long you have used the new SP 2 Identity.

1) You can start over in a new Identity. Exchange and IMAP accounts can download messages from the server. If you do have data stored under “on my computer’ local folders, you can use the method described in Step 3 (Hail Mary) to move your data back to a 14.1.4 identity from the SP2 identity. Note: Unless you deleted your Exchange and IMAP cache prior to reverting, you’ll end up with duplicates.

2) You can restore an identity from Time Machine or backup. Any mail received and sent for Exchange or IMAP account(s) since the update will simply download from the server. If you have a POP account only incoming mail left on the server will be downloaded. Sent mail is not stored on the server for POP accounts. Starting over in a new Identity and using the Step3 (Hail Mary) might be your best option.

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14 comments to How to revert to Microsoft Office for Mac 14.1.4 after upgrading to SP2

  • BettyZ

    After experiencing the catastrophe of this upgrade, I managed to get myself back into a usable state by using Time Machine to revert my Office folder (and various other steps with my Identity). The area that I deviated was that when restoring my Office folder, I “kept both.” Now, I’m getting errors (in my console) relating to the old (previous to restore) installation. (I suspect this in other bad things that are happening.. if I’m correct, I’ll post what those were)

    So, my question is: can I simply delete the old Office folder? (Everything with my restored installation seems to be working fine).

    Thank you SO much for this website!

  • BettyZ

    Thanks, I deleted the folder and the other problems I was having did, in fact, go away. No, I didn’t upgrade to 14.2.1… to say that I’m gun-shy after the original 14.2 debacle, is an understatement! 🙂

    As promised, here’s what was happening: I noticed that Time Machine was no longer completing. It hadn’t succeeded since I reverted my Office installation back to 14.1.4. I looked in the console log and noticed that mdworker was crashing incessantly and the error pointed me to the second (post-“upgrade”, pre-reverting) installation of Office. By trashing that installation, mdworker no longer crashes and my Time Machine is working like a champ again.

    I point this out only because the issue was that when I used Time Machine to recover my old Office folder, I instructed it to keep both installations (not what you recommended, I might add) … and clearly, this was the cause of other bad things.

    (I only wish I had the benefit of your post before I attempted to revert.. but I took the bait on the SR too early. I won’t make THAT mistake again).

    Thanks again, for this website. (BTW, I can’t find a link to donate… please email me)

    • I suggest you compress (zip) the Microsoft Office folder in Applications. Update to 14.2.1. While the updater did not fix everything, it does add some improvements and fixes.

        If you are OK with 14.1.4, then you can wait for a future update, but I feel it’s safe to upgrade to 14.2.1.
        If you are using 14.2.0 you should definitely upgrade.

      If you need to revert, simply delete the updated Microsoft Office folder and unzip the compressed version. You can also duplicate your Identity in the Finder so you could revert to it if needed.

  • Stephen Halloran

    Diane – had just read your instructions and will see if I have time to progress this tomorrow. Thanks for your interest and help.

  • sue

    hi Diane
    i have a question about a rollback similar to the one above. i just upgraded Outlook for Mac to 14.2.3 and for me, there are a host of issues. the biggest is that i can no longer intercept messages being sent. it used to be that you could see a message leaving the outbox and catch it before it left if you needed to make a change. now, it just goes. you have to actually pull up the progress window. what a pain. anyway, if i roll back and take the steps you indicated, can i import my last .olm file? i saved one a day before the upgrade. how will that effect my identity? should i also bring in the last identity from that same date? wondering the best way to rebuild so my emails (inbox and sent), calendars and contacts remain in tact. thanks so much for your help in advance. sue

    • Considering 14.2.3 is way out of date, reverting to a v14.1.x is not the best option. You’ll lose out on any fixes and security updates. The latest version is 14.3.0.

      The .olm file is not version dependent so yes, you could import if you revert. If you export all data as .olm file (I would do each item (mail, contacts, calendars, tasks & notes) individually. If you get a .olm log that means not all data exported. I would also verify that it imports into a new test Identity before you revert. I occasionally see the .olm file appear to be OK when exported, but fail when you try importing.

      Trying to intercept an outgoing message is not something I would rely on or base my decision on reverting. If you are wanting to catch an outgoing message to change info, I suggest using a different type of schedule for outgoing messages. Put Outlook into work offline then manually send. This way you can go back into Outbox to edit if needed.

  • sue

    thanks for the recommendation. i didn’t know there was a version 14.3.0. when i did the update last week, 14.2.3 is what I got. do you recommend going to 14.2.3? i am on mountain lion. ps: i do think the change where you can no longer stop an email as it is sending is one of the worst changes i have ever seen. ps; you website is awesome and extremely helpful.

  • sue

    typo: i mean going to 14.3.0?

  • The 14.3.0 update is recommended. If you zip the Microsoft Office 2011 folder in Applications, you can easily revert if needed. This is quicker than restoring from Time Machine or a clone backup. There is no database upgrade like we had between 14.1.x and 14.2.x so reverting is not an issue with Outlook Identity.

    Stopping an email has always been an iffy step even in Entourage. Your best option if you are in the habit of editing an email to be sent is to either save as draft or put Outlook into Work Offline mode until you are ready to send.

  • Please, I have a problem with Outlook 2011 running on an iMac in Snow Leopard. It suddenly shut down and on relaunch it tells me that there is a problem with the Office Database and that I must rebuild it using the Database Utility. If I go ahead and do this it comes back in step 4 with an error message saying that it could not be rebuilt. [-18000]
    I have tried to restore using Time machine but it does not seem to have any Identity Database files availible for recovery. Unfortunatly when the first warning screen comes up it locks Outlook up so all I can do is cancel which shuts it down. I have manged to export all the data, before the lock up, except the mails, to an .olm file which does import to a new Identity before the message comes up. If I try to export just the mail it fails. I am at a loss what to do as I have a many years worth of mails in the On My Computer area and don’t really want to lose them. The majority of my current mail is on a IMAP server and so can be accessed. I have version 14.3.1 (130117) and I note your coments regarding this version (I think SP2?) and wonder if this is the root of my problem. Or could it be a file size limit, the hard drive checks ou OK in Disk Utility and I have repaired disk permissions? I am really at a loss so any help would be apreciated.
    Jeff Robins