Should you remove Office for Mac 2011 after installing Office for Mac 2016?

Users are asking if they should remove Office for Mac 2011 and their Outlook 2011 Identities after installing Office for Mac 2016.

You should not remove Office for Mac 2011 before updating to Office for Mac 2016. After you have successfully installed Office 2016 and imported all your data from Outlook 2011, you can select to remove or leave the old version.

  • Users with lots of free drive space, do not need to remove Office 2011.
  • Users on small SSD drives will most likely want to remove Office 2011.

Make sure you keep both versions upgraded. Current versions (Nov 25, 2015)

  • Office 2011 v 14.5 8
  • Office 2016. v 15.16.0


  • Word and Excel 2011 have features that were not added to the 2016 versions.
  • If for some reason Outlook 2016 had issues and could not connect, you might find having Outlook 2011 around to get email would be an added bonus.
  • If a bad update broke your Office 2016 apps, you can revert to 2011 version until you resolve.


  • While you can switch back and forth between Outlook 2011 and 2016, keeping them in sync will depend on the type of accounts you have.  If you have POP accounts you will need to export new emails from 2011 to 2016 as .olm and import into your Outlook 2016 Profile (Identity).

Remove Office for Mac 2011

Follow the directions here to manually remove Office 2011. The “Remove Office” app is no longer available and even old versions of Remove Office did not get everything.

Be sure to remove the Microsoft User Data folder in Documents. This folder is no longer used by Office for Mac 2016. It contains your Outlook Identities.  Outlook 2016 Profile (Identity) is stored in your User’s Library. See Location of Outlook 2016 Profile (Identity) for help locating your Profile (Identity)

The Microsoft fonts folder in the main Library/Fonts folder is no longer used by Office for Mac 2016 and can be removed. Delete font caches after removing fonts. I suggest Font Nuke.

Empty the Trash  to free up the space on your drive.




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14 comments to Should you remove Office for Mac 2011 after installing Office for Mac 2016?

  • Jerod

    Con: removing 2011 somehow eliminates sharepoint tools, meaning the ability to reserve edit or interact with office documents.

  • Michael

    I removed Office 2011 and lost the ability to open and edit SharePoint 2013 documents without downloading them first (e.g. the integration between Safari and Sharepoint was gone. Reinstalling Office 2011 seemed to solve the problem.

  • Wil

    Thanks for this write up. I googled trying to see how to remove 2011, came across this page, and have decided to keep it (after a bit more looking around). One thing that might help others if you detailed some of the things dropped in 2016 (or linked to an article that did).

    One con of keeping both, though minor: Spotlight searches bring up both. For me anyway, Spotlight defaults to 2011 versions of all apps (presumably because they’ve been selected as the ‘correct hit’ hundreds of times in the past).

    Another, more annoying con: I sometimes get outlook calendar alerts from both 2011 and 2016 and have not yet sorted out how to shush 2011.

    • You could add the Office 2011 folder to Spotlight > Privacy to see if that would help.

      Check out WPXO in the App Store. Not only does it show you recent files, but allows you to launch the Office apps. this should open the newest version.

      In Outlook 2011 under Outlook in the Menu bar, select “Turn off Office Reminders”.

      Office 2016 is a changing work in progress. Some features that were missing when it was first released have been added back. I don’t think Microsoft has info posted with this info.

  • Anonymous

    Diane…thanks for the insight.
    Was just about to (blindly) remove the Office 2011 version,
    Your thoughts stopped me cold…and from a big mistake.

  • Ben

    which version of sharpen t are you using – local server or the 365 offering?

  • William Wills

    I have Office for Mac 2016. I have some local folders and there are of course cloud folders (inbox, etc.). I use TimeMachine to backup my Mac. I don’t want to backup the internal folders that are in the cloud, only messages in my folders that are local on my hard disk (SDD). I noticed there’s a SQL Lite database that seems to contain emails and attachments. I’d like to exclude backing up the files that are already in the cloud and only backup my local folders.

    Any suggestions on how to do that?

  • Marsh

    I read that Mac Outlook 2016 was much faster than Outlook 2011, so I loaded Microsoft 2016 on my computer. I found 2016 to be buggy mostly when I went to the search folder to move an email. The search box would go across both screen and do all kinds of weird things ( I have dual monitors). Sometimes it would settle down into the window and show the box, other times it would hunt endlessly for the folder.

    Decided to stick with 2011 since this has been rock solid for me. Decided to keep both on the machine because I figured MS would fix the contact and calendar sync first on 2016 before 2011. This sync issue has forced me to use Apple’s calendar and contacts apps, rather than the MS 2011 Outlook. Worked great in 10.8.5 ML, but broke going to 10.11 EC. If I had known this would happen, I would have stayed with ML, but no going back now. Sooner or later MS will get smart and fix the sync issue.

    As to keeping both suites on the machine, I ran into problems trying to launch multiple Word docs at the same time. The problem came in the docs being opened by Word 2016, rather than 2011. Soon the programs got confused and neither would open a doc yet alone multiple at the same time. I fixed the problem by removing MS Office 2016 Suite from my computer and reopening and saving the docs again as Word 2011. Now my Word works like it’s supposed to, especially in opening multiple docs at once which is very important to me. Be aware that keeping both applications on your computer can cause problems, at least in Word.

  • Kizuna

    It’s a good thing I typed in the right keywords in google and came here because I almost uninstalled my Office 2011 just like that :(.

    Anyways, if anyone is wondering about switching from your subscription of Office 365 to Microsoft Office Home & Business 2016 (1 Mac License), this is the order I did it:
    1. I had a Microsoft Office 265 subscription for my Mac, with the office version 2011.
    2. Following the instructions to install a digital copy for Microsoft Office Home & Business 2016 (1 Mac License), went to to enter the serial/key. It will then ask you to create an account or login. In this case, I already have a subscription to 365 so this information is added to my current Microsoft account. You will now see your products side by side in your online Microsoft account (Office 365 and Office Home & Business 2016 Mac).
    3. Press Install in the tab marked Office Home & Business 2016 Mac.
    4. Follow the prompts to install Office 2016 onto your Mac.
    5. Once finished installing, go into your Applications and open any Office 2016 product, like Microsoft Word 2016.
    6. It asks you to login to your Microsoft account to activate this product.
    7. NOW, if you have a current Office 365 subscription like I do, you will see 2 options to use to activate your product: Office 365 AND Office Home & Business 2016. If you’ve read this far, I’m going to jump to the conclusion that you got a great deal on this 1-time license and you want to eventually stop paying for the year-to-year subscription. SO… Choose Office Home & Business 2016 to activate your product.
    8. Follow the prompts and you’re done. If it asks you to update, of course stay up-to-date always.

    There’s no point in keeping my 2011 Office products since I don’t plan on renewing my subscription anymore so to uninstall Office 365 products on Mac:
    9. Followed the instructions from:

  • Judith Anderson

    If I delete Office 2011, can I still access my 2011 Word docs in Office for Mac 2016 Word?

  • Pablo

    I have both 2011 and 2016 installed on macOS. I am trying to set Outlook 2011 as my default email reader, but no matter what I do, it keeps reverting to Outlook 2016. How can I set Outlook 2011 as my default?

    I know that this is done via the mac’s Mail app by selecting the default email application. However, it simply keeps going back to Outlook 2016. If I select to use Mail app, it sticks. This is really only an issue between versions of Outlook.

    The reason I have to do this is that my company runs Exchange 2007, which Outlook 2016 does not support. It’s terrible, but Outlook 2011 still works, so the only issue is how to set 2011 as my default.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks for your great help!

    • This is a system thing. macOS wants to open the latest version. You’ll have to manually click on the Outlook 2011 in the Dock. You could need to trash Outlook 2016.