Why Should I Upgrade?

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated December 22, 2018)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


Vernon has put off upgrading to one of the latest versions of Word for as long as he can, primarily because he was so content and productive with Word 2007. He wonders what folks consider to be the best reasons for upgrading to the latest versions of the program, including Word 2019 and Word in Office 365.

This is, obviously, a rather "loaded" question. Why? Because the simple answer is that you shouldn't upgrade unless you have a compelling reason to do so. For most people, compelling reasons should be based on external necessities rather than on new features provided in the software. For instance, the fact that later versions of Word use Building Blocks to extend what used to be done with AutoText should not be a reason to upgrade, as it is a new feature. However, if you are working with a company or clients that utilize portions of that feature (or others) that are not available in your version of Word, then you should strongly consider upgrading.

Similarly, if you are working with other people to any degree, you should use whatever version of Word those people are using. Thus, if they are using one of the newer versions of Word, you should strongly consider upgrading. Why? Because you'll be able to trade files with them easier and you'll be able to use the same tools they do. For instance, one of your coworkers develops a macro that works great in their version of Word 2019, then you have a greater chance of being able to use that tool if you, too, are using Word 2019.

If you do choose to remain with an older version of Word, then over time you'll discover that you are more and more "behind the curve." (I know people who, at the end of 2018, are still using Word 2000, by choice!) As more clients and coworkers upgrade, when you finally decide to take the plunge, you'll be trying to figure out how to use the software at a time when they are already comfortable with it. If you upgrade before they do, however, you'll be ahead of the curve and able to lead rather than follow.

Also, people typically don't upgrade only one program, such as Word. They instead upgrade the entire Office suite. So, you'll also want to consider in your upgrade decision the other members of the suite and how they may affect the work you do.

Understand that if you do choose to upgrade, there will be some pain involved:

  • Learning Curve. The learning curve for the ribbon interface is rather steep if you were comfortable with the old menu interface to the point of it being second nature. There are some bright spots (like many of the old keyboard shortcuts that made use of menu options will also work in the ribbon interface), but there are many more less-than-bright spots. This means that your productivity will initially suffer; there is no way around it.
  • Customizations. If you implemented extensive customizations in Word (to tools, functions, the QAT, the ribbon, etc.), those customizations may very well be affected by your upgrade. And, if you are upgrading from a very old version of Word (a version before Word 2007, like my acquaintance I mentioned earlier), your customizations will be decimated by switching to the ribbon interface. You may be able to rebuild them (from scratch), but you may not—only experimentation will tell.
  • Macros. If you developed and used a plethora of macros to help in the way you work, you'll want to check out whether those macros will work with the newer versions of Word. They may, but they may not. Again, only trial and error will disclose if there is a problem.

These three things aren't mentioned here as reasons not to upgrade, but as things to be aware of when you do upgrade. The brutal truth is that Microsoft isn't going backwards—they keep adding new features to their programs as they move along the path they think best. Resistance to change may be a point of pride, but (to paraphrase a famous television line) resistance is ultimately futile.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (5942) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


Embossing Text

Word can make your text look as if it has been embossed on the page.

Discover More

Writing a Macro from Scratch

Recording macros is a great approach to getting started with macros, but at some point you'll need to create one from ...

Discover More

Deleting All Fields

Fields can be a great way of adding small snippets of dynamic data to your documents. However, you may want to get rid of ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!


FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is six more than 5?

2019-01-17 07:23:05


This is how on Windows 7/8/10 .. XP is similar
From this link: <a href="https://www.thewindowsclub.com/increase-page-file-size-virtual-memory-windows">https://www.thewindowsclub.com/increase-page-file-size-virtual-memory-windows</a>

How to increase Page File size or Virtual Memory in Windows 10/8/7

If you get a message Your system is low on virtual memory, when you try to start any memory intensive application, like Microsoft Office, Corel, etc, then you want to consider the option to increase Page File on Windows 10/8/7.

In case you get such an error message, you may have to increase the size of your virtual memory or page file or paging file – although for most uses, leaving the Page File size at its default value should be good enough.

To do so in Windows 10/8/7, follow these steps:

Right click on Computer and open Properties.
Select Advanced System Properties
Click Advanced tab
Under Performance, click Settings
Under Performance Options, click Advanced tab
Here under Virtual memory pane, select Change
Uncheck Automatically manage paging file size for all drives
Highlight your system drive
Select Custom size
Change the Initial size value and the Maximum size value to a higher value
Click Set
Finally Click Apply/OK all the way.

2019-01-16 15:08:38

Catherine Howard

Hi Bruce -- thanks so much for your generosity in proposing some solutions to my problem. I already use 64-bit programs for Word and everything else, and I already break up large files into smaller ones (chapters), but these smaller ones are apparently still considered too "large" by Word (anything over 25 pages or so), so they crash after a certain number of revisions and continue to do so unless I reboot the computer. As I mentioned in my comment, I've reverted to Word 2010, since Word 2013 seems to crash just as often as 2010 (I'd hoped it would not be as frequent).

I'm intrigued with your suggestion of changing the size of the Page File in my computer. I once read about it for an early version of Word (before .docx files), but didn't feel safe trying it for Word 2010 or 2013. Can you tell me more about how to do that? I'd be so appreciative!

2018-12-24 07:21:56



Re the issues you have with Word.

1): You can easily upgrade your computer for more RAM very cheaply.

2): Just because your computer has 16GB RAM does not mean much.

You need to be running a 64 Bit Operating System to use all of it.

3): You really should be using the 64 Bit version of MS Office as it will
then be able to use the extra computer RAM

4): You can increase the size of your Page File on the computer.

5): You can tell Word not to auto save changes as often.

Some of these may help with your issue. Worst case is you may need
to split the document into sections to work on it properly. Also see this
link for more information, as others have the same issue. You may want ]
to revert to Office 2010 version, as it seems later ones have an issue.


2018-12-23 05:16:07

Brian Crane

For all the reasons mentioned, I held off migrating from Windows/Office 2007 to 365. I thought the learning curve you mention as being too greater a step at my age (72) and for what? However, as an editor/proof-reader of many years standing, who started out back in the early 1980s, I read all the bumf and comments from many users and decided with some trepidation to take the plunge. To my relief, the computer handled the upgrade without intervention from me other than to press a few keys as required.

I've now been using 365 for 12-months now and it's the best thing I've done. My work is saved to the cloud, I can share the copy with clients'. I can dictate and playback my work on speaker. I can also research at the touch of a button without leaving WORD. As for EXCEL, ACCESS and PUBLISHER, which I occasionally use, the learning curve for me is still steep! However, WORD 365 is the best version ever. All software is updated regularly with enhanced or new features.
Can't say much more, other than the leap of faith, well for me anyhow, was worth it.

2018-12-22 13:54:35

Catherine Howard

Thanks for this useful discussion of reasons to consider for whether or not to upgrade to a more recent version of Word.

What about the increased size of new versions of Word? I purchased an upgrade to Word (from 2010 to 2013) because large documents in the prior version kept crashing if I made a lot of revisions (and, as an editor, I make a lot of them!). However, I didn't find it was much more stable than the prior version. I also found the new ribbon and location of functions to be quite different and didn't feel inclined to go through the steep learning curve you mentioned. However, the main reason I went back to Word 2010 was that I read that Word 2013 program is much, much larger than the prior one, meaning it takes up more memory on my computer and has many more components that may slow things down -- or even crash due to the amount of memory it consumes.

I read in another post of yours that you say you don't have the problem of Word crashing with large documents, but it has always happened to me, no matter what version I use, not merely because of the size of the file but the high number of revisions made (especially if Tracked Changes is turned on). I have plenty of memory in my computer (16GB), but I've been told that, as one works on a Word document, each revision or save spits out random registries and information that start clogging up the works, like a clogged drainpipe, until nothing further can go through and Word crashes. Restarting Word doesn't work; I have to shut down every open program and reboot the computer.

What do you think about these points? Thanks for any light you can shed on them.

2018-12-22 07:34:08


I tend to agree. Do not upgrade Office unless you absolutely must do so. Microsoft screwed up badly when it
introduced the "ribbon" making things much harder to find and use. And the Font Colors are horrendous, as
they are not as vivid in preribbon versions of Office .. The only reason to upgrade Office is if you use Outlook
for your Email Client .. Some ISP's will not allow Outlook to work if the version is too old due to so called
"security concerns" .. But there are plenty of free Email Clients you can get out there as well.

This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.


FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.