Retired Office Versions (Excel 2016 and earlier)

We recommend that you learn Excel using Excel 365 for Windows

Excel 365 for Windows is a very different product from legacy versions (2019 and older) as it now includes support for dynamic arrays (a game changing feature introduced in the July 2020 semi-annual update).  Dynamic arrays mark such a fundamental change that we no longer recommend learning Excel with Excel 2019 (though we still produce books for this version).

If you wish to develop Expert skills we also do not recommend Mac Excel versions as they do not include any OLAP features (Power Pivot, Power Maps etc) making them incapable of modern data analysis.  This will not be a problem if you only need Essential Skills or have no interest in OLAP features.

You can obtain a 30-day free trial version of Office 365 for Windows that will provide enough time to learn.  If you need longer access, Microsoft will provide Office 365 personal to you for less than six dollars a month – and if you are a student this will be even cheaper (or in some cases free). 

Office 365 will never retire

Businessman riding a rocked labelled 365

Excel 365 is never retired and never reaches the end of its life.  That’s because it is a subscription-based product that is constantly updated, so although new versions are released every six months (via the semi-annual update channel) every user will always be using the “latest and greatest” version.  There’s no possibility of anybody having an outdated version. 

The Smart Method are the only publisher that release a new version of our books every six months to cover the features added to each new Excel 365 release.

Office 2019 is still current but sometimes referred to as a "legacy" version


In the July 2020 Excel 365 release dynamic arrays were added to Excel 365.  Dynamic arrays change best practice for many common Excel tasks.  Dynamic arrays also give many Excel functions new capabilities.  Some old favourite functions have been entirely replaced (for example the VLOOKUP function has been replaced with a more powerful and easier to use XLOOKUP function that works with dynamic arrays).

Excel 2019 does not support dynamic arrays leading to potential compatibility issues when opening workbooks created in Excel 365.  For this reason Excel 2019 and earlier versions are now often referred to as “legacy Excel” and Excel 365 as “Excel DA” (meaning Dynamic Array).  Excel 2019 is, however, still regarded as being a current Excel version.

Office 2016 is now retired

Old man with walking stick

Office versions are retired five years after their release date.  For example, Office 2016 was released in September 2015 and was retired in October 2020.  After this date Microsoft end what they call mainstream support.  This means that the product no longer has complimentary support and that no new features will ever be added.  

The version does remain safe to use, however, as security fixes will always be released if hackers find a way to exploit the software to compromise your computer.

You can still view the old free video walk-throughs for Essential Skills and Expert Skills if you wish to.

Office 2007 and Office 2010 are no longer safe to use


After 10 years Microsoft end what they call extended support and the software becomes obsolete.  After this time Microsoft no longer issue security updates.  Without security updates your computer could suffer a hack or virus attack.  For this reason you should not consider installing Office 2017 or Office 2010 (and if this software is present on your computer you should remove it).

Office 2016 and 2013 are both retired but are still safe to use​

Two businessmen underneath an umbrella
  • Office 2016 was released in September 2015 and retired in October 2020.  It will be safe to use this version until October 2025 as Microsoft will continue to protect users against security breaches until then.

  • Office 2013 was released in September 2013 and retired in October 2018.  It will be safe to use this version until November 2023 as Microsoft will continue to protect users against security breaches until then.

Our Excel 2013 video course is no longer published or supported

Excel 2013 Rest In Peace

Excel 2013 was the last version of Excel that did not change during its lifetime.  This made it possible to produce a video course.  Excel 2016 was a rapidly evolving product (just like Excel 365) making quality video instruction impossible (as any video material rapidly became obsolete).  

We retired our Excel 2013 video course at the same time Microsoft retired Excel 2013 – in October 2018.  We continued to support existing video course users for two further years (until October 2020).

Our Excel 2013 and Excel 2016 books and e-books are still available

You can find links to our Excel 2016 books here:  For Excel 2013 try searching Amazon.  Amazon are still committed to keeping all of our retired books in stock (going right back to Excel 2007) for immediate despatch but you probably won’t find them available from other online bookstores.