How to Install Microsoft’s Office for Mac 2011 Retina Update

| How-To

Office for Mac 2011 Retina Update

Microsoft released an update to Office for Mac 2011 Wednesday, bringing Retina Display support to the company’s flagship office productivity suite. Other improvements include enhancements to Outlook and Mountain Lion compatibility fixes.

The update, 14.2.4, is causing difficulty for some customers, however, due to a caching issue in OS X Mountain Lion. We’ll show you how to fix it.

First, Office 2011 for Mac users on a Retina MacBook Pro should head over to Microsoft’s download page or run Auto Update from within an Office for Mac application (although, as of the time of this entry, the update was not yet available via Auto Update).

Once the update is installed, open one of your Office Apps. If it doesn’t look significantly better, then you are likely experiencing the OS X caching issue. Here’s how to fix it.

  1. Close your Office applications and launch Terminal.
  2. Open a Finder window and navigate to your Applications folder where your Office apps are located.
  3. In Terminal, type "sudo touch" press the spacebar once, and then drag and drop one of your Office apps into the Terminal window, making sure there is a single space after "touch." Dragging the application to the Terminal window will automatically copy the app’s file path location to the Terminal command. It should look similar to this:

    Office Retina Update Terminal Command
  4. Press Return and enter your password.
  5. Repeat for your remaining Office apps.

Office Retina Mac Comparison

Now open your Office apps again. This time, you should notice a dramatic difference on your Retina display. The apps are not as fully “Retina-enabled” as Apple’s apps, meaning that you’ll occasionally find an icon or button that is still pixelated, but the overall experience is much improved.

Popular TMO Stories



Thanks so much - I just started using a retina display macbook pro and this issue almost brought me to tears!


Even this doesn’t work for me


It didn’t work for me as well. Do u have other way? Thanks.


worked like a charm!!! thanks


I did it without sudo and it worked, are you sure it is necessary?


I tried multiple times and ways to install this update. It fails at the very end of the install with no error codes and nothing in the logs. Anyone else having failure to launch?


Worked for me.  Thanks.


Instead of “and then drag and drop one of your Office apps into the Finder window” it should say “and then drag and drop one of your Office apps into the terminal window” ! Then it worked for me !


worked great, thanks for posting this!

Jim Tanous

Robberbob said: “Instead of ‘and then drag and drop one of your Office apps into the Finder window’ it should say ‘and then drag and drop one of your Office apps into the terminal window’

Whoops! You’re absolutely right, Robberbob. That’s a big typo on my part and may be the reason why some commenters have reported that it’s not working.

I’ve corrected the article text. Thanks!


I cannot get the update 14.2.4 to install on Mountain Lion.  Tried the auto update and regular download.  Fails with no reference to why.  MacBook Pro.


Ron and Vinny-

I’m having the same trouble. Downloads fine, then at the very end of the install it fails with no code. aaargh!



The only web reference where I’ve seen this problem solved was an uninstall and reinstall. I’m going to live with it for a few days to see if something simpler shows up.



I’ve gotten it to install. Finally.

I downloaded the trial from MS.

This loads 14.2.3 over whatever is installed.

Then I re-ran the installer. Must have been a permission or some such thing that got cleaned out by the overwrite install.

Hope this helps…




Oops. That should read..

Then i re-ran the *upgrade* installer.


i got it to work too, had to uninstall/reinstall and just update update update.

honestly pretty disappointed now that it’s working…some icons look great but several details still look pretty bad. the opening menu/chooser looks terrible. why wouldn’t they finish the job?


Many thanks for this, JIm. Worked beautifully.

I found that I only needed to enter my password once, and afterwards, the other apps did not require password confirmation.

The difference is notable.



thinking of trying your suggestion.

one big but: once your “free trial” is up ~28 dayS - will your original product id work? or is it more $ going to MS?

loathe to give them any more.



It seemed to pick up my original licence without having to do anything. I double checked and the about box shows that its licensed as me.



I have a new MacBookAir and couldn’t get the Works 2011 update to load either - failure message each time. I’m trying to use Terminal (for the first time) as instructed in this message board, but when it comes to entering my password nothing shows up on the screen when I type. Tried it several times.  Thanks for any help.

David Wong

It works !! Thank you so much !!



In Terminal, when you type in the password, it won’t show up. Just press Enter when you’re done typing in your password.


Jim, you should add “and then press Enter” to Step 4 for CLI novices.


Birdie Wins

I tried this as well and it didn’t work but THEN I noticed something and got it working. 

When you drag and file into the terminal window it shows the path but it is missing the sudo touch.  Here is a little screen cast that will help.

it was just a matter of entering sudo touch before the application name after you drop the file in there. This should help.


You can also drag multiple applications to the Terminal window at the same time.

Feroz Basheer

I have no words to thank you ....


It works for me as well. Perfect. Thanks

Mike Marcacci

Skip all the different steps. Just fire up Terminal and use:

sudo find /Applications/Microsoft\ Office\ 2011/*.app -maxdepth 0 -type d -exec touch {} \;

Enter your password, and you’re good to go!


I inherited an iMac 5G OS X 10.5.4 without any word processing or spreadsheet software installed.  Can you please tell me what my options are for purchasing productivity software that is compatible?  Thank you.

Peta Clark

Hi this didn’t work for me, sadly. Is there any other solution? I’m not sure I fully understand the reason this is happening from your article…

Perparim Mata

I found site they have free keys + crack, hurry up! take your key don’t let some one to use it first
Note: if you use Crack no need key anmymore
You are welcome

Log in to comment (TMO, Twitter or Facebook) or Register for a TMO account