Microsoft Query Incompatible with Mac OS X Lion [Updated]

by Gregory on July 12, 2011

Lion picThe other day I read an article on how to prepare my MacBook Pro for Lion, the new Mac OS X coming out this month, and discovered that any application that requires PowerPC is incompatible with Lion and will not work. See update at the end of this post.

So I followed the instructions to check all the installed programs on my MacBook Pro and was surprised to find that Microsoft Query will be incompatible. This will affect any Excel for Mac versions you might have on your computer — 2004, 2008, 2011.

Microsoft Excel for Mac and PowerPC

I would venture a guess that 99.4% of all Excel users have never used Microsoft Query, but I’m one who does and thought this might be significant to a select few. (Notice that Open XML for Excel and Charts uses PowerPC too.)

Microsoft Query allows you to pull data into an Excel spreadsheet from “behind the wall,” so-to-speak, of a database or ERP system. I made a career out of doing this very thing. Getting data that others could not.

In Microsoft 2010 (Windows) the new PowerPivot can replace Microsoft Query but in Excel for Mac there’s no replacement.

Excel for Mac users should beware, Microsoft Query is an incompatible app in the upcoming Lion upgrade for Mac OS X.


Since I wrote this post Microsoft updated their Office 2011 software. If you have Microsoft Office version 14.1.2 or later Microsoft Query has been updated to Intel, as you can see in the screen shot below, instead of PowerPC, and will now work on your Mac with OS X Lion.

MS Office Update for MS Query

Thanks to J. Monroe who pointed out the update by Microsoft in a comment.

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Thea July 20, 2011 at 8:52 pm

I also have microsoft query but I don’t use it. Do I need to delete it prior to installing os x Lion?

Gregory July 21, 2011 at 4:06 am

If you don’t use Microsoft Query there’s no reason to delete anything when you install Lion.

Brent July 22, 2011 at 2:30 am

I have just down loaded Lion OS X and lost 18 years of work on the Microsoft Excel spead sheets as I can not access it. Any Ideas to recover it.

Gregory July 22, 2011 at 11:41 am

If you backed up your Mac before upgrading to Lion, problem solved. If not and you can access the Excel files, I would copy them to a thumb drive then see if they can be opened on a different computer to find out if the files are corrupted or they just won’t work with Excel for Mac running Lion.

Excel for Mac should work okay with Lion with the exception of Microsoft Query. The install of Lion may have corrupted the Excel program file. You might try and delete the Excel for Mac program then reinstall.

Brent July 22, 2011 at 2:37 pm

Thank you for the help, but I am still unable to reinstall “Microft Office because PowerPC applications are no longer supported” by Lion. I wanted to reinstall Snow Leopard to get back to where I was, but somehow Lion refuses to let me do that.

If I had known what a problem Lion was going to be I would never have down loaded it.

Any ideas would be helpful.

Gregory July 22, 2011 at 6:34 pm

I’m told that you can’t re-install Office 2008 because it runs PowerPC, but the forums all say that Office 2011 runs just fine with Lion. Make sure you have Office 2011. If you have Office 2008 you might try something else, and that’s to use Boot Camp Assistant to partition your hard drive and install Snow Leopard and Office. I have my MacBook’s hard drive partitioned and am running Windows 7 and three versions of Excel for Windows. I’m assuming you can partition and then put Snow Leopard on it with Excel for Mac.

Here’s the link to my article on the Boot Camp Assistant.

Brent July 22, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Thanks for your help Gregory.
I am ruing the day I down loaded Lion. It cost me $40.00 (NZD) and now it has cost me a further $190.00 (NZD) to take my iMac to the shop to have Snow Leopard reinstalled, as on following the instructions to do so crashed the computer and made the screen go white.
I was not the only one at the Apple shop, 2 other people were there as well having down loaded Lion and the same thing happened.

Anyway thanks for all your help but until Apple gets a stable lion OS then I will stay with Snow Leopard.

Merter UNER July 22, 2011 at 2:30 am

I installed MAC OS X Lion, and Excel for MAc 2011 does not work. Is it expected? I installed again complete office however no result.

Gregory July 22, 2011 at 11:48 am

Excel 2011 for Mac is expected to work with Lion. I’ve no answer for why it wouldn’t work. You might try Microsoft’s official website and search for issues with Lion.

Richard G August 16, 2011 at 9:31 am

I just downloaded Lion and my MS Word and Excel will not open. Too bad I found this out too late. When I try to review the iWork spreadsheet and word processing offering the demonstration program will not run properly and has no sound. Is this the norm. I’m concerned that my computer will not be able to run a word processor or spreadsheet program. Actually, I’m concerned about a lot of things with Lion now. Help!

Gregory August 16, 2011 at 6:44 pm

I’ve had a couple of people relate similar horror stories. One of them, who lives in New Zealand, had to take their Mac back to the Apple store and have them put Snow Leopard back on their machine to solve the problems with Lion. And this wasn’t a cheap process. Others have had no difficulty. Excel for Mac should work Lion, just not Microsoft Query which is a small program that many don’t use.

Sad to say, but it looks like you probably need an Apple expert if you’re having that many problems. Best of luck!

Richard G August 17, 2011 at 8:24 am

Microsoft Office:Mac 2011 did the trick. Both Excel and Word open now. Whew!

Gregory August 17, 2011 at 4:25 pm

That’s good news. The Lion is less scary now.

Brent August 17, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Good morning Gegory.

My computer is working fine now that I have Snow Leopard reinstalled. No my Loin for me until the problems have been fixed.



Gregory August 17, 2011 at 4:24 pm

I was going to upgrade to Lion but have heard some loud roaring that has dampened my motivation. I’m waiting, right there alongside you.

Gianni October 20, 2011 at 1:50 pm

I have hheard that with the App Numbers i am able to open excel files… am i also able to write excel files myself with this app?
if someone knows anything about this app and excel, please help me!

Gregory October 20, 2011 at 7:34 pm

You can open Excel files with the Numbers app, but sometimes certain things don’t work correctly, like complicated formulas, whereas Numbers will give you a warning report on the things that are problems.

You can save Numbers files as Excel files. However I use Excel 2011 on my MacBook Pro and haven’t have any problems after loading Lion.

Danny October 27, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Can you please clarify thgis for me. I have Microsoft Excel and Word 2008. Will these applications work if I upgrade to Lion?

Gregory October 27, 2011 at 8:24 pm

I don’t have Word 2008 and I un-installed Excel 2008 before I installed Lion so I can’t answer your question directly. However I do have Office 2011 for Mac and Word, Excel, and PowerPoint work well with Lion.

Birben Ogultarhan November 30, 2011 at 7:53 am

I am trying to find out a path to use my Microsoft Queries (even connecting to SSAS cubes etc..) within Excel 201 on Mac OS 10.7.

Actually,I have never installed Microsoft Query before to my mac before and after I tried to installation on Lion, it is not working since its a Power PC application it says…So, I want to learn that if you find an applicable way to solve this problem, any new version of Microsoft Query for MAC 10.7. or any other development after this post until now?

Thanks, regards,

Gregory November 30, 2011 at 9:33 am

There is currently no new developments. Microsoft Query won’t work with OS X Lion in Excel 2011

Microsoft Query should work with Snow Leopard, although I’ve not done so.

Bob February 26, 2012 at 1:53 pm

I run Windows Excel 2010 under VMWare 4.1.1 on Lion and it works quite well, including MSquery. I prefer the Windows version anyway, so this has been a good compromise solution for me.

Gregory February 26, 2012 at 2:17 pm

@Bob, good to know MS Query works with VMWare. Should be a high probability that it would also work with Parallels. Thanks for that tidbit of knowledge.

Jonathan Monroe October 16, 2012 at 1:48 pm

In order to use MS Query on Lion, you need to upgrade MS Office 2011 to 14.1.2 or later. 14.1.2 includes a native intel version of MS Query.

Gregory October 17, 2012 at 5:20 pm

I appreciate the update. I’d forgotten about writing this this post after Microsoft updated their Office Excel 2011 software. Thanks!

Gaby June 11, 2013 at 6:04 am

I want to install MS Query to retrive data from my Excel 2011 but I get the not supporte message. My Office is up to date, since you said the problem was solved but I’m still unable sto install. Any ideas of what I shoudl or how to proceed ?

Gregory June 26, 2013 at 8:41 pm

I would check to see if your Excel has the latest Auto Update installed. Then click Applications > Utilites > System and in the left hand pane under Software click Applications, and then scroll down to see if Microsoft Query has Intel listed under the Kind column. Lastly make sure you have the right ODBC drivers installed.

Gregory July 22, 2011 at 8:33 pm

Sorry I couldn’t be of more help. And now I’m wondering if I should wait a while before installing Lion.

You’ve convinced me so I’ll wait until Lion is stable and Microsoft comes out with a statement on how their Office programs work with Lion.

Then I’ll upgrade and blog about the experience. Thanks for the comments.

Brent July 23, 2011 at 3:42 am

Gregory thanks for help. I would suggest that you perhaps wait until Lion is stable and cruise the forum pages to see what is what. I found that Lion would do like “Break dancing” on the screen. It would move a fraction to the left and freeze, and then to the right and freeze, then return to the centre of the screen before the curser would work again. I forgot to mention before that when I took it to the Apple shop to be fixed as well as the other two persons, the Apple tech had the same problem and spent 6 hours attempted to/correct the problem before going to work. Mind has been fixed now and it took about 3 hours … so just wait and see what happens.



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