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Microsoft Office: Document and Macro Security

Macro Security

By default, Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) disable macros in documents unless digitally signed. However, many third-party add-ins are not digitally signed and will not function unless the macro security level is lowered.

As of 2007, Office macro viruses are not a big threat and are easily detected by anti-virus software.

Office XP: Word, Excel, Powerpoint

This needs to be done in each application (as needed):

  1. Choose ToolsMacroSecurity.

  2. Set the macro level to Medium or Low. If the former, you will be prompted about running macros. If the latter, you won't be prompted and all macros will execute without warning.

    You should only set security to Low if you have anti-virus software installed.

    (Note this dialog box may indicate you do not have anti-virus software installed, but the message is erroneous.)

  3. Choose OK.

  4. Close Word / Excel / Powerpoint and re-open so any autorun macros can execute.

Office 2003: Word, Excel, Powerpoint

See above as for Office XP.

Office 2007: Word, Excel, Powerpoint

This needs to be done in each application (as needed):

  1. Click the Office icon in the top left:

  2. Choose Word Options (or Excel Options etc).

  3. Choose Trust Center in the left-hand pane.

  4. Click Trust Center Settings in the right-hand pane.

  5. Click Macro Settings in the left-hand pane.

  6. Choose Enable all macros (not recommended, potentially dangerous code can run).

  7. Click OK.

  8. Click OK.

  9. Close Word / Excel / Powerpoint and re-open so any autorun macros can execute.

Document Security

Microsoft Office 2003 Service Pack 3 and Microsoft Office 2007 introduce a feature which blocks old file formats, including some older Word, Excel, Lotus and Quattro Pro formats. When you attempt to open such a file after you will receive the following error:

  • You are attempting to open a file type that is blocked by your registry policy setting.

  • You are attempting to open a file that was created in an earlier version of Microsoft Office. This file type is blocked from opening in this version by your registry policy setting.

Blocking of such types may be disabled by setting registry entries. See:

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