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  • How To Enable Macros In Excel: Step-By-Step Guide To Dealing With 3 Common Scenarios
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    Disable macros in Excel Macro security in Excel Before you go enable macros in your worksheets, it's important to understand how dangerous they can possibly be. Though VBA codes are very effective in automating complex and repetitious tasks, they are a significant source of risk from the security point of view.

    A malicious macro that you run unwittingly may damage or completely delete files on your hard drive, mess up your data, and even corrupt your Microsoft Office installation. For this reason, Excel's default setting is to disable all macros with notification. How to avoid these dangers? Just follow one simple rule: enable only safe macros — ones that you've written or recorded yourself, macros from trusted sources, and VBA codes that you have reviewed and fully understand.

    How to enable macros for individual workbooks There are two ways to turn on macros for a certain file: directly from the workbook and through the Backstage view. Enable macros via security warning bar With the default macro settings, when you first open a workbook containing macros, the yellow security warning bar appears at the top of the sheet right under the ribbon: If the Visual Basic Editor is open at the time you are opening the file with macros, the Microsoft Excel Security Notice will be displayed: If you trust the source of the file and know that all the macros are secure, click the Enable Content or Enable Macros button.

    This will turn on the macros and make the file a trusted document. The next time you open the workbook, the security warning won't appear. If the source of the file is unknown and you don't want to enable macros, you can click the 'X' button to close the security warning. The warning will disappear, but macros will remain disabled. Any attempt to run a macro will result in the following message. If you've disabled macros accidentally, simply re-open the workbook, and then click the Enable Content button on the warning bar.

    Turn on macros in Backstage view Another way to enable macros for a specific workbook is via the Office Backstage view.

    Here's how: Click the File tab, and then click Info in the left menu. As with the previous method, your workbook will become a trusted document.

    What you should know about trusted documents in Excel Enabling macros through either a message bar or Backstage view makes the file a trusted document. However, some Excel files cannot be made trusted documents. For examples, files opened from an unsafe location such as the Temp Folder, or if the system administrator has set the security policy in your organization to disable all macros without notification.

    In such cases, the macros are only enabled for a single time. On the next opening of the file, Excel will prompt you to enable the content again.

    To avoid this, you can change your Trust Center settings or save the file to a trusted location. Once a particular workbook becomes a trusted document, there is no way to un-trust it. You can only clear the Trusted Documents list. In the Trust Center dialog box, select Trusted Documents on the left.

    Click Clear, and then click OK. This will make all previously trusted files untrusted. When you open such a file, the security warning will show up.

    If you do not want to make any documents trusted, tick the Disable Trusted Documents box. You will still be able to turn on macros on opening a workbook, but only for the current session. How to enable macros for one session In some situations, it stands to reason to enable macros only for a single time. For example, when you received an Excel file with VBA code that you'd like to investigate, but you do not wish to make this file a trusted document.

    This turns on macros for one time. When you close the workbook, and then reopen it, the warning will appear again. How to enable macros in all workbooks via Trust Center Microsoft Excel determines whether to allow or disallow VBA codes to run based on the macro setting selected in the Trust Center, which is the place where you configure all the security settings for Excel. To get macros enabled in all Excel workbooks by default, this is what you need to do: Click the File tab, and then click Options at the very bottom of the left bar.

    Notes: The option you set via the Trust Center becomes the new default macro setting and applies globally to all of your Excel files. If you want to enable macros for only specific workbooks, save them in a trusted location instead.

    Enabling all macros in all workbooks makes your computer vulnerable to potentially dangerous codes. Excel macro settings explained Bellow we will briefly explain all macro settings in the Trust Center to help you make an informed decision: Disable all macros without notification - all macros are disabled; no warning will show up.

    You won't be able to run any macros except the ones stored in trusted locations. Disable all macros with notification default - macros are disabled, but you can enable them on a case-by-case basis.

    Disable all macros except digitally signed macros — unsigned macros are disabled with notifications. Macros digitally signed with a special certificate by a trusted publisher are allowed to run. If you have not trusted the publisher, Excel will prompt you to trust the publisher and enable the macro. Enable all macros not recommended - all macros are allowed to run, including potentially malicious codes.

    Trust access to the VBA project object model - this setting controls programmatic access to the object model of Visual Basic for Applications. It's disabled by default to prevent unauthorized programs from changing your macros or building self-replicating harmful codes. When changing the Trust Center settings, please keep in mind that they apply only to Excel, not to all Office programs.

    Enable macros permanently in a trusted location Instead of manipulating the global macro settings, you can configure Excel to trust specific locations on your computer or local network. Any Excel file in a trusted location opens with macros enabled and without security warnings, even if the Disable all macros without notification option is selected in the Trust Center settings.

    This lets you run macros in certain workbooks when all other Excel macros are disabled! An example of such files in the Personal Macro Workbook — all VBA codes in that workbook are available for you to use whenever you start Excel, regardless of your macro settings. In the Trust Center dialog box, select Trusted Locations on the left side.

    You will see a list of the default trusted locations. These locations are important for the correct work of Excel add-ins, macros and templates, and should not be changed. Technically, you can save your workbook to one of the Excel default locations, but it's better to create your own one. To set up your trusted location, click Add new location…. In the Microsoft Office Trusted Locations dialog box, do the following: Click the Browse button to navigate to the folder that you want to make a trusted location.

    If you wish any subfolder of the selected folder to be trusted too, check the Subfolders of this location are also trusted box. Type a short notice in the Description field this can help you manage multiple locations or leave it empty. Click OK. Click OK twice to close the remaining dialog boxes.

    You can now place your workbook with macros in your own trusted location and do not bother about Excel's security settings. Tips and notes: Please be very careful when choosing a trusted location. Because Excel automatically enables all macros in all workbooks that are stored in trusted locations, they become kind of loopholes in your security system, vulnerable to macro viruses and hacking attacks.

    Never make any temporary folder a trusted source. Also, be cautious with the Documents folder, rather create a subfolder and designate it as a trusted location. If you've mistakenly added a certain folder to the list of trusted locations, select it and click the Remove button.

    How to enable macros programmatically with VBA On Excel forums, many people ask if it is possible to enable macros programmatically on opening a workbook and disable them before exiting.

    The immediate answer is "No, it's not possible". Because macro security is critical for the security of Excel, Microsoft designed any VBA code to only be triggered by a user click. However, when Microsoft closes a door, the user opens a window : As a workaround, someone suggested a way to force the user to enable macros with a kind of "splash screen" or "instruction sheet". The general idea is as follows: You write a code that makes all the worksheets but one very hidden xlSheetVeryHidden.

    The visible sheet splash screen says something like "Please enable macros and re-open the file" or provides more detailed instructions. If macros are disabled, the user can only see the "Splash Screen" worksheet; all other sheets are very hidden.

    If macros are enabled, the code unhides all the sheets, and then makes them very hidden again when the workbook closes. The code examples can be found here and here.

    How to disable macros in Excel As already mentioned, Excel's default setting is to disable macros with notification and allow users to enable them manually if they want to. If you'd like to disable all macros silently, without any notification, then choose the corresponding option the first one in the Trust Center. In the left menu, select Macro Settings, choose Disable all macros without notification, and click OK.

    That's how you can enable and disable macros in Excel. I thank you for reading and hope to see you on our blog next week! You may also be interested in.

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    I assume that, if you're reading this Excel tutorial, the version of Excel you're working on still has its default settings. You can generally modify the macro security settings of Excel to determine what happens when you open an Excel workbook by determining: Which macros can run.

    Under which circumstances can macros run. In any case, please note the following: As explained by Microsoft , you're not able to change the macro security settings if an administrator in your organization has changed the default settings with the purpose of preventing modifications. If this is the case, get in touch with this administrator. Any changes that you make to the macro security settings in Excel are only applicable to Excel. They don't apply to other Microsoft Office applications. This may sound like ancient history to most of you, but: Once upon a time, Excel along with the other Microsoft Office applications enabled macros by default.

    But then: Kwyjibo came. In case you're a Simpsons fan and are wondering whether I'm referring to Homer Simpson… The answer is no. I'm also a little bit disappointed.

    I also like the Simpsons and would've enjoyed writing about them. I'm referring to the Melissa virus, also known by other names such as Kwyjibo. This was a macro virus that propagated via a Word document sent as an email attachment. The virus became famous back in Certain large corporations including Microsoft itself were affected. What do you think was the consequence of this? That's right. Under the current setting macros are, by default, not enabled.

    Nowadays, macro security is very important. Walkenbach goes on to explain that: A macro can delete files, send information to other computers, and even destroy Windows so that you can't even start your system. Therefore, you want to understand what you're doing when enabling macros.

    This way you'll be able to enjoy the benefits of macros while minimizing the risk of having your computer infected with dangerous VBA code. Let's assume, that you want to enable macros in Excel because you want to start creating macros now.

    The following sections explain the different ways in which you can enable macros in Excel and the most important aspects of macro security settings you'll need to understand in order to be reasonably protected from macro viruses. You determine these default settings through the Trust Center, which is where you can see and set all the security and privacy settings for Excel.

    If you enable macros in Excel through the Trust Center, those settings become the new default and apply globally. If you want to enable macros for only certain Excel workbooks, you can do so by saving them in a trusted location, as I explain in the next section of this Excel tutorial.

    Let's see how to change your global macro security settings in 2 easy steps. This allows you to, for example, enable macros in Excel by default. Alternatively, you can get to the Trust Center through the Excel Options dialog.

    Do this in the following 4 simple steps. Step 1: Access the Excel Options dialog. Step 2: Go to the Trust Center tab. This takes you to the Trust Center. Step 4: Go to the Macro Settings tab. Once you're inside the Trust Center, make sure you're on the Macro Settings tab.

    This tab appears on the left side. Excel allows you to choose 1 out of 4 separate settings to set whether Excel enables or disables macros. To choose the macro setting you want to enable, simply click on the circle on the left side of it and, then, click on the OK button on the lower right corner of the Trust Center.

    Let's take a look at what each of these options means and does. It: Disables all macros, excluding those in trusted locations. Doesn't notify you that a macro has been disabled. As you may've guessed, this is not the option you want to choose. As explained by Mr. Note that this macro doesn't prevent absolutely all macros from running.

    As I mention above, macros in trusted locations can still run without going through the checks of the Trust Center system. Option 2: Disable All Macros With Notification As you've probably noticed the difference between this option and option 1 is that, now, Excel notifies you that a macro has been disabled.

    This is the default option in Excel and, as explained in Excel VBA and Macros, it's also the recommended setting. Excel's notification that macros are not enabled allows you to determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether you want to enable macros for a particular Excel workbook. More precisely, if you open a file that has macros and the Visual Basic Editor isn't open , you'll see the following message below the Ribbon.

    If at the time of opening the workbook with macros the Visual Basic Editor is also open, Excel displays a security notice: Regardless of which of the 2 messages you see, you have 2 options. Option 1: Enable Macros.

    You have 2 possible ways to enable macros. Which of the 2 options above applies depends on whether the Visual Basic Editor is open or not. Otherwise, you'll see the security warning that appears in the first image. Possibility 2: Enable the macros using the Backstage View by following the 3-step process below. Step 1: Click on the File tab in the Ribbon. Step 2: Once you're in the Backstage View, make sure that you're in the Info tab.

    Step 3: You've probably noticed the prominent security warning which mentions that macros have been disabled. Option 2: Keep Macros Disabled.

    If the VBE is not open, ignore the message or close it by clicking on the cross at the right side of the security warning as shown in the image below. In all of these cases, the macros are not enabled. If you try to run a macro even though you've not enable them, Excel displays the following dialog box to inform you about this: In order to solve this issue, follow the indications that appear in the dialog. Namely: Step 1: Close the Excel workbook.

    Step 2: Open the workbook again. Excel remembers when you enable macros in an Excel workbook. Therefore, if you enable the content of such workbook following the process described in this section, the next time you open it all the macros are automatically enabled. In other words, that particular Excel file becomes a trusted document.

    You can enable the macros in a particular Excel file for a single time, without turning that Excel workbook into a trusted document, by following the process I explain below.

    As explained by Microsoft here , there are some situations in which you can't make a particular Excel workbook a trusted document.

    In those cases, macros are not automatically enabled the next time you open the relevant Excel file. Some of the reasons why a file can't be made a trusted document include: That particular file was opened from a location that is deemed unsafe, such as the Temp Folder. The system administrator of your organization has disabled certain content or has turned off the trusted document feature. The file is a template, usually identified by the extensions. When a file can't be made a trusted document, the macros that you enable by following the steps described above are only enabled for a single time.

    When you open the file again, Excel shows the security warning or security notice again and ask if you want to enable the content as explained above. However, in this case, the process is slightly more complicated due to the existence of an exception for digitally signed macros.

    If you choose this setting, Excel proceeds as follows when you open an Excel workbook with macros: Macros that are digitally signed by a publisher that you've already trusted are automatically enabled. In the case of macros that are digitally signed by a publisher that you've not yet trusted, Excel notifies you. This allows you to enable the signed macros or add the publisher to your list of trusted publishers. Unsigned macros are not enabled and there is no notification.

    The question is, then, when should you choose this option? Excel Bill Jelen and Tracy Syrstad provide a good general rule to determine whether you should choose or not to disable all macros except those that are digitally signed: This macro setting may be useful if you're planning to create and somehow distribute add-ins to third parties, or if you use add-ins from third parties.

    Despite the above, this option is likely unnecessary and even annoying if the macros that you'll be creating are for your own use and you only use the macros you create. Option 4: Enable All Macros This setting enables all macros automatically.

    However, notice the clear warning that Microsoft includes within the parenthesis: If you remember the explanation I provide above as to why Excel macros are not enabled by default, you'll see the problem with enabling absolutely all macros automatically. This macro setting leaves your computer vulnerable to macro viruses. In other words, unless you have a very compelling reason to do otherwise, its best to avoid option 4.

    How to Enable Macros For Certain Excel Files In addition to setting global settings to determine whether macros are enabled or not, you can determine the individual macro settings for particular Excel workbooks. You do this through creating and managing trusted locations, which are particular folders in your hard disk or network. As explained by Microsoft here , Microsoft Office creates several trusted locations during the installation process.

    Excel files that are in a trusted location are not checked according to the security settings of the Trust Center. Therefore, the macros of all the Excel workbooks that are saved in trusted locations are automatically enabled. You can add a trusted location by following these 8 easy steps. Step 1: Enter The Trust Center. The most straightforward way to get to the Trust Center is by clicking on the Macro Security button in the Developer tab of the Ribbon.

    Once you're inside the Trust Center, make sure that you're on the Trusted Locations tab. Microsoft's suggestion is that you don't have trusted locations on your network as locations outside your computer are less safe.

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    View multiple documents: The tab view allows you to open, edit, and manage multiple documents at once. Protect documents with passwords: Choose who can view and edit documents WPS Office includes password protection and advanced read and write rights.

    How To Enable Macros In Excel: Step-By-Step Guide To Dealing With 3 Common Scenarios

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