Edit Macro Security Settings for Microsoft Office Word

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Macros for MS Word are one of the best ways to boost your productivity but you do need to consider your security settings. Macros are customized recordings of custom commands and actions to be performed in Word that you can use to streamline frequently performed tasks.  When recording a macro, you can either assign the macro to a keyboard shortcut combination or to a button above the ribbon. 

Security Risks and Precautions

The one drawback of using macros is that there is a certain amount of risk involved when you begin using macros that you download from the internet since often times, macros from unknown sources may contain malicious codes and processes.

Fortunately, there are ways to protect your computer from malicious macros whether you are using Microsoft Office Word 2003, 2007, 2010, or 2013.  The default Macro security level in Word is set to “High.”  This setting means that if a macro does not meet one of the following two requirements, Microsoft Office Word will not allow it to run.

  1. The macro you are trying to run must have been created using the copy of Microsoft Office Word that is installed on your computer.
  2. The Macro you are trying to run must have a digital signature from a verified and trustworthy source.

The reason that these security measures have been put in place are because people reported malicious code implanted in Macros to Microsoft in the past.  While this default setting is ideal for protecting most users, it will make it a bit more difficult for you to use macros from other sources that may not have digital certificates.  There is however, a workaround for those of us who need more lax security.

When editing the macro security levels in any version of Word, I highly recommend that you never use the low setting and instead select the Medium setting.  This is what we will teach you to do for all versions of Word.

Word 2003

In order to change the Macro security settings from High to Medium in Word 2003 and earlier, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the “Tools” menu then select “Options”
  2. In the resulting dialog box, click on “Security” then click “Macro Security”
  3. Next, select “Medium” from the “Security Level” tab and press “OK”

After changing the settings you will need to close Microsoft Office Word in order to put the changes into effect.

Word 2007

In order to change the Macro security settings from High to Medium using the Trust Center in Word 2007, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Office button on the top left corner of the window.
  2. Choose “Word Options” at the bottom of the list on the right.
  3. Open up the “Trust Center
  4. Click on the “Disable all macros with notification” option so that the macros will be disabled but you will receive a popup window asking if you want to enable macros individually.
  5. Click on the “OK” button twice to confirm your changes then restart Microsoft Office Word 2007.

Word 2010 and Later

If you want to edit your macro security settings in Word 2010, 2013, and Office 365, you have several options.

  • Option 1
    • If you open a document that has macros enabled, you will see a yellow bar at the top of your screen with a button that says “Enable Content,” which you can use to enable the macros for that document for a single use.
  • Option 2 
    • If you see the yellow “Enable Content” bar, you can also make the document a “Trusted document” so that the macros in that document will always be allowed.  If you want to make allow macros in the document follow these steps:
  1. Press the “File” button when you see the warning bar
  2. Click on “Enable Content” in the “Security Warning” area
  3. Click on “Always” in the “Enable All Content” section to mark the document as trusted
  • Option 3 
    • You can also change the macro security settings in the “Trust Center” similarly to the Word 2007 method.
  1. Press “File” on the top left corner
  2. Press the “Options” button
  3. Click on “Trust Center” then on “Trust Center Settings”
  4. On the resulting page, click “Macro Settings”
  5. Click on the “Disable all macros with notification” option so that the macros will be disabled but you will receive a popup window asking if you want to enable macros individually.
  6. Click on the “OK” button twice to make the changes
  7. Restart Word to finalize your changes
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