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Enabling Macros in Word 2010

Don, from Roanoke VA asks:

I’ve got a problem with the MS Word 2010 application. Every time I open the program I get a security warning just below the ribbon stating that macros have been disabled (click enable content.) Could you explain this macro, and how do I make this action enabled by default. I can’t seem to find a solution under the file tab>options.

Hi Don. Enabling macros is relatively easy to do in Word 2010, but it does pose a potential security threat to your computer. Macros are automated commands that allow you to perform a repetitive task within a word document. For example, if you have to include a legal disclaimer at the end of all your company communications, you could record a macro to do this and activate it with a keyboard shortcut to save you typing out the disclaimer again and again.

The majority of macros in documents are there as useful time savers and are meant to help you, but as I mentioned above, there is a risk associated with enabling macros. The risk with comes from nefarious hackers who have been known to embed macros in a document in order to run malicious code that will compromise your PC’s security. By default, Microsoft disables the use of macros on documents that you receive from other people, but they do provide you with the option to permanently turn them on. Here’s how to do it.

1. Click on the File tab, then click Help, and select Options from the Help menu.

2. On the next window, click Trust Center.

3. Now click Trust Center Settings…

4. To enable all macros as a default setting, simply select the radio button next to Enable all macros, then click OK.

If you are worried about security, a good alternative to enabling all macros is to select disable all macros except those which are digitally signed. When this option is selected, macros are still disabled, as before, but documents that are digitally signed by a publisher can be added to your trusted publisher list. This tells Word that you trust documents from this author and that you want to run macros on all documents that are digitally signed by that publisher.

To do this, select Disable all macros except digitally signed macros, click OK, and look for the same warning message as before under the ribbon. It now includes the option to enable macros and trust the publisher. Once you trust the publisher of a document, you will be able to automatically run all macros on future Word documents from the same source.

Thanks for the question Don.

~Jonathan Wylie