Microsoft Office Logo

If you repeatedly perform a task, you can save time by using a macro to automate that task. However, not all macros are created equal—some contain malicious code. Here’s how to enable (or disable) macros in Microsoft Office 365.

Security Warning

Macros are used to automate tasks by mapping a sequence of keystrokes to perform a specific task. In Office, you can record a macro with no development background, but macros are code. Legitimate macros save you the time and effort of having to press the same keys or click the same buttons repeatedly.

However, someone with ill intent can inject malicious code in an Office document via a macro and infect your computer and/or network.

RELATED: Macros Explained: Why Microsoft Office Files Can Be Dangerous

Always be cautious when downloading an Office document from the web and never open any documents from unreliable sources.

Enable or Disable Macros for Office on Windows 10

Macros are disabled by default, but you can easily enable them. If you open a file that contains macros, Microsoft Office will send a security warning via the Message Bar at the top of the document. To enable the macros in the file, click “Enable Content” in the Message Bar.

Enable content button

Advertisement

You can also enable macros in the “Security Warning” section. To do so, click the “File” tab.

File tab

Next, select “Info” from the pane on the left.

Info button

If the Office document contains macros, you’ll see a yellow “Security Warning” section; click “Enable Content.”

Enable content in security warning section

Click “Enable All Content” in the drop-down menu that appears.

Enable all content

The macros will now be enabled for the duration of the session. If you want to disable the macros, simply close the document, and then reopen it.

How to Adjust Macro Settings on Windows 10

Although it’s recommended that you leave macros disabled by default, you can manage the macros settings in the Trust Center. To do so, click “File.”

File tab

Next, select “Options” from the pane that appears on the left.

Options in left-hand pane

In the “Options” menu that appears (“Word Options” in our example), click “Trust Center.”

Trust Center option in Word options window

Advertisement

In the “Microsoft Trust Center” section, click “Trust Center Settings.”

Trust Center Settings button

You’ll now be in the “Macro Settings” tab of the Trust Center. Here, you have the following four options:

  • “Disable All Macros Without Notification”: This setting disables macros and relevant security alerts.
  • “Disable All Macros with Notification”: Select this option to disable macros, but also send a security alert so you know a document contains macros.
  • “Disable All Macros Except Digitally Signed Macros”: Selecting this disables macros, but sends a security alert so you know the document contains macros. However, it will run macros that contain a digital signature by a trusted publisher. If you haven’t trusted the publisher, you’ll receive an alert.
  • “Enable All Macros (Not Recommended; Potentially Dangerous Code Can Run)”: If you select this setting, all macros will run without a warning.

Macro settings

Click the radio button next to the setting you prefer, and then click “OK.”

Enable or Disable Macros for Office on Mac

When you try to open an Office file containing macros on your Mac, a security warning will appear before the document opens. The message states that macros might contain viruses, and you should only enable macros if you trust the source.

Enable or disable or macros message for mac

Click “Enable Macros” to enable them, “Disable Macros” to disable them, or “Do Not Open” to prevent Office from opening the document.

If you click “Enable Macros,” the macros will be enabled for the duration of the session. If you want to disable the macros, simply close the document, and then reopen it.

How to Adjust Macro Settings on a Mac

Leaving macros disabled is recommended for tighter security, although you can tell Office how to handle documents that contain macros.

Advertisement

To do so, open an Office file, and then click the program menu at the top (we’re using Word). Select “Preferences” from the menu.

Word preferences in Mac

In the “Personal Settings” section, select “Security & Privacy.”

Mac's security and privacy settings

In the “Macro Security” section, you can choose from the following three options:

  • “Disable All Macros Without Notification”: This setting disables macros and relevant security alerts.
  • “Disable All Macros with Notification”: Select this option to disable macros, but also receive a security alert so you’ll know a document contains macros.
  • “Enable All Macros (Not Recommended; Potentially Dangerous Code Can Run)”: Choose this option if you want to run all macros without a warning.

Macro security

Just click the radio button next to the setting you prefer.

Marshall Gunnell
Marshall Gunnell is a writer with experience in the data storage industry. He worked at Synology, and most recently as CMO and technical staff writer at StorageReview. He's currently an API/Software Technical Writer at LINE Corporation in Tokyo, Japan, runs ITEnterpriser, a data-storage and cybersecurity-focused online media, and plays with development, with his RAID calculator being his first public project.
Read Full Bio »

The above article may contain affiliate links, which help support How-To Geek.