Excel Macro Security: A 2007-2010 Comparison

February 5, 2014 Excel  No comments

Excel’s Trust Center, which causes security prompts, was introduced in Excel 2007, so when you are working with a workbook in Excel 2007 or Excel 2010, it runs automatically and handles macros in different ways depending on the settings you select. This post will go through the similarities and differences in excel macro security in Excel 2007 and Excel 2010.

Developer Tab

The first step you will need to perform in both 2007 and 2010 is to show the “Developer” tab. To do this, go to the Microsoft Office button in the top left corner and click on “Excel Options.” From there, in 2007, you will need to check the box that says “Show Developer Tab in the Ribbon.” For 2010, you will need to click on the “File” tab and select “Options,” then select the “Customize Ribbon” category and in the “Main Tabs” list check the “Developer” box. Now when you click on the “Developer” tab you will see the buttons you need for macros in the “Code” section.

Changing Macro Security Settings

To change the macro security settings, go to the “Developer” tab and click on the “Macro Security” icon with the yellow triangle. Now you will be able to choose the security settings that you want.

Security Settings

The macro security settings are the same in 2007 and 2010:

  • Disable all macros without notification: This is the option you should choose if you don’t trust macros. With this setting, all macros and security alerts about macros are disabled.
  • Disable all macros with notification: This is the default setting. With this setting, macros will be disabled, but you will get a security alert if there are macros in the document, so you are able to choose if you want to enable them.
  • Disable all macros except digitally signed macros: This option is almost the same as “disable all macros with notification, except that if a macro is signed by a trusted published then the macro can run automatically. If you haven’t already trusted the publisher, you are notified so that you can decide whether or not you want to trust the publisher and run the macro.
  • Enable all macros: This setting is not recommended, because it can allow dangerous code or viruses to run. With this setting, all macros will run, but it does make your computer vulnerable.
  • Trust access to Visual Basic Applications (VBA) project object model: This setting is for developers. It’s a security option for code that is written to automate and manipulate the environment and object model of the VBA.

 Digital Signatures

Both Excel 2007 and Excel 2010, use Microsoft Authenicode to allow macro creators to digitally sign their file or macro project certifying that the macro or document originated from them and hasn’t been altered. To use this feature, you will first need to obtain a digital certificate for signing, which you can get from a commercial certificate authority (CA) or from an internal security administrator or IT professional. To sign a project, go to the “Developer” tab and click on “Visual Basic.” From there, select the project that you want to sign and in the “Tools” menu, select “Digital Signature.” If you haven’t used a digital certificate before, you will have to select one and click “Choose.” If you’ve used one before, you simply need to click “Ok” to use your current certificate.

We hope you found this comparison of Excel macro security helpful. If you want to learn more about Excel Macro Security or Excel in general, check out our upcoming Desktop Training Academy courses.

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