Troubleshoot security and protection

Protection and passwords

ShowI can't maximize or close the workbook window.

The Maximize and Close buttons do not appear on windows that have been protected.

To remove protection, point to Protection on the Tools menu, and then click Unprotect Workbook. If prompted, enter the password. (If you are prompted for a password and you do not know the password, you cannot remove protection.)

To protect a workbook without protecting the windows, point to Protection on the Tools menu, click Protect Workbook, and then clear the Windows check box.

ShowI typed my password, but Microsoft Excel won't open the workbook.

Passwords are case sensitive. You must type uppercase and lowercase letters exactly as they were entered when the password was created. Before you open a workbook that requires a password, make sure you have not pressed the CAPS LOCK key.

ShowI typed my password, but Excel won't let me edit the cells.

Instead of selecting a range of cells to edit, select and edit the cells one at a time. If you still can't edit the cells, check with the person who created and protected the workbook to make sure you have the right password and access.

ShowI forgot the password.

If you create a password that is required to open a workbook or gain access to its data, and then you forget the password, you can't open the workbook, gain access to its data in another workbook through links, remove protection from the workbook, or recover data from the workbook.

Because you cannot gain access to password-protected workbook or worksheet elements if you lose the password, it's a good idea to keep a list of your passwords and their corresponding workbook and worksheet names in a secure place.

Security levels and encryption

ShowI can't change the Excel security level.

Your network administrator may have enforced a security level for your workgroup or corporation to ensure that you use only macros that are virus-free. For more information, see your network administrator.

ShowI get an 'encryption scheme not available' message when I try to open a workbook.

Some workbook protection and encryption features vary depending on the language of the operating system they were created in. Before you can open a protected workbook, you must unprotect it with the same operating system and language in which it was created.

For example, if you are using the U.S. English version of Windows and receive a workbook that was protected with the Danish version of Windows, you can open the workbook only after it is unprotected with the Danish version.

ShowI can't add a macro developer to the list of trusted sources.

The list of trusted sources might be locked     Your system administrator might have locked your list of trusted sources so that you cannot add new macro developers to it.

The macro might not be digitally signed     To add a macro developer to the list of trusted sources, the macro must be digitally signed (digital signature: An electronic, encryption-based, secure stamp of authentication on a macro or document. This signature confirms that the macro or document originated from the signer and has not been altered.) by the developer.

Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 or later might not be installed     To digitally sign a macro or verify that a developer is trusted, Internet Explorer version 4.0 or later must be installed on your computer.

The security level might be set to Low     To add a macro developer to the list of trusted sources, you must change the security level to Medium or High. To change the security level, point to Macro on the Tools menu, click Security, click the Security Level tab, and then click the level you want.

The certificate for the source may not be authenticated     You can only add certificates to your list of trusted sources if they have been authenticated. Note that certificates created with the Selfcert.exe tool are considered to be unauthenticated and can only be added to the list of trusted sources on the computer on which they were created.

ShowThe certificate I selected wasn't added to the list of trusted sources.

If you use Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 with either Microsoft Office XP or Excel 2002, the Certificate Properties dialog box appears when you click the Details button in the Security Warning dialog box to get information about a certificate for a digitally signed (digital signature: An electronic, encryption-based, secure stamp of authentication on a macro or document. This signature confirms that the macro or document originated from the signer and has not been altered.) macro.

The Trust tab in the Certificate Properties dialog box provides an option to generally trust the certificate, but Office XP and Excel 2002 ignore any options you set on the Trust tab. Use the Security Warning dialog box to add a macro developer to the list of trusted sources.

Macro virus prevention

ShowMacros won't run in my workbook or add-in program.

Macros might have been disabled automatically     If the security level is set to High and you open a workbook or load an add-in program (add-in: A supplemental program that adds custom commands or custom features to Microsoft Office.) that contains unsigned macros, the macros are disabled and you cannot run them. You can enable macros that are not digitally signed (digital signature: An electronic, encryption-based, secure stamp of authentication on a macro or document. This signature confirms that the macro or document originated from the signer and has not been altered.) if you change the security level to Medium, close the workbook or unload the add-in program, and then reopen the workbook or reload the add-in program. If you want Excel to automatically disable unsigned macros in the future, remember to change the security level back to High. To change the security level, point to Macro on the Tools menu, click Security, click the Security Level tab, and then click the level you want.

You might have chosen to disable macros when you opened the workbook     If the security level is set to Medium or High and you chose to disable macros because you don't trust their source, you cannot run the macros. To run the macros, close and then reopen the workbook or unload and reload the add-in program, and then click Enable Macros.

ShowMacros won't open in Excel 97.

The macros might have been digitally signed (digital signature: An electronic, encryption-based, secure stamp of authentication on a macro or document. This signature confirms that the macro or document originated from the signer and has not been altered.) from within the Visual Basic Editor (Visual Basic Editor: An environment in which you write new and edit existing Visual Basic for Applications code and procedures. The Visual Basic Editor contains a complete debugging toolset for finding syntax, run-time, and logic problems in your code.) in Excel 2000 or later. Excel 97 doesn't recognize digital signatures, so it can't update the signature if you modify a signed Visual Basic for Applications macro. Therefore, to prevent modifications, you cannot view in Excel 97 the code for macros that have been digitally signed in Excel 2000 or later.

ShowI don't get a macro warning for a workbook that I know has macros.

The security level might be set to Low     To have Excel warn you that a workbook or add-in program (add-in: A supplemental program that adds custom commands or custom features to Microsoft Office.) contains macros, change the security level to Medium: point to Macro on the Tools menu, click Security, click the Security Level tab, and then click Medium.

The security level might be set to High and the macros are not digitally signed     To have Excel warn you that a workbook or add-in contains macros that have not been digitally signed (digital signature: An electronic, encryption-based, secure stamp of authentication on a macro or document. This signature confirms that the macro or document originated from the signer and has not been altered.), change the security level to Medium as described above.

The security level might be set to Very High    Only macros installed in trusted locations will be allowed to run. All other signed and unsigned macros are disabled. You can disable all macros entirely by setting your security level to Very High and disabling macros installed in trusted locations. To disable macros installed in trusted locations, click Tools, then select Macro and Security, and then click on the Trusted Publisher tab and “uncheck” the Trust all installed add-ins and templates option.

 Note   This also disables all Com Add-ins and Smart Tag .DLLs as well as macros.

You or a trusted source might have developed the macros     If so, Excel opens the workbook and enables macros automatically. If you no longer trust the macro developer, you can remove the developer from the list of trusted sources: on the Tools menu, point to Macro, click Security, click the Trusted Sources tab, click the developer, and then click Remove.

To have Excel prompt you every time you open a workbook or load an add-in program that contains macros, remove every source from the list of trusted sources. To confirm that the macros in the workbook were signed and to see the source of the macros, point to Macro on the Tools menu, and then click Visual Basic Editor. On the Tools menu in the editor, click Digital Signature.

ShowI don't want to see the warning about macros.

The macro might not be from a trusted source     If the security level is set to Medium or High and you open a workbook or load an add-in program (add-in: A supplemental program that adds custom commands or custom features to Microsoft Office.) that contains digitally signed (digital signature: An electronic, encryption-based, secure stamp of authentication on a macro or document. This signature confirms that the macro or document originated from the signer and has not been altered.) macros that are not from a trusted source, you receive a macro warning. If you are sure that you trust the macro developer, add the name to the list of trusted sources.

The macro might contain a virus     If you don't expect a workbook to contain a macro, you might have a virus that is adding a macro virus to the workbook. Check your computer for viruses and then try to get an uninfected copy of the workbook from the source.

The macro might be in a temporary file that you downloaded from a Web site     If your virus scanner tells you that it has removed a virus in this file every time you open it, you are removing the virus from the temporary file only and not from the original file on the Web server. Check your computer for viruses and then notify the source about problems with the original file.

The workbook may contain legitimate macros     Excel cannot distinguish between safe and unsafe macros. If you know that these are legitimate and safe macros, you might want to digitally sign the macros and add your name to the list of trusted sources.

ShowI get a "Source has not been authenticated" message.

If the security level is set to High or Medium, this warning appears when you open a workbook or load an add-in program (add-in: A supplemental program that adds custom commands or custom features to Microsoft Office.) that contains a digitally signed (digital signature: An electronic, encryption-based, secure stamp of authentication on a macro or document. This signature confirms that the macro or document originated from the signer and has not been altered.) macro for which the digital certificate (digital certificate: Attachment for a file, macro project, or e-mail message that vouches for authenticity, provides secure encryption, or supplies a verifiable signature. To digitally sign macro projects, you must install a digital certificate.) has not been authenticated—for example, when the macro developer has created his or her own digital certificate.

This type of unauthenticated certificate can be forged to claim it is anyone's certificate—for example, a malicious user can create a certificate named "Microsoft Corporation". The only warning you have that the certificate might be false is this warning. You should not expect professional software developers to sign with an unauthenticated certificate. You should only expect this type of certificate from individual co-workers or friends.

If the security level is set to High and you trust the macro source, you can select the Always trust macros from this source check box and enable the macros.

If the security level is set to Medium, you can enable the macros without adding the developer to the list of trusted sources. If you don't trust the developer, do not enable the macros or open the workbook until you have verified that the source can be trusted.

ShowI can't disable a macro.

You may be trying to open a workbook that contains a type of macro that cannot be disabled. Excel has two types of macros: those written in Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) (Visual Basic for Applications (VBA): A macro-language version of Microsoft Visual Basic that is used to program Microsoft Windows-based applications and is included with several Microsoft programs.) and those written in Excel version 4.0 macro language (XLM macros). Only macros written in VBA can be disabled.

When you open a workbook that contains XLM macros, the Auto_Open macro can be disabled, but other XLM macros still run.

It is recommended that you make sure that the source of the workbook is reliable before you open the workbook.

To find out more about viruses—including how to purchase antivirus software that scans your workbooks and removes known macro viruses—see Microsoft Antivirus Information.

ShowI get a macro warning when I open a template.

Excel does not consider the Excel templates to be trusted sources. Even if you selected the Trust all installed add-ins and templates check box on the Trusted Sources tab and clicked Medium or High on the Security Level tab (Tools menu, Macro submenu, Security command), the macro virus warning appears when you open a template provided with Excel that contains macros.

ShowAdd-ins and macros do not work.

If some items such as templates, wizards, or custom commands do not function the way you expect, you may be running a version of Office that does not include Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). Some organizations prefer to install Office with the VBA functionality disabled. If you use Office in this mode, certain add-ins and macros, including add-ins or macros created by third-party vendors, may not work. To find out whether you are running Office in VBA-less mode, contact your System Administrator or IT Professional.

 
 
Applies to:
Excel 2003