Changing macro security settings in Office XP

Power User Corner

By Paul Cornell

When you attempt to run a macro in Microsoft Office XP, the macro may not run automatically. Instead you may see a message stating that macros in the project are disabled. You may be able to solve this problem by changing the security settings of your Office XP program.

Applies to
Microsoft Office XP

The security settings are defined as follows:

  • The High macro security setting means that only macros with digital signatures will be allowed to run. Unsigned macros are automatically disabled. By default, all Office XP programs are installed with their macro security level set to High.
  • The Medium setting means that the Office XP program prompts you as to whether to run potentially unsafe macros.
  • The Low setting means you are not protected from potentially unsafe macros. Setting the macro security level to Low is not recommended.

To change Office XP macro security settings

  1. On the Tools menu, point to Macro, and click Security. The Security dialog box appears.
  2. Click the Security tab.
  3. Click the Medium option.
  4. Quit and then restart the Office XP program, and try running the macro. The disabled macros message should not appear, and you should be able to run the macro normally.

 Note   To ensure that macro security levels remain set to High throughout an organization, network administrators may set system policies to lock in macro security levels for each Office XP program. If you cannot change the macro security level to Medium or Low, check with your network administrator.

Troubleshooting Office XP macro security settings

If you are able to change your macro security level to Medium but still see the disabled macros message after restarting the Office XP program, follow these steps to make sure there are no Office XP programs running in the background:

  1. On the Start menu, click Run. In the Open box, type taskmgr and then click OK. (If there is no Run command on the Start menu, press CTRL+ALT+DEL.) The Windows Task Manager window appears.
  2. Click the Applications tab. For each Office XP program listed, click the name of the program and then click End Task.
  3. Click the Processes tab. For each Office XP program listed, click the name of the program and then click End Process.
  4. On the File menu, click Exit Task Manager.
  5. Restart the Office XP program you want to use and try running the macro. The disabled macros message should not appear, and you should be able to run the macro normally.

About the author

Paul Cornell works for the Office Help team. In addition to writing the Office Power User Corner column, Paul writes the Office Talk column on the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN). He is the author of the book Accessing and Analyzing Data with Microsoft Excel.

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