How to Enable Macros in Excel Without Risks | #macos | #macsecurity | #cybersecurity | #infosecurity | #hacker


Performing tasks manually in Excel can be a pain, but thankfully, this Microsoft Office app offers quite a few features that can help you automate lengthy and boring tasks.

One such feature is Macros, which you can use to store commands related to the tasks that you perform on a regular basis. You can then run the macros to repeat the actions you want to perform. In this guide, we will be looking at this feature and ways of enabling it for usage in detail.

What Are Macros in Excel?

Excel is known for automating complicated tasks, and macros are one of the many components of Excel that take automation to the next level. You can automate repeated tasks like calculating the performance bonus of your employees at the end of each month.

However, while this may sound convenient, macros are quite risky. Running a malicious code (typically the ones that you have not created yourself) can infect your entire operating system and hard drive, leading to serious issues.

Below, we will take a look at ways to enable macros without risks. As a rule of thumb, you should only enable macros that you have reviewed thoroughly and are sure about their safety.

How to Enable Macros in Excel

In Excel, macros can be enabled for files quite easily. All that you need to do is make changes within the Trust Center of Excel.

1. Enable Macros on Windows

If you are a Windows user, here is how you can enable macros and start using them:

  1. In Excel, click File and select Options from the left pane.
  2. Choose Customize Ribbon from the left pane and checkmark the Developer option in the Main Tabs section.
  3. Once done, go back to the Excel Options dialog and choose Trust Center from the left pane.
  4. Click on Trust Center Settings.
  5. Now, choose Macro Settings and select the Enable all macros (not recommended: potentially dangerous code can run) option in the right pane.
  6. Click OK to save the changes.

If you are confused about which option to pick while enabling macros, here is a brief explanation of what all options mean:

  • Disable all macros without notification—both macros and security alerts related to them are disabled.
  • Disable all macros with notification—macros will be disabled by default, and you will be notified if any are enabled. With this feature, you have the option to enable macros in certain cases.
  • Disable all macros except digitally signed macros—only the macros that are signed by a trusted publisher will be allowed to run.
  • Enable all macros (not recommended, potentially dangerous code can run)—all macros are allowed to run, and you will not receive a security warning beforehand.

Once this is done, it is time to start recording the macro. The process is similar to using macros in Word. For that, follow these steps below:

  1. Head back to your Excel file and head over to the Developer tab.
  2. Click on Record Macro.
  3. In the following dialog, enter a name for the macro, pick a shortcut key, and select a location. Click OK to save the changes.
  4. You are now good to start recording the commands. Once all the commands are recorded, choose Stop recording.

2. Enable Macros on Mac

The process for enabling macros on Mac is slightly different from the steps we performed above. You can check out this article to enable macros in Excel on Mac.

Once you have enabled the macros on macOS, you can either manually record the macros or use a VBA code for this purpose.

How to Enable Macros for One Session

There can be instances when you have files on which you want to run a macro just for the time you are using them. If you do not need the file in the future, then you can enable macros for a single session. Here is how you can do that:

  1. In Excel, choose File from the top pane and select Info.
  2. Expand the Security Warning option and select Enable Content.
  3. Click on Advanced options.
  4. In the following dialog, click on the Enable content for this session option to enable it and hit OK.

This should enable macros for the current session successfully.

How to Enable Macros for a Specific File

If you want to enable macros for an individual file or workbook only, then using the Office Backstage view is the easiest way of doing so. Here is how you can do that:

  1. With an Excel workbook open, click on File in the top pane.
  2. Select Info in the following window.
  3. Expand the Security Warning option and select Enable All Content.

This should do the trick for you. In case you find this method complicated, you can also simply click on the yellow security warning in the workbook stating “Macros have been disabled”. Click on the Enable Content button associated with the message, and in the following dialog, click on Enable Macros.

How to Enable Macros in a Trusted Location Permanently

Another way of enabling macros that ensures safety is picking a trusted location within the operating system and manipulating Excel to trust that location only.

This means that only the files located in your selected location will launch with macros enabled already. You will also not receive a security warning while opening these files.

  1. In Excel, click File and select Options from the left pane.
  2. Select Trust Center in the following dialog.
  3. Click on Trust Center Settings.
  4. Choose Trusted Locations from the left pane and click on Add new location button on the right side of the window.
  5. In the following dialog, click on the Browse button and pick a location according to your preferences.
  6. Once you pick a location, checkmark the box associated with Subfolders of this location are also trusted.
  7. Enter a description in the text field under Description and click OK to save the changes.

Automate Hectic Tasks With Macros

Like other Excel functions, Macros might also seem intimidating to enable and use at first, but that is not the case. With the methods we have mentioned above, you can begin using them in just a few minutes!



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