Bypass the Excel Macro Security Warning

Occasionally, I get calls from clients who don’t understand why their Excel file isn’t working. They’re clicking buttons, or selecting from drop down lists, but none of the usual magic is happening. Is the file broken?

When you open a workbook in Excel 2007, a security warning bar might appear above the worksheet, telling you that macros have been disabled.

SecurityWarning01

Unfortunately, the security bar blends into the Ribbon a little too well, and if you’ve created the workbook for someone else, they might not even notice the warning.

When I ask my clients with the broken workbooks if they see the warning, usually the answer is yes. A couple of clicks later, the file is working again. It’s annoying though, and makes smart people feel not so smart.

Bypass the Security Warning

For Excel workbooks that you know are safe to open, you can bypass the security warning by putting the files into a trusted folder. It’ll take you a minute or two to set it up, and that little bit of effort will save you countless hours and aggravation.

To set up a trusted folder:

  • Click the Office Button on the Ribbon, then click Excel Options.
  • In the list of categories, click Trust Center, then click Trust Center Settings.

TrustCentreSet

  • In the Trust Center dialog box, click Trusted Locations.
  • You can see the list of current trusted locations, and buttons to Add New Location, Remove or Modify items in the list.
  • Click the Add New Location button
  • Click Browse, select the folder that you want to trust, then click OK.
  • Your folder is now in the list of trusted locations.
  • Click OK to close the Trust Center and Excel Options dialog boxes.

Now, when you open the files from that folder, the macros will be automatically enabled. No more missed Security Warning bar, or mysteriously broken Excel files.

No Macros in the Excel Workbook

If the workbook doesn’t have macros, and you’re seeing a macro warning, you can follow the instructions here: Remove Excel Macros Security Warning.

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17 Responses

  1. Alex Kerin says:

    Thank you, prompted me to finally sort that out.

  2. Jon Peltier says:

    Modal dialogs are a pain in the neck, but they make you select something. In hindsight, enabling macros is a poor choice for a modeless warning. In response to user complaints, Microsoft has an Improved Macro Security Warning in Excel 2010, which is colored bright red, so it’s harder to miss.

  3. sam says:

    There are other ways of doing this
    1. Convert the Excel file to a Exe file
    2. Open the file via a macro

  4. Thanks Alex! I like to do this for my own files that I open frequently, and for client files where the Security bar might cause confusion.

    Sam, thanks for the tips!

  5. Frederick L Chidester Sr says:

    I therefore trust that Access warning will also work the same way and the outlined procedures will work the same? Note I did not use the word assume for good reason. In that you don’t see that warning in 2003 Excel does it still mean that a trust must be applied to that Excel version also if you are using macros on those sheets?

  6. Fred, the trust center setting seems to work the same in Access 2007 as it does in Excel 2007. It’s not available in Excel 2003 or earlier versions though.

  7. Owen Sneath says:

    Thanks! How annoying that was, and now I have quickly fixed it thanks to your advice!

  8. Joe Politi says:

    Debra,
    Cannot thank you enough for taking the time to comment this so well. You saved me the continuing agony of trying to work this out on my own. Take care, Joe

  9. Chris says:

    I have a workbook with marco (*.xlsm) written within, i need to distribute this workbook to others for use, every time the file is opened, the macro security warning pops up in excel 2010, apart from
    1) telling my users to set the overall excel macro security level
    2) telling my users to use the trusted center approach
    3) I read somewhere about creating self certificate but did not get much to work on for this approach.

    is there any other way? thanks

  10. chinmay says:

    Hi there,

    The option is not working for me.
    although I have added the location to the trusted center but i am still getting the warning message.
    Any other possible solution?

    Thanks in advance.

  11. Bobby "Rob" Crabtrey says:

    Hi Debra,

    I came upon this article while trying to resolve the same annoying problem except with a twist. I’m using Office 2011 on Mac OS X Mountain Lion. I’ve only been a Mac user a little over a year so I’m not sure where to find the trust center (if it still exists). I have a macro in an Excel spreadsheet that I use locally only and would like to avoid the security prompt when opening the document.

    Thanks,

    Rob

    • Jason Scott-Taggart says:

      Did you get an answer on this for Excel for Mac 2011? I have the same challenge and cannot find anyway to sign a workbook as trusted.

  12. Bill H says:

    Thank you. Better than Aspirin. My headache is gone.

  13. Tony says:

    This doesn’t work in office 2013, I set the trusted folder and it still nags me about how some files can be harmful to my computer even when the file is in a folder marked as “trusted”. I also disabled all other security options and still get nagged everytime I click on a hyperlink.

  14. G.S. says:

    i want to ask that a micro enabled excel file open well every time without asking security question.But when someone open a micro enabled excel file on another pc then there is a question for user to enable the macro attached to the file. i want to ask that micro enabled file should run automatically on any pc.how it can be possible please explain.

  15. sneha says:

    Hi,
    there are two radio buttons and drop down box are there.when i click on first radio button.then corresponding drop down down box should be enabled.or else other drop down box should be disabled.so how to disable drop down box.help me plzzz.
    Thanx in advance
    Sneha

  16. Danielle says:

    help, when I try to enter the trusted folder location, I get an error saying I cannot enter a remote server location as a trusted location.. any ideas?

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