In this tutorial, you’re going to learn how to enable Macros in Excel 2010. We assume you have a basic working knowledge of Excel. If not, we strongly recommend you first try out a beginners course to understand and use Excel. It’s pretty easy and simple to learn.
The process is a little different in Excel 2007 and 2013, but you’ll be looking essentially in the same place. Macros are disabled by the developers for a reason- they can contain embedded viruses that harm your computer. This is especially true if you download spreadsheets or templates from the Internet, or if you work in a large company where you exchange a lot of spreadsheets on a regular basis.
However, macros are also very useful and they can automate several tasks, so we can’t avoid them altogether when using Excel. It’s usually worth your while to enable macros.
What are macros? Macros can record and then emulate any operation you perform; they will follow your steps exactly until the recording is finished. You can see why macros are so useful, right?
How to Enable Macros in Excel 2010
To enable macros in Excel 2010, first click on the File tab at the top, next to the Home tab:
Next, click on the Options selection below the Help button:
A new window will pop up. This is the Excel Options window, where you can tinker with everything. You need to click the Trust Center button, which is the final button on the list:
A new window will pop up. This is general security tweaking menu. You can get tips on how to protect your spreadsheets here, and you can view the Microsoft privacy statement. To continue with disabling macros, you click on the Trust Center Settings option. The Trust Center control panel will pop up. Check for the Macro Settings option. It should be somewhere in between:
Your Macros should be disabled by default. You can choose to enable all digitally signed macros (macros that come from trusted sources) or you can enable all macros from all sources. The latter option may make your computer very vulnerable to viruses, so it’s not recommended (unless you know what you’re doing). And finally, you can enable developer macro settings if you want to. This setting isn’t relevant to all users, of course- only tick if you’re a programmer working with Visual Basic.
Here’s a brief explanation of all options:
Disable all macros without notification: Select this option if you’re not going to be using macros at all, or if you don’t trust your macro sources. Macros and security alerts about macros will be disabled. No macros in Excel will be allowed to run. However, if you do have a few trusted documents that you want to use macros with, you can do so with a workaround- which we will discuss later.
Disable all macros with notification: This is the default option. Your macros will be disabled and if a spreadsheet contains macros, a security ribbon will appear to warn you about it. You can either ignore the security warning or enable macros by clicking the security button. This is the setting you want to have if you are going to choose which spreadsheets to enable macros in.
Disable all macros except digitally signed macros: You can select this option if you regularly get documents from a trusted publisher (like your office). This is the same as the “disable all macros with notification” setting, save for the fact that the macros in a spreadsheet from a publisher you’ve specified as trusted will run without prompting.
Enable all macros: All macros will run, regardless of their source. Choose this setting if you work with a lot of spreadsheets and you don’t want to waste time enabling macros on a case to case basis. You will be exposing your computer to viruses if you select this option- but if you have decent anti-virus software installed, it will probably be able to catch any malicious code.
Workaround for the Disable All Macros without Notification setting:
The most security conscious setting is the “disable all macros without notification” setting. If you choose that but there are still some documents you want to run macros in, you can do so by placing your documents in a Trusted Location.
What is a Trusted Location? By default, Microsoft Office (2007 and above) has a trusted section that is automatically created when it’s installed. Files that are placed in this section are not checked by the Trust Center when they are opened. If you put a file in a Trusted Location, it will run with all features enabled, regardless of your security settings. The default Trusted Locations are:
C:\ Program Files\Microsoft Office\ Templates
C:\ Program Files\Microsoft Office\ Office12\ Startup
C:\ Program Files\ Microsoft Office\ Office12\ Library
C:\ Program Files\ Microsoft Office\ Office12\ XLSTART
C:\Users\Administrator\ AppData\ Roaming\ Microsoft\ Templates\
The names of the folders (and the path in general) may vary slightly on your PC. There may be a couple more Trusted Locations as well.
If you place your spreadsheet in any of these folders, the security check will be skipped.
Choosing a Custom Trusted Location
You can add a custom Trusted Location by following these steps:
Open the Trust Center (File> Options > Trust Center) and click on Trusted Locations:
Click on the Add new location button at the bottom:
You can specify the folder path here. You can also specify whether you want the subfolders of the folder to be trusted as well.
In the Trusted Locations menu, you can view existing Trusted Locations. You can also modify and remove them.
If you are a home user, you don’t really need to worry about security and getting hacked. If you’re still worried about the security of your files, you may want to create a custom Trusted Location and remove all other default Trusted Locations. That way, a hacker won’t know which folder to target. Alternatively, for maximum security (and if you’re absolutely sure about not wanting to run Macros on your PC) you can disable Trusted Locations on your PC by selecting the “Disable all Trusted Locations” setting.