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Microsoft Excel 2003 Security and Privacy

Adjust Excel 2003's Macro Security Level

Summary: Help protect your computer by disabling potentially damaging Excel 2003 macros.

Microsoft Excel 2003 spreadsheets can contain macros, or scripts, to perform various automated functions. While many macros are useful and harmless, some malicious macros, called macro viruses, can destroy data or otherwise damage your machine. For this reason, many people decide to disable macros altogether or turn security up so that macros can only be run from documents written by trusted publishers. However, turning up the security may disable legitimate macros, so changing the security level is a personal decision. You may also want to change this setting before you open documents from different sources.

1. Click "Tools" - "Options".

2. When the "Options" multi-tabbed dialog box appears, click the "Security" tab.

3. Click "Macro Security".

4. When the "Security" multi-tabbed dialog box appears, select the "Security level" tab.

5. Here, you can decide the macro security level.

* "Low" is definitely not recommended unless you have a virus scanner running and are 100% certain of a document's authenticity.

* "Medium" lets macros run, but if Excel 2003 determines them to possibly have unsafe code, you will be prompted. Note that Excel 2003 may not always detect unsafe code.

* "High" only lets macros from trusted sources run. You can click the "Trusted Publishers" tab to view the list of such sources.

* "Very High" only lets macros run from trusted locations and from trusted sources.

To add a macro publisher to the "Trusted" list, set the macro protection to "Medium" or "High". Load a file containing macros you wish to run. You will then be prompted to add the publisher to the trusted list. Note that macros must be digitally signed by a publisher or this option will not appear.

No matter what you choose, you should still run and keep updated a virus scanner that supports the detection and cleaning of macro viruses.

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Last Modified on: July 13, 2008, at 12:04 A.M. EDT

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