How to enable Macros in Excel

If you use Microsoft Excel on a daily basis, you know that it’s a powerful tool. However, there are times that you wish that things were automated or simplified. For example, you want to do 10 tasks of copying and pasting, but all you need to do it push one button. With Macros, you can do that and more. There are a couple of hurdles though before you can start using macros because on some PCs if it is disabled. But don’t worry because I’m here to walk you through everything.

Here’s how to enable Macros in Excel. Depending on the version of your Microsoft Excel, the steps will slightly change.

How to Enable Macros in Excel 2007

If you have Microsoft Excel 2007, you can enable Macros by heading to the Trust Center to make your adjustments. First, make sure that the file that you want to edit is open. Once it’s open, here’s how to enable macros in Excel 2007:

  1. Click on the Microsoft Button. It’s the button at the upper left most corner of Microsoft Excel.
  2. A menu of options will appear. Click on Excel Options.
  3. Click on Trust Center, then click on Trust Center Settings
  4. Once the Trust Center settings appear, click on Macro Settings
  5. Here you can change the settings that you want. Basically, you can modify how Excel will handle Macros. Here is a list of the options that you can choose from.
    • Disable all macros without notification
    • Disable all macros with notification
    • Disable all macros except digitally signed macros
    • Enable all macros (not recommended, potentially dangerous code can run)
    • Trust access to the VBA project object model
  6. Once you’ve made your selection, click on OK

Enable all macros if you trust the author of the file you are opening. If you have a newer version of Excel, here’s what you need to do.

How to Enable Macros in Excel 2013 (or any New Version)

This applies to Microsoft Excel 2010, 2013 and 2016. Though the process of enabling Macros in Excel 2007 might be confusing, it’s definitely easier with the newer versions. So the questions now is how to enable Macros in Excel 2013? Here’s an outline of what you need to do:

Enable Macros when the Message Bar appears

  1. Whenever you open a foreign file with macros (specifically, .xlsm files), the file will initially be opened in Protected View. Simply click on Enable Editing.
  2. The next prompt will ask you to Enable Content. Click on the Enable Content button on this message bar to enable Macros.
  3. If you press on the X by accident, there is still another way to Enable Macros in Excel 2013.

Enable Macros in the Backstage View

  1. If the Message Bar is not showing for you, then click on File
  2. In the options that appear, find the Security Warning message and click on Enable Content
  3. Some options will appear, click on Enable All Content
  4. This will enable Content just for the session. If you close the file, you’ll have to re-enable Macros again.

Alternatively, here is another method as to how to enable macros in Excel 2013:

  1. Click on File
  2. On the Security Warning Message, click on Advanced Options
  3. The Microsoft Security Options will appear, click on Enable content for this session
  4. Click on OK

These are the simplest ways to enable Macros. However, what if you want to enable Macros all the time? Then, let’s see how you can enable macros using Trust Center settings.

Enable Macros in Trust Center

Once you have your Excel file opened, you can change the way Excel would handle macros permanently. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Click on File
  2. Click on Options
  3. On the tabs on the left, click on Trust Center
  4. In the Trust Center, click on Macro Settings
  5. If you want to Enable all Macros, then click on the corresponding option
  6. Click on OK to save

If you enable all macros, be warned that potentially dangerous code can run without your consent. This is one of the reasons that Macros are disabled, and let’s expand on this topic a little bit.

Why are Macros disabled in the first place?

Macros are disabled because they can do a lot of actions in your Excel file. Some of those actions might not be things that you want happening. Since Macros run Visual Basic in the background, it can do tasks within the Excel file and even outside of Microsoft Excel. There are Macros that don’t need any input to start running, and some Macros in Excel run upon opening the file.

As I’ve said earlier, potentially dangerous code can run without your consent and might possibly damage the file or your computer. Adjust your settings using the steps above if you’re unsure with Macros.

The rule of thumb is, if you don’t trust the source, don’t enable Macros.

In Brief

Macros are a big help when using Microsoft Excel and they can simplify a lot of processes that you normally do. How to enable Macros in Excel is pretty easy especially for the newer versions because all you need to do is to Enable content. Using macros in Excel is awesome, but there are things that you have to keep in mind.

Firstly, make sure that when enabling macros that you absolutely trust the person that made the Excel file. There might be malicious code hiding in the macros that might disrupt your file. If you receive multiple files from outside sources and you don’t trust each person that sends it to you, just enable macros per instance. However, if you’re in an office environment, then it might pay off to know how to enable macros in Excel.

Whichever settings you choose, enjoy the power of macros. I personally use them a lot, and it’s knowledge that you might want to include in your repertoire. However, note that if you import your file into Google Sheets, the macros will not be imported. You have to manually re-enter them within Google Sheets.

Did this article help you? Let me know in the comments.

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