Excel 2010 Runs Macros Without Enabling

In the old days, if you opened a file that contained macros, a warning message popped up on the screen. Here is the message from Excel 2003, giving me the option to Enable Macros or Disable Macros.


Of course, you only saw that warning if you had your security level set to Medium, which allowed you to choose whether or not to run macros.


Security Bar in Excel 2007

Things changed in Excel 2007, and there was a security bar, instead of a popup warning. This caused problems, because many people didn’t notice the bar, and complained that their files were broken, because the macros didn’t run.


When you clicked the Options button in the security bar, another message box appeared, where you could enable macros.


It took two clicks to get started in a file with macros, but things worked, once you were familiar with the new security bar.

Security Bar in Excel 2010

Things changed again in Excel 2010, with different wording in the security bar. In this version it warns that macros have been disabled, and there is a button – “Enable Content”. That made it easier to get to work – there’s one click instead of two.


It took me a while to notice (okay, two years, but who’s counting?), but there is another change in the security settings.

When you click that button to enable the content, your file becomes a Trusted Document.

  • You won’t see that security warning again, unless you move the file, or rename it.
  • The file will open with macros enabled, even if you change your macro settings to “Disable all macros without notification”.

Turning Off Trusted Documents

Occasionally, I’ll put files in a Trusted Location, so they’ll open with macros enabled, and no security warning. There’s a list in the Trust Center, where you can see the existing locations, and add or remove locations.


I looked for a similar list of Trusted Documents, but there isn’t one in the Trust Center. Apparently it’s stored in the registry, and I don’t want to poke around in there, unless it’s an emergency.

Unfortunately, with Trusted Documents, it’s all or nothing. In the screen shot below, you can see the Trust Center settings for Trusted Documents – no list, just a couple of check boxes and a button.

  • If you don’t want a specific file to become trusted automatically, you’ll have to disable the Trusted Documents feature, so nothing is trusted automatically.
  • You can’t remove a specific file from the Trusted Documents list, you’ll have to clear all the Trusted Documents from the list.


My Settings

Since it’s all or nothing for Trusted Documents, I’ve decided to go with nothing. If I can’t manage the list, I’d rather not have a list.

  • I added a check mark to “Disable Trusted Documents”, and clicked the button to clear all the Trusted Documents.
  • If I want a file to open with no security warnings, I’ll put it in a Trusted Locations folder.

Am I the last person to notice this “feature” of Trusted Documents? Do you use them, or have them disabled?