What happened now? Microsoft had been planning to block macros in downloaded Office files as a security measure for several months, but it continually ran into roadblocks in the process. The company confirmed its plans this week, better communicating what it’s doing and what users should be doing in return.
Starting next week, Microsoft Office will block macros in files downloaded from the Internet by default, “reversing the deletion” made by Microsoft earlier this month. The new policy will apply from July 27 as a security measure, but the company will make every effort this week to explain its decision.
Macros are useful because they can automate certain processes in Office applications. However, macros in online files can be vectors for malware and ransomware. Microsoft started blocking them in untrusted files in February, but unblocked them in early June without warning.
The rep said the cancellation was due to feedback, leading some to speculate that Microsoft gave in to users who complained not knowing why their macros stopped working. This week the company published documentation announcing the restoration of the default lock and explaining in detail why.
In addition to a detailed explanation of who will be affected (everyone who uses Word, Access, Excel, PowerPoint, and Visio on Windows), Microsoft includes instructions to prepare for the change and only enable macros in trusted files.
Users can already activate this security measure, possibility macro blocking policy. Users and businesses can unlock macros in a variety of ways, such as changing the properties of a file, designating network locations as trusted, using PowerShell, or removing the “Internet Badge” from a file. Microsoft explains how to do this for files from the web, OneDrive files, SharePoint files, and files on local networks.