Macro security in Office 2002 and Office 2007

I have Microsoft Office 2002 at home, and Microsoft Office 2007 at work, and I’ve noticed the same annoying thing in both of them. I can write a macro in either version of Word, and I have no problem opening Word, or using the macro. But in Excel, the system panics because the macro might be evil. Please note that these are macros that I wrote myself, not ones that got imported or installed (though I can see how the software might not know the difference).

Specifically, it warns me that macros have been disabled, and the only way I can get the macro to run is by either allowing the macros every time I open Excel, or by lowering my security to a dangerous level which allows ALL macros. There’s also some technospeak about getting a Security Certificate, but only vague instructions on how to do that; it seems to involve outside companies like VeriSign.

I am surprised that I should be required to work with a third party in order to use a native feature of MS Office. I’m also surprised that the security is so tight in Excel, but so lacking in Word – can’t the malicious code be run in either version? Why is Microsoft so worried about one and not the other?

I note that the different versions are Word and Excel, not between Office 2002 and 2007. You can’t tell me that the change was put into one on a test basis, because each is still the same five years later.

So my two questions are these:[ul]
[li]Is there some reasonable explanation why Word and Excel are so different?[/li][li]Is there a simple way to change Excel to be like Word, so that I don’t have to explicitly allow the macros every single time I open Excel - without lowering my general security level?[/li][/ul]

I don’t really have an answer to your first question.

The answer to your second question is to get a security certificate. To register a security certificate involves outside parties–this is so that other people, on seeing your files, can be assured that you are who you say you are. Registration isn’t necessary for just using these files yourself. Creating a certificate is simple–launch the program called ‘Digital Certificate for VBA Projects’. This is usually in an Office Tools folder. The steps to create the certificate couldn’t be simpler. Then from within a VBA project, Choose Tools/Digital Signature, and then choose the signature you created.

Each Office Application has a way to enable/disable macro virus protection, which is was causes you to see this alert. Sounds like it was disabled for Word but not XL.

In 2007, go to the Options from within the App, then Trust Center Settings, and uncheck “Disable all macros with notification.”