Join Maria Langer for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding macro security, part of Word for Mac 2011 Essential Training.
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Unfortunately the ability to include macros, which are programs within Word documents, also introduces the security issue. Bad guys can use Word's macro feature to write and deliver malicious software. These so-called Word macro viruses can create quite a nuisance for people who don't realize their computers are infected. Fortunately, Word offers a way to screen Word documents for macro code and deal with it. That's the Macro Security option. If you go under the Word menu and choose Preferences or press Command+Comma, you can click the Security button.
This is the option I'm talking about. With this checkbox turned on, Word will automatically warn you if you attempt to open any document, not just the current one, containing a macro. Let's try it out and see. I'm going to click OK here, I'm going to close this window, and I'm going to open up this document here. The file contains a macro so Word is offering three options. Enable Macros lets you open the file and use the macros. You would select this option if this is a document from a trusted source or maybe one of your own documents.
Do Not Open does not open the document at all. Select this option if you have serious concerns about the safety of the document. Disable Macros opens the document, but it disables the macros. This makes it possible for you to see the document's contents, but not have to worry about macro virus infections. Use this option if you don't trust the document source or you don't need the macros. Now it's unfortunate that we have to worry about things like this, but that's the way the world is these days.
The Macro Security feature will help protect your computer from Word macro viruses. My advice is to keep it enabled all the time.
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