Enable macros in workbooks received from the internet

How to solve the error “SECURITY RISK: Microsoft has blocked macros from running because the source of this file is untrusted”.


This tip helps you solve the new stricter restriction on macros, which can disable some workbooks.

The Quick Tip shows how to enable macros in files from the internet.

The Bonus Tip helps you troubleshoot different kinds of macro restrictions files from on untrusted sources.

With the Expert Tip you can adjust admin settings to get your files working again.

We hope you find these tips useful.

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Quick Tip

How to enable macros in files from the internet

There’s a new security feature in Microsoft Office, but it has some problems:

  1. It can easily restrict files that you want to use and are not harmful; and
  2. It no longer gives you an easy way to click a button and enable macros in those files.

This more strict feature can now disable macros in files you got from the internet, using what has been called the “Mark Of The Web”.

But what is that, and how do you fix it?

Read on to find out how to enable macros in these files.

New security restrictions

One of the most common security warnings relating to opening files containing macros gave you an option to click “Enable Content” if you trusted the file.

Security warning with "Enable content" button
Security warning with “Enable Content” button

Now, this is being replaced with a new error that disables macros in some files without giving you the option to decide to enable them.

The new error looks like this:

Security risk error with no option to enable content
Security risk error with no option to enable content

Don’t worry, though; you can still enable macros in these files, you just need to use a different method (described below).

There are several types of security restrictions in Excel for files with macros in them, on the basis that some macros can be potentially harmful or malicious. The behavior of these restrictions is influenced by your settings and your organization’s settings.

Remove the “Mark Of The Web”

Files you get from the internet (including as email attachments) can now be given the “Mark Of The Web” which can be used by Excel to refuse to enable macros in those files.

Here’s how to find and remove the “Mark Of The Web” from an Excel file (according to Microsoft’s instructions):

Time needed: 1 minute.

Here’s how to find and remove the “Mark Of The Web” from an Excel file (according to Microsoft’s instructions):

  1. Save the file somewhere so that you can access its properties

    Save the file to a local hard drive, network share, or cloud share like OneDrive.

  2. Locate the saved file

    Open Windows File Explorer and go to the folder where you saved the file.

  3. Open the file properties in Windows

    Right-click the file and choose Properties from the context menu.

  4. Click “Unblock” to remove the Mark Of The Web.

    At the bottom of the General tab, you should see a section for Security. Select the Unblock checkbox and select OK.

You should now be able to open the file in Excel as normal without seeing the security risk error message.

If you still can’t open the file, your organization’s administrative settings may be preventing you from opening the file anyway. In this case, these new security restrictions are unlikely to affect you if you were already prevented from enabling macros in these files.


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