Some Office files, templates, or add-ins can be abused to harm your computer. After installing the April 2021 security update for Microsoft Office, some Office files, templates, or add-ins (even ones originally obtained from Microsoft) may display a notification message and macros, or add-ins, in those files will be disabled.

If you close the notification, or select the Disable button, you'll be able to view or edit the file normally, but the add-ins or macros won't work.

Note: If you have a Word or Excel file that has macros in it, but you no longer need those macros, you can simply do a File > Save as and save the file as a normal Word (.DOCX) or Excel (.XLSX) file, which don't support macros.

How can I re-enable the macros or add-ins?

Step 1 - Check your updates

This issue primarily affects older versions of the add-ins so the first step is to make sure you're current on your Microsoft Office updates. New, supported, versions of the add-ins are being released.

For more information on updating Office see Install Office updates.

After you've installed the latest updates, try opening your file again. If the notification now displays an Enable button then you're all set!

Step 2 - (If necessary) Update the registry

If you're still seeing the dialog after installing the latest updates you'll need to add one or two values to your Windows registry for each product you need to reenable on.

Caution:  Incorrectly editing the registry might severely damage your system. Before making changes to the registry, you should back up any valued data on the computer.

1. Open the Registry editor 

To open Registry Editor, click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.

2. Back up your registry

Before making any changes to the registry it's always best practice to make a backup of your current registry. Select File > Export and create an export file of your registry. Set the export range to All and give it a name like that makes sense to you such as "Registry backup".

For more information see: How to back up and restore the registry in Windows.

3. Navigate to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\<version>\<appname>\Security

Replace <version> with the version of Office you have:

  • 16.0 for Office 2016, 2019, or 365

  • 15.0 for Office 2013

Replace <appname> with the name of the app you're updating:

  • Word

  • Excel

  • PowerPoint

  • MS Project

  • Visio

  • Publisher

  • Outlook

  • Access

3. Add the new value

Select Edit > New > DWORD (32-bit) Value to create the value.

Name the key: SkipSignatureCheckForUnsafeVBA

Select Edit > Modify and set the Value data to 1.

4. (For Word and Excel) Add an additional value

Repeat step 3 and add another value.

  • For Word this one is named SkipSignatureCheckForUnsafeWLL

  • For Excel it's SkipSignatureCheckForUnsafeXLL

Once again set the Value data to 1. 

5. Exit Registry Editor

6. Make sure your file is in a trusted location

Only files in a trusted location can have their content re-enabled. You should only do this if you trust the source of the file.

To see, modify, or add to the list of trusted locations on your PC go to File > Options > Trust Center > Trust Center settings > Trusted Locations.

The next time you open a file that has an affected VBA macro or add-in you should see that the notification prompt includes an Enable button. Select that to enable your active content and edit the file.

Step 1 - Check your updates

This issue primarily affects older versions of the add-ins so the first step is to make sure you're current on your Microsoft Office updates. New, supported, versions of the add-ins are being released.

For more information on updating Office see Install Office updates.

After you've installed the latest updates, try opening your file again. If the notification now displays an Enable button then you're all set!

Step 2 - (If necessary) Update the registry

Once you have the newer version of the add-in installed you'll need to add one or two values to your Windows registry for each product you need to reenable on.

Caution:  Incorrectly editing the registry might severely damage your system. Before making changes to the registry, you should back up any valued data on the computer.

1. Open the Registry editor 

To open Registry Editor, click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.

2. Back up your registry

Before making any changes to the registry it's always best practice to make a backup of your current registry. Select File > Export and create an export file of your registry. Set the export range to All and give it a name like that makes sense to you such as "Registry backup".

For more information see: How to back up and restore the registry in Windows.

3. Navigate to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\14.0\<appname>\Security

Replace <appname> with the name of the app you're updating:

  • Word

  • Excel

  • PowerPoint

  • MS Project

  • Visio

  • Publisher

  • Outlook

  • Access

3. Add the new value

Select Edit > New > DWORD (32-bit) Value to create the value.

Name the key: SkipSignatureCheckForUnsafeVBA

Select Edit > Modify and

  • To enable updated VBA macros obtained from Microsoft set the Value data to 1.

  • To enable updated VBA macros from all sources (not recommended) set the Value data to 2.

4. (For Word and Excel) Add an additional value

Repeat step 3 and add another value.

  • For Word this one is named SkipSignatureCheckForUnsafeWLL

  • For Excel it's SkipSignatureCheckForUnsafeXLL

Once again select Edit > Modify and 

  • To enable updated add-ins obtained from Microsoft set the Value data to 1.

  • To enable updated add-insfrom all sources (not recommended) set the Value data to 2.

5. Exit Registry Editor

6. Make sure your file is in a trusted location

Only files in a trusted location can have their content re-enabled. You should only do this if you trust the source of the file.

To see, modify, or add to the list of trusted locations on your PC go to File > Options > Trust Center > Trust Center settings > Trusted Locations.

The next time you open a file that has an affected VBA macro or add-in you should see that the notification prompt includes an Enable button. Select that to enable your active content and edit the file.

Can I suppress the notification?

Once you've updated and, if necessary, added the registry entries, you will still get the security notification asking you to confirm the active content.  The difference is that now it has an Enable button.

If you trust the source of the files you are trying to enable, and want to suppress that notification entirely, you can add a registry key that hides the prompt.

1. Open the Registry editor 

To open Registry Editor, click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.

Caution:  Incorrectly editing the registry might severely damage your system. Before making changes to the registry, you should back up any valued data on the computer.

2. Back up your registry

Before making any changes to the registry it's always best practice to make a backup of your current registry. Select File > Export and create an export file of your registry. Set the export range to All and give it a name like that makes sense to you such as "Registry backup".

For more information see: How to back up and restore the registry in Windows.

3. Navigate to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\<version>\Common\Security

Replace <version> with the version of Office you have:

  • 16.0 for Office 2016, 2019, or 365

  • 15.0 for Office 2013

  • 14.0 for Office 2010

4. Add a new value

Select Edit > New > DWORD (32-bit) Value to create the value.

Name the key: AutoConsentSkipSignatureCheckForUnsafeContent

Select Edit > Modify and set the Value data to 1.

Exit the Registry Editor and you should be all set.

See also

Add, remove, or change a trusted location

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