Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Attaching Macros to Documents.

Attaching Macros to Documents

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 29, 2014)

If you teach other people how to use Word, it is not unusual to prepare sample documents that your students can use while learning. If you need to teach them how to work with macros, you may even attach some sample macros to the documents you prepare for them. This is easy enough to do, but making it so your students can utilize the macros in the documents may not be so easy.

When the student opens your sample document (with sample macros attached), he or she may see a message indicating that the macros have been disabled. This behavior is normal for Word, and there is no way to disable it from within the macro or the document itself. The behavior is controlled by the security settings on the student's machine. Your student can check these settings in this manner:

  1. Choose Macro from the Tools menu. Word displays a submenu.
  2. Choose Security from the submenu. Word displays the Security dialog box.
  3. Make sure the Security Level tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Security Level tab of the Security dialog box.

Notice that there are three or four possible settings on the tab depending on your version of Word: Low, Medium, High, and Very High. If High or Very High are selected, then any macros attached to a document are automatically disabled, and your students won't be able to use your sample macros. The solution, then, is for your students to choose either the Medium or Low setting. The problem with choosing these lower settings, of course, is that there is a greater risk that the student could inadvertently load a document that contains malicious macro code. (Not your sample document, of course, but perhaps from a downloaded document or a friend's document.)

In some networked environments that have strong security measures in place, the student may not be able to change the security settings in Word. Instead, your network administrator may need to make the changes. This could take some negotiation on your part, as instructor, to see if you can get the settings changed.

Another possible solution is to place your sample macros in a template that is accessible to all the students through a network folder. Once in the template, then your students can create a document based on that template, and the macros should be available.

Perhaps the best solution, however, is to find a way to digitally sign your macros so that they are "trusted." If Word believes that macros are from a trusted source, it will load them automatically, even if the student has their security setting on High. Information on how to do this is quite involved. A good place to start looking for information is in the Word online Help system. Do a search for "Security Levels in Word."

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (578) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Attaching Macros to Documents.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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