Problem with Add-on Macros

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 8, 2013)

There are dozens (if not hundreds) of add-ons available for Word. Many of them make changes to your toolbars and menus so that whatever features they enable are readily accessible from within Word itself. These changes, more often than not, are implemented through macros that automatically execute when you first run Word.

There is a downside to this, of course. Word, when it starts, will ask if you want to enable macros, depending on your security settings. If you know that your add-on contains the only macros installed, then you have no problem—you can simply enable them. How do you know, however, that some other macros haven't infected your system and you would be enabling them when you only want the add-on enabled? This is, indeed, a perplexing problem.

Depending on your comfort level and your knowledge about what is installed on your system, you may choose to simply not use add-ons. For some people this may seem like a harsh choice, but it is nonetheless a viable choice. If you have already installed some add-ons, then you may need to remove them. If the add-on didn't include an "uninstall" option to get rid of the Word modifications, then you should jump up and down and scream at the vendor—good software should always include a way to do an uninstall.

If the software doesn't have an uninstall option, however, you can generally remove the effects by remembering where macros are stored—in templates. If you delete the templates, the macros are also deleted. If you feel comfortable with the process, you can also open the questionable templates and simply remove the macros using the VBA Editor. If this still doesn't get rid of the macros, then you should also check the Startup folder to make sure there are no documents being loaded from there. You can find the location of the Startup folder in this manner:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. Word displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the File Locations tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The File Locations tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. In the list of File Types, choose Startup.
  5. Click on Modify.

The resulting dialog box indicates the location of the Startup folder being used by Word. You can close the dialog boxes and exit Word, and then examine the contents of the folder using Windows. If you see documents or files you don't recognize, then move them to a different folder. Now they will not be loaded when Word starts, and you may remove your problem.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1598) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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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