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Microsoft still plans to block Office macros by default after temporary rollback

Microsoft says it’s fully committed to making the change

Microsoft is still planning to block Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) macros by default in Office apps. The software giant rolled back planned changes last week, surprising IT admins who had been preparing for Microsoft to prevent Office users from easily enabling macros in Office files downloaded from the internet. The change, designed to improve security in Office, was supposed to go live in June before Microsoft suddenly reverted the block on June 30th.

“Following user feedback, we have rolled back this change temporarily while we make some additional changes to enhance usability,” explains Kellie Eickmeyer, principal product manager at Microsoft, in a blog post update. “This is a temporary change, and we are fully committed to making the default change for all users.”

Microsoft hasn’t detailed the changes it plans to make to improve usability, but the company had originally planned to force Office users to enable the macros by specifically ticking an unblock option in the properties of a file. Those extra steps will require user training, and it looks like Microsoft is reacting to feedback to potentially make it a little easier to enable macros on trusted files.

Currently, Office users can simply hit an enable button inside a banner at the top of files. Microsoft had planned to block this functionality and send Office users to a support website with instructions on how to enable macros on a per-file basis. Hackers have been regularly targeting Office documents with malicious macros for years, so many users will be happy to hear Microsoft is still committed to blocking macros by default.

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