Microsoft still plans to block Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) macros in Office apps by default. The software giant rolled back planned changes last week, much to the surprise of IT administrators who had prepared 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 set to go live in June before Microsoft suddenly unblocked it on June 30.
“Following user feedback, we have temporarily reverted this change while making some additional changes to improve 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 given any details on the changes it plans to make to improve usability, but the company originally planned to force Office users to enable the macros by specifically setting an unblock option in a file’s properties. to tick. Those extra steps require user training, and it seems that Microsoft is responding to feedback to potentially make it a little easier to enable macros on trusted files.
Currently, Office users can simply press an enable button in a banner at the top of files. Microsoft 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 regularly targeted Office documents with malicious macros for years, so many users will be happy to hear that Microsoft still blocks macros by default.