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Lean Tools, Training, and Systems

Excel Macros

What's an Excel macro?

Excel macros are Visual Basic programs that software developers (like Systems2win) and power users (perhaps your team leader) use to greatly extend the functionality of Microsoft Excel

Excel templates

How do you know if a workbook has macros?

1. When you open the file, you might see this 'Security Warning' dialog

2. The file extension will NOT be .xlsx

(It might be .xlsm, xlsb, or .xls. Learn more)

Security Warning dialog


To use any Excel workbook that contains any macros,

there are a few things that you need to know...

How to set up your computer

to allow you to enable macros

1) Macro Settings

Assuming that the licensed or trial Systems2win Add-in has been installed on your computer...

Excel > File or Office Button > Options > Trust Center > Trust Center Settings button > Macro Settings
Select Disable All Macros With Notification.

These changes will take effect when you restart Excel. (after setting up your Trusted Locations)


2) Trusted Locations

You will want to define at least 1 folder as a Trusted Location,

and most users will want to mark as Trusted Locations ALL of the most popular folder(s) where you store most working documents that you create from your Systems2win templates.


  1. To avoid the Security Warning dialogs explained in the next section
  2. To avoid the Protected View security warning


Excel > File or Office button > Options > Trust Center >
Trust Center Settings button > Trusted Locations

Add New Location

If anything is confusing, watch the brief training video.

These changes will take effect when you restart Excel.

Video Help

Video: How to set up
Trusted Locations

If you are using Firefox

You should change your browser settings to ask you where to save files.

(rather than just saving them in your default Downloads folders, which should NOT be defined as a Trusted Location)

Firefox: Tools > Options General Tab > Downloads > Always ask me where to save files

Internet Explorer and Google Chrome will always ask you where you want to save your downloads.
No extra setup is required.

When you have finished setting up your computer
for Macro Settings and Trusted Locations

Complete the Final Test to complete your installation.

Never save a macro-enabled workbook as xlsx

When Excel asks you to choose a file format, you can choose:

  • Macro-Enabled Workbook (.xlsm)
  • Binary Workbook (.xlsb)
  • 97-2003 Workbook (.xls)

But do NOT choose the default Excel Workbook (.xlsx) — which will strip all macros!

Learn more.

Do NOT choose .xlsx


How to enable macros in a workbook
that is not a Trusted document...

and your computer has already been set up with the Disable All Macros With Notification setting...
(as recommended above)

In the Security Warning bar, click the button to Enable Content

2010 Security Warning


If the Security Warning bar fails to appear, right-click anywhere on the ribbon menu bar, then uncheck minimize the Ribbon
(as illustrated below)

Minimize Ribbon
2007 Security Warning


If you see this dialog, it means one of 2 things...

Enable Macros dialog

Dialog: Macros must be enabled
to use Systems2win templates.

1) You need to enable macros

(as taught above)


2) You saved your file without macros

Excel > File or Office button > Save As you can save your file in any file format

EXCEPT FOR the default file format (.xlsx),
which strips all macros

To recover your data from from a file saved without macros...

Copy and paste your data from your ruined file to a fresh template

More troubleshooting in the Installation Setup FAQ's

If Excel asks you to manually enable each macro...

When opening an Excel file...
If it asks you to manually enable each macro...

then someone must have changed the follow default settings, which will need to be changed back to the way Excel is usually delivered...

Excel > File > Options > Trust Center > Trust Center Settings button > Addins > all checkboxes must be unchecked

Trust Center Addin Settings