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Security in Microsoft Office 2010

Security in Microsoft Office 2010

Microsoft Office 2010 has new security features that put you in control. You will also see far fewer pop-up windows and other messages than you did in previous versions of Office.

Message Bar increases security and privacy

The Office 2010 Message Bar alerts you to possible threats from active content. Active content in Office 2010 includes:

  • ActiveX controls

  • Add-ins

  • Data connections

  • Macros

  • Spreadsheet links

Cybercriminals use active content to launch viruses, worms, and other malicious software. Once activated, these viruses can steal data, damage your computer or network, or use your computer for illegal activities without your knowledge or consent.

Active content from a trusted source can be useful with many Office programs. The Message Bar displays a warning when you try to open a file that contains active content, and then lets you decide if the source is trustworthy.

If you know that you can trust the file, or the file's sender, click Enable Content.

If you know that you can trust the file, or the file's sender, click Enable Content.

Protected View lets you view potentially dangerous files more safely

The Protected View Message Bar appears when there are potentially serious threats in a file that arrived by email, was downloaded from the Internet, or originated from other locations that are considered unsafe.

When a file is in Protected View, most features are unavailable and grayed out. Use the View tab to read the file and make sure it is the one you are expecting.

Click Enable Editing to exit Protected View.

Click Enable Editing to exit Protected View.

If you know who sent you the file, click Enable Editing on the Message Bar or in Backstage view, a new feature in Office 2010 that presents all your document-management choices in one area.

Click the File tab, then Enable Editing in the Backstage view.

Click the File tab, then Enable Editing in the Backstage view.

If you do not see the Enable Editing button, and the red Protected View Message Bar appears, there could be more risks if you exit Protected View. If you know the sender of the file is reliable, click the File tab, and then click Edit Anyway in Backstage view.

The red Protected View Message Bar with no Enable Editing button.

The red Protected View Message Bar with no Enable Editing button.

Click the file tab and in Backstage View click Edit Anyway

The red Protected View Message Bar with no Enable Editing button.

Sometimes you can't exit Protected View and the Edit Anyway button is grayed out. Your administrator might have set up rules to prevent you from exiting Protected View under certain circumstances. If your computer is administered by someone else, contact that person if you can’t exit Protected View.

If you don't want to use Protected View, you can turn it off. To watch a tutorial about how to do this, go to Turning off Protected View.

File Block helps prevent outdated file types from opening

Files that were created with previous versions of Office programs are more likely to contain viruses and other malicious content. File Block prevents you from opening these older files. But like most features in Office 2010, you can shut off the feature, change it, or turn it on again. For more information, see What Is File Block?

Data Execution Prevention (DEP) helps protect against bad code

Add-ins are applications that create optional commands in your installed programs. Data Execution Prevention (DEP) is a new security feature of Office 2010 that causes your program to stop when add-in code doesn’t meet certain criteria. When you restart the program, a message alerts you to the potentially dangerous add-in. DEP helps protect your computer and network from accidental bad code, or code with malicious intent. For more information, see Data Execution Prevention.

Turn on or off your security and privacy features

As with previous versions of Office, you can go to the Trust Center to view, change, turn on, or turn off most security and privacy features. For more information see, View my options and settings in the Trust Center or watch the video What Is the Trust Center?