Managing Protected View in Microsoft Excel

At this point you may experience unwanted prompts to enable macros, update workbook links, or refresh data connections within workbooks that you use frequently. You can suppress these prompts on a case by case basis, as shown in Figure 6.

  1. Do not click the Enable Content button when a message bar prompt concerning macros, workbook links, or data connections appears.
  2. Instead click Excel’s File menu.
  3. Select the Info tab that will contain a second Enable Content prompt.
  4. Click on Enable Content.
  5. Choose Enable All Content from the Enable Content prompt. In most cases this command will parenthetically say “Make this a trusted document.”
Microsoft Excel Protected View

Figure 6: Mark a document as trusted to suppress unwanted prompts concerning macros, workbook links, or data connections.

Once you mark a document as trusted then you will no longer encounter message bar prompts, which means you can freely use macros as well as have workbook links and data connections update automatically. In this fashion you can efficiently open frequently used documents while still encountering protective prompts as you open unfamiliar documents. In fact, you always have the option to purposefully open a document in Protected View, as shown in Figure 7:

  1. Press Ctrl+O to launch Excel’s Open dialog box or use the File menu to navigate manually to the Open dialog box.
  2. Click once on the name of a document.
  3. Click the arrow on the right-hand side of the Open button.
  4. Choose Open in Protected View.
Microsoft Excel Protected View

Figure 7: You can purposefully open suspect documents in Protected View mode.


About the author

David Ringstrom

David Ringstrom, CPA, is the president of Accounting Advisors, Inc., an Atlanta-based spreadsheet and database consulting firm he started in 1991. Throughout his career, David has spoken at conferences on Excel, and he currently leads dozens of webinars each year on Excel, QuickBooks, and other software. He has served as the technical editor for over 25 books, including several editions in Wiley’s QuickBooks for Dummies and Quicken for Dummies series. In addition to writing for QuickBooks and Beyond, David is the Tech Editor at Large for AccountingWEB and Going Concern. He also offers live webcasts and self-study courses through CPE Link. His freelance articles on spreadsheets have been published as far afield as Pakistan. During training sessions, you’ll often hear David state, “Either you work Excel, or it works you!”

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