Can't Edit Macros

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 27, 2021)

Patricia recently upgraded from Word 2007, and some of her macros need editing. However, the Edit button in the Macros dialog box is grayed out. She wonders what she can do to edit her macros.

There are a few things to check, Patricia. The first thing you'll want to do is to figure out where your macros are stored. If the macros are stored in a document, make sure that you save the document (use Save As) as a DOCM file. If you save it as a DOCX file, the macros will be stripped from it. If it is in a DOCM file, then you will be able to edit your macros.

If the macros are not stored in a document but are, instead, in a template, then you'll want to load your template directly and save it back out (again, using Save As) as a macro-enabled template. Only then will you be able to modify the macros in the template.

The other thing you'll want to check is the security settings on your system. This is done by going to the Trust Center. Follow these steps:

  1. Display the Developer tab of the ribbon.
  2. Click the Macro Security tool, in the Code group. Word displays the Trust Center dialog box.
  3. Make sure Macro Settings is selected at the left of the dialog box. (This option should be selected by default.) (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Trust Center dialog box.

  5. Click the Enable All Macros radio button.
  6. Click OK.

Now when you open the problem document, you should be able to edit the macros.

A word of caution: These steps basically let any macros run on a system. If you are confident in your ability to not open any documents containing malicious code, then you are fine. If you routinely open documents from others who may be oblivious to such code, then you'll probably want to rerun the same steps and, in step 4, choose a more restrictive option such as Disable All Macros with Notification. While macros (and macro editing) will be disabled, you can still choose to run a macro by clicking a rather obvious button that will appear above the document—once it is loaded—and just below the ribbon.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8381) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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