Microsoft is backtracking on its plan to block all Office VBA macros obtained from the Internet by default. The company had been testing this change on the Current Channel (Preview) since April with a general rollout planned for June 2022, but these plans have unexpectedly changed this week.
“Based on feedback, we’re rolling back this change from Current Channel. We appreciate the feedback we’ve received so far, and we’re working to make improvements in this experience,” the company said on the Microsoft 365 Admin Center yesterday (via Bleeping Computer).
Microsoft previously blamed VBA macros downloaded from the Internet for being a well-known source of malware. By blocking these macros by default in Office, users would no longer be able to enable them with just the click of a button. Microsoft had been testing the following banner in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Visio, and Access since April.
To run these VBA macros, Microsoft was going to require Office users to save the file to a trusted location such as a local hard drive, network drive, or cloud storage service like OneDrive, and then unblock the file manually. That’s a definitely a big change that many organizations needed to digest, and that probably explains why Microsoft decided to backtrack at the last minute.
If Microsoft rolling back this change based on feedback is certainly making things confusing for Office users and IT pros, it’s not clear yet what kind of changes Microsoft is going to implement to protect Office users from malicatious VBA macros. “We’ll provide another update when we’re ready to release again to Current Channel,” the company announced on the Microsoft 365 Admin Center yesterday.