Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007 and 2010. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Digital Signatures for Macros.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 27, 2014)
When you create macros and share them with others, the availability of those macros depends on the security settings on the user's machine. If the security level is set high enough, the user may not even be able to use the macros at all.
One way to help users utilize your macros is to digitally sign them. A digital signature allows a user to know that a macro comes from a trusted source and that it hasn't been modified since it was originally saved by that trusted source. In other words, it is a way for users to be sure that a macro hasn't been tampered with. (Sort of like the product safety seals on some consumer foods and pharmaceuticals.)
In order to digitally sign a macro, you need to first obtain a digital certificate. A certificate is a "seal of approval" from a trusted third party that you are who you say you are. You can get digital certificates from a variety of commercial certificate authorities, each of which has different requirements of how you go about certifying your identity.
You can also create your own digital certificate for testing purposes using the program SelfCert.exe, which is provided with Microsoft Office. This route is great for testing, but it won't help you when you distribute your macros to others; you'll still need the certificate from the third-party authority. You can find more information about the SelfCert.exe program by using Excel's online help and searching for "selfcert."
Once you have a digital certificate, you can digitally sign your macro project in this manner:
You can find more information about digital signatures in Excel's Help system. You can also find some great information about both certificates and signatures at this page in the Knowledge Base:
Note that the page indicates that it is only for Excel 2003 and 2007. The information is also applicable to Excel 2010.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (10486) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Digital Signatures for Macros.
Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!
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