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Trust Me - I Have Office
Wed 23rd September 2009
The Trust Center is where you can find security and privacy settings for the 2007 Microsoft Office system programs. The Very High, High, Medium and Low security levels that were used in earlier versions of Office are now replaced with a more streamlined security system.
Settings relating to the Trust Center can be accessed by either clicking on the Office Button, and then selecting the specific program Options function, or in the Tools menu, depending on which Office program you are using. You are now able to view your options for the program you are running.
There are several functions which you can access in the Trust Centre including help on how to configure each security area, how to enable or disable ActiveX controls, add-ins, macros, security alerts and add, remove or block content in Office documents. It's worth checking these settings and having a look at how things are configured. However, it's also worth consulting a qualified Office trainer before reconfiguring any of these settings.
If security alerts from the Microsoft Office Trust Center appear when you open your presentation or click on certain content in your presentation, your presentation contains content that might not be secure (for example, an executable file). And executable file is a .exe file or one that contains an executable program that runs on a computer when the file name is double-clicked; or maybe a macro, which is an action or a set of actions that you can use to automate tasks. The Trust Center checks all files that might not be secure and displays a security alert.
If you don't want a file to be checked by the Trust Center, for example while you deliver a presentation, then you can move your presentation to a trusted location before you begin. A trusted location is a folder or file path on your computer or a location on your Intranet from which it is safe to run code. Any document opened from a trusted location is considered "safe" and so things like macros will run and external data connections will work without having to answer more security questions. Default trusted locations include the Templates, Add-ins, and Startup folders, and you can specify your own trusted locations on the computer on which you plan to deliver your presentation. You can use Presenter view to prevent security alerts from appearing where your audience can see them. Security alerts then appear on the presenter's computer screen, but not on the projector (or screen) that the audience sees.
It's best to maintain a protective level of security and move your presentation to a trusted location instead of changing the default Trust Center settings to a less safe security setting.
In previous versions of Office it was felt than in many situations, given the complexity of threat, the technology involved and the poor timing of the question, users struggled to make appropriate decisions. This led to users suffering from "message fatigue", where they simply ignored the prompt and just clicked whatever button made the message disappear.
Office 2007, however, was developed to reduce the number and frequency of questions the user had to answer while maintaining a high degree of protection. Now, when prompted to answer questions, the program has been developed so that if you have to answer a security question, you are given as much information as possible to make the correct decision. Another development is with the security prompts. In Office 2007 there are now less prompts and any that are shown are more distinguishable from a standard prompt, including more relevant information in the prompt in order to make the security decision.
One of the benefits of this development is the Message Bar. The Message Bar sits in the Ribbon in the View tab in the Show/Hide group and informs you when some of the functionality in the document has been blocked. With the macro prompting suppressed on open, you can open a document and start to work without having to make a security decision beforehand. This also leads to less prompts overall, so when you do get a security prompt it is more meaningful.
The security features of Office 2007 work away behind the scenes and the user is provided with a secure environment by default. This means that anyone using Office 2007 can still work productively and with the minimum amount of disruption.
Remember, unless you have some experience with security, leave these features and settings alone. Changing them can make your computer more difficult to use or put it and your data at risk.
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