The Microsoft Office 2007 Message Bar displays security alerts, workflow tasks, server document information and policy messages. The Message Bar appears by default to provide you with this important information. You can hide the Message Bar and then view it later.

To show or hide the Message Bar, access the Office Button or Tools - depending on which program in the Office suite you are using - to get to the Trust Center. By selecting Trust Center settings you will then be able to access the settings for the Message Bar.

The Message Bar displays security alerts when there is potentially unsafe, active content in the document you open. For example, the document might contain an unsigned macro or a signed macro with an invalid signature. In such cases, the Message Bar appears by default to alert you about the problem.

If you don't want to be alerted, you can disable the Message Bar.

You can click the options you want such as: Show the Message Bar in all applications when document content has been blocked. This option is selected by default so that you get Message Bar alerts whenever potentially unsafe content has been disabled. The option is not selected if you clicked the Disable all macros without notification option on the Macros pane of the Trust Center. If you click Disable all macros without notification, you won't get Message Bar alerts when macros are disabled.

Another setting is: Never show information about blocked content this option disables the Message Bar. You do not receive alerts about any security issues, regardless of any security settings in the Trust Center. Whenever you open a file that contains code such as a macro, ActiveX control, or add-in, Office disables the code, and you have to use the Message Bar to enable the blocked content. It might be seem odd, therefore, that anyone would want to turn off the Message Bar. However you can sometimes save yourself and your colleague's time by turning the option off in certain situations.

Office provides several ways to turn off the Message Bar and run code safely. For example, imagine you've created a macro - an automated set of instructions - for one of your Microsoft Office Word documents. Your colleagues find the function really useful, but every time they run it they have to use the Message Bar and a security dialog box before the macro can run. They need to be able to open the file without having to deal with the Message Bar and a security dialog box.

Office 2007 gives you the solution without risk of threats. If the code is signed, meaning it has a digital certificate applied to it, you can "trust" the certificate by adding it to a list of trusted publishers. This is the safest option and the one you should always try to use. If the code isn't signed, but you're sure you can trust the publisher, you can place the file in a trusted location.

If you write code for your own use, you can also create a self certificate, use that to sign your code and then trust that certificate. It's a straightforward process, but remember you don't see the commands discussed here unless you open a file that contains signed code. If a file contains unsigned code, you can enable it, but not trust it permanently, which means you'll see the Message Bar every time you open the file.

Certificates that come from large corporations are updated automatically and you almost never need to remove them. However, self certificates do expire. They can also become invalid for a variety of reasons, such as when someone tampers with a macro.

Use the Message Bar page to show or hide the Message Bar. However, unless you know what you're doing, never disable the Message Bar. Disabling the Message Bar will not allow code to run.