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Any downside to saving Excel (2010) file as .xlsm versus .xlsx?

Posted on 2012-03-13
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-06-27

Even when it does not contain any macros, is there a downside to saving an Excel (2010) file as a macro-enabled (.xlsm) file versus a typical (.xlsx) file?

Question by:Steve_Brady
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Accepted Solution

Ingeborg Hawighorst (Microsoft MVP / EE MVE) earned 1200 total points
ID: 37718259
Hello Steve,

.xlsm is only required if the file contains macros. If it doesn't, .xlsx will do nicely.

If the file does not have any macros, then saving as .xlsm won't do much harm, although some corporate firewalls or web sites may not allow up/download of .xlsm files to safeguard against malicious intent (VBA can contain bad/destructive/viral code)

cheers, teylyn
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Assisted Solution

dlmille earned 400 total points
ID: 37718305
Not for points...

I would just add if you are using any XLM functions (Excel 4 macro functions) you'll have to save as .XLSM.


Assisted Solution

reitzen earned 400 total points
ID: 37718524
Depending on your security settings, it adds one or more steps for your users to get a file opened and "enabled".

They may be prompted to "Enable content" before they can work in the file.

Additionally, Excel 2010 tracks the source of the file as well.  So, they may get a fairly "scary" (red text and background colors) warning telling them that the file came from an unknown or internet source prompting them to click a link to review the content and then to select "Edit anyway", before they can "enable content".

So, if you do not need the Macro enabled workbook and your file(s) are for users other than yourself, don't use XLSM until you actually need to include code in your file.
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Assisted Solution

by:Ingeborg Hawighorst (Microsoft MVP / EE MVE)
Ingeborg Hawighorst (Microsoft MVP / EE MVE) earned 1200 total points
ID: 37718693
FWIW, the warnings about enabling content only come up if a file actually contains macros. If it only has the .xlsm extension, but no actual macro code in the macro project, then there will be no warnings, since there are no macros. But if you even have an empty sub with no "real" code like ...

sub DoNothing()
end sub

Open in new window

... then the macro warnings will pop up upon opening the file.

Author Comment

ID: 37785770
Many great and helpful responses:

Sorry for my ignorance teylyn but, "FWIW"?

Author Closing Comment

ID: 37785773
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Expert Comment

ID: 37785867
FWIW - For What Its Worth.
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ID: 37786396
Thanks, Steve.

I don't often use chat speak or txt abbreviations, and I assume you don't either. Sorry if I caught you unaware.

Here's a low-level intro http://www.pcworld.com/article/153504/fwiw_the_origins_of_net_shorthand.html

If you really want to get into it, take the deep dive with

I guess with voice recognition it will be much harder to use the acronyms than the full words, which kind of defies the intention of the chat speak acronym. Or can you use shortcuts to certain phrases with Dragon NS?

cheers, teylyn

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