How to turn on Protected View in Microsoft Office

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There’s a scary new attack targeting Microsoft Office—and worse, it’s not patched yet. But you can keep your computer safe if you don’t click on risky files from untrusted sources. And even if you do by accident, Office’s Protected View feature can save your bacon.

Unfortunately, we all still click on Office documents emailed from “trusted” contacts, so the next line of defense is to make sure Protected View—the prompt that warns you a file originated from someone potentially insecure, requiring you to click a button to start editing it—is switched on in Office 365. It’s normally on by default, but some users may errantly switch it off. If you’re wondering if you have Protected View on, here’s the easy 5-step process to check.

How to enable Protected View in Excel 365

First, launch Microsoft Excel 365 and then select the Options button from the Home screen. If you’re already in a spreadsheet, you can click File and you should see Options in the lower left-hand corner.

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Once you’ve selected Options, select the “Trust Center option” on the left side of the window pane.

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After you’ve selected Trust Center, you should be able to click on the Trust Center Settings button on the right side of the window pane.

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Once you’re in the Trust Center, select the “Protected View” option.

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You should see three checkmarks under the Protected View section. All three should be checked, which is the default setting.

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How to enable Protected View in Word 365

The instructions are exactly the same for Microsoft Word, but since some people may only have Word 365 installed, we’ll walk you through the same dialogs. First click Options in the lower left corner of the Home screen, or if you’re in a Word document, just click File to see the Options option.

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