back to article Microsoft to block downloaded VBA macros in Office – you may be able to run 'em anyway

Microsoft Office will soon block untrusted Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) macros sourced from the internet by default – a security measure users can still circumvent, permissions allowing. The Windows giant announced that the change will come in version 2203 of Office for Windows, due in April 2022, and applies to Access …

  1. WolfFan Silver badge

    FAT32?

    The only FAT32 devices around here are thumb drives, the first thing that I do to FAT formatted hard drives is to reformat them for Mac or NTFS or something Linuxy. Windows hasn’t booted from FAT32 since Vista, officially since XP, but you could make Vista boot if you REALLY pushed it. As far as I know Win 7 requires NTFS. Macs don’t boot from FAT file systems and never have, and Office doesn’t run on Linux. So far as I can see, this is a problem only if users are saving directly unto thumb drives.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: FAT32?

      The real problem is that alternate data streams (NTFS), resource forks (HFS+), and extended attributes (ext4) aren't very compatible with each other so the moment you copy to a network drive the protection is probably gone or mangled into uselessness.

  2. ShadowSystems Silver badge

    A tighter security method.

    Don't use MS Office. There are plenty of third party alternatives out there, both free & paid, so go visit DDG & hunt for something better than the crap MS is shoveling.

    Dear Microsoft, there is no hatred greater than a previous FanBoy turned to a mortal enemy by your own hand.

    You hit me with the Ribbon, Win8, Win10, and now Win11 on an epic trainwreck clusterfuck of fail. You have only yourselves to blame given how badly you've jumped the rails & plowed that juggernaught over a cliff.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Pint

      Re: A tighter security method.

      Thank you ShadowSystems for the wonderful phrase:

      'an epic trainwreck clusterfuck of fail'

      I hope you don't mind me nicking that, 'cos I already have.

      Sadly corporate policy requires use of MS products (including Teams - shiver of horror goes down my spine) so I have to suck it up.

      Have a beer mate!

      1. ShadowSystems Silver badge

        Re: A tighter security method.

        You have my sympathies for having to use MS products, for having to work, & as is typical in work environments, more than likely being required to wear pants.

        *Hisses like a scalded cat*

        Feel free to swipe the line if you like it, I don't mind.

        *Clinks tankards in toast*

        Cheers! May all your insanities be enjoyable! =-D

        1. M. Poolman
          Happy

          Re: A tighter security method.

          I guess you must be from across the pond. The result of HR bods over here checking to see the a pants wearing policy is being correctly observed has comedic possibilities of gargantuan proportion.

          Well the thought made me chuckle anyway

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A tighter security method.

      I've never found an office suite quite as good as MS Office. Yes, there are other word processors and spreadsheet things, but they're all pretty deficient. Even MS' own Office 365 online offerings miss important features.

      Even the Ribbon makes some sense, though it took me a good decade to admit that!

      1. unimaginative Bronze badge
        Alien

        Re: A tighter security method.

        Maybe not for you, but for most users anythng will do. MS Word is most used for letters and short documents, most people only use the simplest formulae in Excel, and a good many just use it to lay information out in tables most of the time.

        I also think there is often a better tool for particular jobs and office suites (MS or not) are too much a Jack of all trades. I would rather use Lyx for long documents, for example. When all you have is a hammer, everything looks liek a nail.

        1. veti Silver badge

          Re: A tighter security method.

          Everyone agrees that 90% of the features in any advanced application are never used. We all know this.

          But the catch is, when you actually burrow into the question, you find that no two people agree precisely which 90% of features they don't need. What looks like useless screen clutter to you, is a small but vital element of someone else's workflow.

          That's why all applications acquire cruft over time.

      2. Wibble

        Ribbon - just say no

        The Ribbon is a minger. So much superfluous unusable guff for the one or two icons that might be useful.

        Talking of icons, it's far harder to interpret icons than it is for menu text IF you are looking for something that's uncommon. Seems to have been designed for Chinese speakers (other pictogram languages are available).

        That you can't edit it to move things around is the worst part of it.

        Then again Microsoft have never built good user interfaces. That utter turd Windows hate, as it goes onwards.

        The great thing about using a Mac is that poxy Ribbon is an option as the menus are still in place.

        Meh. Double meh.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ribbon - just say no

          The ribbon was an excellent improvement to the Windows way of working. But icons are a subtle oriental plot to deprive Westerners of the advantage of alphabetical languages.

        2. veti Silver badge

          Re: Ribbon - just say no

          Menu technology was perfected circa 1990, and has only gone downhill since then. But one of the bad things that happened to it, in the late 90s, was when Microsoft made menus editable.

          Stupid, stupid idea. It meant users accidentally deleting menu items (including, potentially, the very one they needed to undo the damage). And for expert users who knew about the feature and used it correctly, it meant they could no longer transfer their skills to anyone else's PC.

          Reversing that cock-up was perhaps the only redeeming feature of the ribbon.

          1. ShadowSystems Silver badge

            At Veti, re: the ribbon.

            The ability to edit the menu wasn't really a problem, it was the fact that there was no easy way to restore it to default if you made a mistake.

            Hide a bit you wanted & made one you didn't need at all into the default? Give a $KeyboardShortcutCombo to restore to default & try again.

            The ribbon was fine for some, an absolute nightmare for others. The biggest PITA about it was the inability to choose a classic style instead.

            The old Alt Menu with the File, Edit, View, Tools, & Options sections were easy enough to figure out what they meant, what bits might be under each one, & could be navigated quickly with a screen reader.

            The ribbon made everything harder to find, harder to explore, & harder for the reader to read.

            End result, many folks (myself included) that needed to use a reader & had to figure out WTF the reader was barfing about when trying to read out the various bits.

            An example: the Alt Menu used elypsis to denote a menu item that had other options beneath it, but the ribbon insisted on doing a funky visual thing that the reader speaks as some sort of verbal vomit that means nothing at first & takes trial & error before you mentally parse it to mean "this expands if you select it, but only if it's an odd numbered day of an even numbered month with Venus in the House of Uranus & Mars in retrograde to Pluto"...

            Ok, maybe not THAT difficult, but certainly not as easy as the Alt Menu to figure out.

            Again, if you like the ribbon then that's fine, but for those of us that don't, the choice of the classic Alt Menu would solve 90%+ of our headaches.

            *Hands you a pint*

            Drink up. Choice is almost always the best option. =-J

            1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

              Re: At Veti, re: the ribbon.

              Anyone who's actually done support knows how brilliant the ribbon is. Power users don't benefit. Ordinary users suddenly found stuff they never knew was there.

              There is no doubt whatsoever that it was a huge step forwards. You're just ranting at clouds if you won't admit that it's good for most other people even if not you.

              1. ShadowSystems Silver badge

                At DavePi.

                I have done tech support for more decades than I care to count. Everything from tier3 to frontline to freelance. I am well aware of just how badly the ribbon was handled by people.

                As I said, YMMV & *you* may have liked the ribbon, but it was not universally appreciated by the masses.

    3. unimaginative Bronze badge
      Unhappy

      Re: A tighter security method.

      A lot of the alternatives use macros as well - Lbre Office has (partial?) support for VBA macros.

      Embedding scripts in documents is a bad idea. I wish web browser developers had noticed that.

      My feeling is that if you need to use VBA you should probably be using a proper development platform. The "apps developed in a spreadsheet" I have used are clunky, at best.

      Yes, I do realise that most corporate policies will not let people use anything else, nor provide the resources for a developer to do it.

      1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

        Re: A tighter security method.

        The use of VBA is perfectly cromulent at low levels, and absolutely evil in situations where 'you should probably be using a proper development platform'. The problem comes when you start with the first, and slowly add stuff until you're in the latter category.

        For basic - sorry, unintentional pun - automation of simple Office functionality, there is nothing that even comes close to VBA.

      2. EnviableOne Silver badge

        Re: A tighter security method.

        the problem is, $company will pay for Office, but not a development environment.

        Excel just about does 90% of things, with VBA it does 99.99% of things,

        why should the finance wonks shell out for something more capable/

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Macros are the only real differentiator left between MSOffice and LibreOffice, bar one.

    If only LibreOffice had the marketing budget Microsoft has, to promote Office 365.

    Yep, that's a massive differentiator that isn't going to change anytime soon.

    Fantastic as LibreOffice is it's the real hurdle in this battle. Not the quality of the LO software itself, which for nearly all general use cases 'does the (admin) drudge' admirably.

    It's not even worth saying "Careful Microsoft, you might just kill off your cash cow, by removing the ease of use of VB macros'.

    There is an unlimited budget there, to brainwash even the most vocal, of those against MS, and it's from every angle, and still I use LO where I can.

    Take away, all the bloat - ribbon bars, the subscriptions. Is Excel 2023 going to be really any better than Excel 5 was when it released with VBA in 1993?

    1. stungebag

      Re: Macros are the only real differentiator left between MSOffice and LibreOffice, bar one.

      Cash cow? Does anybody, apart from criminals and a few heavy-duty Excel warriors, use macros?

      Would anyone even notice if they were quietly removed from Word?

      1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: Macros are the only real differentiator left between MSOffice and LibreOffice, bar one.

        I'm not a "heavy-duty" Excel "warrior" by any means; I only recently tried VBA at all and it sure has been useful.

        A change in roles means I have to daily receive 5 CSVs in email (5 separate emails), save them locally, change certain bits, and add a date to the filename (because it's not already there), so then they can be uploaded to an online database via the web browser.

        After about a day's effort I had a couple scripts that opened the five files, made necessary mods, and saved them with the date added -- either today's (script #1) or a user-input date for weekend catch-up (script #2). (I don't mind doing the upload/browser stuff manually.) A couple more scripts made more recently reopens some of those files, hide non-useful columns and resize others, and apply sort to the rows, so I can count certain things for a daily report on what's inside (because after uploading, the database browser doesn't show me as much unless I view one-by-one). A few more scripts help parse all-records exports from the big massive database (also CSVs), copying out only the columns I need to calculate key metrics, and pasting them into the Excel files that actually calculate the metrics (with charts -- lovely charts for the big bosses).

        Already I'm blocked from making scripts in Outlook to speed up the "save attachment" part. I tried calling Outlook from Excel, and I can "see" messages but by no means save attachments.

        Now, all of the above is local, but if micros~1's new policy causes collateral damage, I'm hosed. Check my industry: users and systems are highly restricted on purpose. I'm not allowed to mess with security settings or install alternatives, nor would I attempt to.

        1. Alpine_Hermit

          Re: Macros are the only real differentiator left between MSOffice and LibreOffice, bar one.

          There are many CSV files which I receive for my job of monitoring emissions compliance and then reporting it to the government. I use Office 2019 as standard for inter-operability, however, certain CSV files MS Excel cannot handle properly. I've never got to the bottom as to why this issue happens, and I've been using Excel since at least 1995 and Lotus before.

          Anyway, if I load them up in my standby tool of OpenOffice or now LibreOffice, absolutely no problem for the CSV files to open and format 100% correctly. I then do what I need to do in LO and then save as xlsx to send it down the line.

          If LO could somehow get more corporate sponsorship and thereby investment to smooth out the usability and MS Office inter-operability to a higher level it would definitely become #1 choice for even more people, especially small businesses like mine. That said, for my own requirements, VBA is essential, wish LO could emulate it all.

        2. ShadowSystems Silver badge

          At Stryker, re: macros.

          Careful admitting that to management, they may decide you can be replaced with a script.

          I wish I were joking, but I'm not. I essentially scripted myself right out of a job.

          I wrote a macro to open the email, pull certain bits out, paste the bits into an Excel sheet, save the file attached to the email to a server, open the attachment & copy certain bits to the aforementioned Excel sheet, move the email to a specific folder, save the updated Excel sheet, and then exit. Hours of manual work doing it all by hand, tediously & carefully scripted so that anything that caused an error got spit out, noted, and skipped over for the next email in the que. End result was an ability to dedicate my time to doing the rest of my job that needed doing.

          Management noticed that I was no longer struggling to get it all done, that the reports I was sending back had everything they wanted & quite a few they didn't realize they desired. They come to ask me how I'd managed. I stupidly told them the truth about having taken the time to document each step, scrip each step, until the whole thing could be handled by said automation.

          At which point I got handed my last paycheque, got shown the door, & told to have a nice day.

          Be careful with the script ability, you may just automate yourself right out of a job.

          =-/

      2. Not Irrelevant

        Re: Macros are the only real differentiator left between MSOffice and LibreOffice, bar one.

        I used to years ago, but Microsoft launched a library to directly read and write Office files in the Open Office XML formats (docx, xlxs, etc) and it integrates with .NET very easily so I've been using that for years. It's much, much, much, much faster than VBA ever was because you're not scripting the UI, you're just modifying the files.

        Your experience may differ, I do realize that not everyone is a software developer for whom writing a program to do something is normally faster than doing it manually.

      3. Novex

        Re: Macros are the only real differentiator left between MSOffice and LibreOffice, bar one.

        For my sins I use VBA extensively in Access, and indirectly in Excel and other Office applications due to the built in OLE automation. I have no choice because, as others have said, the powers that be consider me to be on the 'business' side of the brick wall between business and I.T., so I.T. won't even consider providing proper hardware and software to do the programming jobs 'properly'.

    2. Mr Dogshit
      FAIL

      Re: Macros are the only real differentiator left between MSOffice and LibreOffice, bar one.

      Fifteen years and you're still whining about the ribbon.

      1. karlkarl Silver badge

        Re: Macros are the only real differentiator left between MSOffice and LibreOffice, bar one.

        Obviously because they never fixed it.

        Time alone doesn't fix things ;)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Macros are the only real differentiator left between MSOffice and LibreOffice, bar one.

          The ribbon is God, all hail the ribbon!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Macros are the only real differentiator left between MSOffice and LibreOffice, bar one.

            You remind of the locker scene in the latest Men in Black :).

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
        Devil

        Re: Macros are the only real differentiator left between MSOffice and LibreOffice, bar one.

        So am I. I hide the ribbon and move the "quick access toolbar" down below it and voila - a proper actual toolbar so MS Office feels like it's for grownups again and not a "Fisher Price*" interface.

        * actually, scrap that. Given their track records, Fisher Price would undoubtedly come up with a UI that was cheerful, well organised, much easier to use, and less confusing. Maybe they should start writing software...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Macros are the only real differentiator left between MSOffice and LibreOffice, bar one.

        And I still hold Larsen-Green responsible, and she left MS long ago.

        Actually, I should probably make peace.

        Microsoft needed to differentiate the product from OpenOffice, and in fairness, she did just that.

      4. Fred Daggy Bronze badge

        Re: Macros are the only real differentiator left between MSOffice and LibreOffice, bar one.

        Please, for the love of god, just let me move it to the side. So I can max the height of my documents, the overwhelming majority of, are in portrait mode.

        I hate it, but I could live with it, to the left or to the right.

        1. Alpine_Hermit

          Re: Macros are the only real differentiator left between MSOffice and LibreOffice, bar one.

          I agree, but you can collapse the ribbon so it takes less space, or do what I do when working on Word docs, rotate the monitor to portrait mode, it's perfect.

    3. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

      Re: Macros are the only real differentiator left between MSOffice and LibreOffice, bar one.

      I've used spreadsheets right back to CalcStar, and I can still happily say that Excel is the worst of them for crashing, mangling data and being downright annoying and unintuitive. (Older, crashier versions of Lotus 1-2-3 being second). The fact that charts are now almost impossible to work with in Excel whereas they're still easy in LibreOffice makes it a no brainer for me.

      The only Excel feature I miss anywhere is the keyboard shortcuts for today's date and time.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Macros are the only real differentiator left between MSOffice and LibreOffice, bar one.

        I've used spreadsheets right back to CalcStar

        Ha! I have dealt with them in the time when Apple ][s ran Visicalc. I think parchment and inky feathers were still in use too. Or chain paper dot matrix printing, my memory isn't what it never was.

        :)

      2. Alpine_Hermit

        Re: Macros are the only real differentiator left between MSOffice and LibreOffice, bar one.

        My earliest was the Sinclair QL Abacus, loved it because it totally transformed my brain. Then used SuperCalc, then Lotus, then Excel. Must admit that Excel has been very good to me, although since 2003 there has been no innovation except for the loved-hated Ribbon.

    4. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: Macros are the only real differentiator left between MSOffice and LibreOffice, bar one.

      Are macros that much of a differentiator? LibreOffice has had macros for some time now, and in a better language than VBA.

      I'll confess I haven't used them. I'd rather write software to manipulate data in a spreadsheet than write software in the spreadsheet.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Macros are the only real differentiator left between MSOffice and LibreOffice, bar one.

        'I'd rather write software to manipulate data in a spreadsheet than write software in the spreadsheet.'

        VBA is hard to drop if you grew up on it, though very willing to do so!

        Such as? COM model or Python using github xlwings extension?

        https://www.xlwings.org/

    5. Not Irrelevant

      Re: Macros are the only real differentiator left between MSOffice and LibreOffice, bar one.

      Not supporting VBA is one of LibreOffice's biggest features!

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Macros are the only real differentiator left between MSOffice and LibreOffice, bar one.

      If only LibreOffice had the marketing budget Microsoft has, to promote Office 365.

      Yep, that's a massive differentiator that isn't going to change anytime soon.

      Our CFO works quite closely with our CISO, and when they worked out just how much they would save not using Office 365, not just in license fees but also in the cost of risk management they couldn't install LO fast enough for a trial. As far as I can tell, probably the only change before this goes company wide is that we're going to evaluate some derivatives.

      I guess we're lucky to have these two actually talking to each other.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Macros are the only real differentiator left between MSOffice and LibreOffice, bar one.

        My dream would be for UK Government (including local Government) to use LibreOffice for the (admin) drudge. Mainly for the reason, I can't for the life of me, see the reason they aren't using it, other than the marketing budget of MS.

        Yes, it looks a little different, but it 'does the drudge', just as well as Office 365.

        The amount of time and hoops you have to go through now, to run a MS Office 2021 (2016) perpetual licence (on premises version). The complexity of versions, just drains the life out of me.

        If I had a choice in the matter, I wouldn't spend more than 5 minutes of my life finding out and knowing the differences between Office 2021 (2016) perpetual and Office 365. I'd ditch both.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

        Re: Macros are the only real differentiator left between MSOffice and LibreOffice, bar one.

        The problem with LO is the regular embarrassments it causes. Hence why no major company uses it. The thing is absolutely riddled with show-stopping bugs.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Macros are the only real differentiator left between MSOffice and LibreOffice, bar one.

          Such as?

          Come on, show me where your "show stopped" because we've been using it for years without any problems.

          Here's a bit of irony for you: I started using OpenOffice (before LibreOffice even existed) because it was the only way I could fix Microsoft Word documents that had amassed too much corruption through the flawed cut & paste mechanism in Word for Word to even load them again without crashing.

          Open them in OO which silently ignores and fixes the mess, save them again and presto. Over the years I must have saved myself and colleagues countless manhours of otherwise lost or wasted labour (and yes, that has bought me many beers from grateful peers :) ).

          So my show has never stopped with Open/LibreOffice whereas Microsoft Office has been a constant source of problems. About the only thing that was useful was Excel.

  4. revenant
    Unhappy

    ... Office's current defense strategy is somewhat lacking

    Sheesh - they've had 20+ years to figure it out and still admit there's work to do? How about a default 'block all macros unless explicitly allowed' setting?

    Especially Autoexec-type macros.

    1. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

      Re: ... Office's current defense strategy is somewhat lacking

      I thought .docx did block macros. If you want macros, use .docm.

      Same with .xlsx and .xlsm.

      So my office files don't use macros. The blame lies with Other People.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ... Office's current defense strategy is somewhat lacking

        No, the blame lies with the morons implementing this idiocy in the first place.

        You use the same principle if you want people to press a button: you label it "do not press". Guaranteed to work.

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    I'm missing something

    Ever since Office 2010 I have had a message when I open Office documents not from my organization. It says that the file is open in Read-Only mode and I have to click some button to make it editable and run macros.

    Is this some special hack done by the network admin ? Policy or something ?

    Because, as far as I can see, the protection is already in place. Does this message have nothing to do with macros then ? I don't see how that would be logical.

    Then again, this is Borkzilla after all. Logic is not it's strong point.

    1. Aleph0
      Meh

      Re: I'm missing something

      At least at my company, every document downloaded from our own file shares is marked as coming from the Web and thus insecure as far as Office is concerned, just because the path is of the form \\server.companydomain.tld\share\folder\file.ext, and the setting "Mark network documents as safe" is forgotten as soon as you close the program. Disclaimer: I'm not in IT, just a lowly user trying to do my job, so I don't know how much of it is due to Windows / Office themselves vs. some idiotic group policy enacted by my company.

      Problem is, at least in Excel the Safe Mode is as useful as a chocolate teapot since you cannot sort, filter, or even just widen the cells. The numbers in the spreadsheet you just opened are too big for the default column width? Too bad, either exit Safe Mode or stare at cells after cells of ######## ...

  6. Phones Sheridan Bronze badge

    “ MOTW works by adding an attribute to files as they arrive on a device”

    Other attributes are Stam, Spirit, Int and Battleshout!

  7. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
    Devil

    How Microsoft thinks this will play out and reality are probably quite different.

    I can imagine IT departments don't get that many calls over VBA viruses now anyway, but the number of calls because some bean counter's precious macro no longer runs will increase exponentially.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Received a form to fill in for new supplier from accounts

    Filled with buttons and a notice of not being able to run the document even after saving and setting a trusted location. Then we need to send this to the supplier to complete.

    Why in this day and age are people still developing these forms!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Received a form to fill in for new supplier from accounts

      I've make a few PDF forms in LibreOffice which is quite useful functionality, but it is a tad laborious. Then again, no tithe to pay to Adobe - worth it :).

  9. tiggity Silver badge

    macros

    "Macros have been a well-known menace ever since the ILOVEYOU worm erupted onto millions of PCs in May 2000."

    Surely that line should read "Macros have been a well-known menace ever since they first went public" *

    *I was quite happy when Melissa and all the other macro viruses struck, it meant my pleas for me to not have to write things in macros for our users (because macros were a potential huge security hole) were were finally listened to as even bosses could no longer claim it was me being over cautious.

  10. Blackjack Silver badge

    How long has it been since Word 6.0 anyway? Since 1993.

  11. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Real Solution

    The best solution for macros is to get read of them entirely. No macros, no vulnerability to a macro. Yes, I can hear the morons in marketing and accounting screaming bloody murder because they might have to learn how to do things correctly in Orifice and when to use applications that have properly vetted and tested. Applications that export data in format that can be imported into Orifice.

    1. 2+2=5 Silver badge

      Re: Real Solution

      Getting rid of macros is treating the symptoms and not providing a cure. And MS have had 30 years to work this out and they still can't quite get their heads around it.

      The obvious solution is to remove the functionality that viruses require to replicate. So that means no ability to write to disk (other than save the spreadsheet); or write to the network; or to any connected device on the host machine. I'm willing to bet that fewer than 1% of macros need to do these things so it's not going to be a great loss.

      Then, why not roll the remainder of macro functionality into spreadsheet formulas anyway? Most macros do relatively simple things like "add a new invoice line item". And the only reason that's a macro is because it's currently far too easy to screw-up a cell range. Essentially companies are using Excel features to protect themselves from mistakes that are all too easily made because of other Excel features!

      If MS introduced a mode that fully embraced named ranges and prevented ad-hoc cell references we wouldn't even be in the position of needing an "insert new invoice line" because there would be an obvious named range called "invoice items".

      This alone would be worth paying money for. And if LibreOffice introduced it they would have a clear USP over Excel.

      Another retirement project...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Real Solution

      Ending the use of Office 365 in full is really the only way to be sure, apart from nuking it from orbit (well, OK, an EMP would suffice).

  12. hystrix

    Spreadsheet scripting in 1980s

    I remember using some kind of spreadsheet scripting language in the mid-1980's that used "code" contained within curly brackets. I know it's slightly off topic but I'd love to know what application I was using back then. It was a long time ago! Anyone remember?

    1. 2+2=5 Silver badge

      Re: Spreadsheet scripting in 1980s

      Lotus 123 had a macro language where you saved your keystrokes in a cell and, when executed, it replayed them as if you had typed them. It was a bit more sophisticated than that but it was so long ago and I only used it a few times that I can't really remember.

      Excel used to have a compatibility mode that would run 123 macros - but it was dropped ages back.

  13. Morrie Wyatt
    Unhappy

    There's always one.

    Unfortunately I have one specific ODBC driver to access an Informix database that our company's ERP software runs upon.

    Excel has no problems with it, nor does Crystal Reports.

    LibreOffice lets me set up an ODBC connection to it via "Base", but despite telling me that I have successfully connected to the ODBC source, it doesn't see any of the database tables. No error messages of any sort, just a blank list.

    Our overseas supplier requires us to submit purchase orders using their password format locked Excel template, complete with hidden macros.

    (Their incoming order processing bot spits out any order that doesn't comply with the exact template layout.)

    These circumstances pretty much paint me into a corner, as I can't get to the Informix data using LibreOffice.

    (The same supplier is now heavily pushing the use of SharePoint. The misery never ends!)

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022