Using Panorama Macros

Our office was informed that using Excel macros opened you up to viruses and malware. Do Panorama macros have the same weakness

Panorama procedures (once called macros) are not able to expose a computer to viruses.

Let me put this straight: MS Office has an option to warn you, when you open Excel (or Word) documents containing macros from unknown sources. Some time ago, there were countless malign Macro viruses (mostly Word Macro viruses) around, but all Antivirus applications are capable to find and delete them. — This fact should not prevent you from using your own macros in your documents to make your work easier.

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Snippets of code could contain malware, but Panorama is protected by the community, which is quite small and we pretty much know each other, and by its transparency. Do not use downloaded code that you do not understand. If it is questionable, post it here and we will check it out.

I think this is an oversimplification. Simply using Excel’s macro feature doesn’t open you up to malware. But if you download Excel spreadsheets from an unknown source, they could contain malware. So if you download random spreadsheets from unknown authors on the internet, be careful (just as you must be careful when downloading applications).

There’s never been a reported case of malware in a Panorama database. But it could be possible for someone to create such a database. There are some pretty good reasons why this is generally not something to worry about.

First of all, most Panorama users only create procedures (macros) for themselves. So there’s zero chance of malware in that situtation.

Some users get Panorama databases from other users they know, either a friend, or someone they have hired. If you trust them, this should be no worry.

The only potential worry would be if you download random databases from the internet. However, unlike Excel spreadsheets, there really aren’t a bunch of databases lurking around on the internet. The only place to get databases from the “internet” is using the Panorama Database Exchange. These databases have been created by a limited number of Panorama experts that are known on this community. They are not anonymous, you can see their names and if you like you can contact them here on this forum. Also, ProVUE checks out each submission to the exchange to make sure it doesn’t contain malware (we’ve never found any).

Creating Panorama malware would take specialized knowledge. There are probably only a dozen people in the world that might have that knowledge, and they are all upstanding members of the community here.

If you wanted to be extra careful, first of all you could never download a Panorama database from any source, and just create your own databases. Then you are 100% guaranteed safe. If you do want to use a database from another source, you can use Panorama’s diagnostic mode to first open it in a “safe” mode that will disable any malware - you can then check for any malevolent code without any chance that the code will run.

I believe this is a safety feature that is not available in Excel, but I am not an Excel expert so I’m not sure about that. So even if you download a database from a random, unknown source, you can still check it out in a safe way before putting it into actual use.

Bottom line - any risk from viruses and malware in Panorama databases is vanishingly small, and can be made zero.