Allow changes to parts of a protected document

When you want to allow changes to only certain parts of a document, you can mark the document as read-only and then select the parts of the document where you want to allow changes.

You can make these unrestricted parts available for anyone who opens the document, or you can grant permission to specific individuals so that only they can change the unrestricted parts of the document.

What do you want to do?


Add protection to a document and mark the parts that can be changed

  1. On the Review tab, in the Protect group, click Restrict Editing.

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  1. In the Editing restrictions area, select the Allow only this type of editing in the document check box.
  2. In the list of editing restrictions, click No changes (Read only).
  3. Select the part of the document where you want to allow changes.

For example, select a block of paragraphs, a heading, a sentence, or a word.

 Tip   To select more than one part of the document at the same time, select the part that you want, then press CTRL and select more parts while you hold down the CTRL key.

  1. Under Exceptions, do one of the following:
    • To allow anyone who opens the document to edit the part that you selected, select the Everyone check box in the Groups list.
    • To allow only particular individuals to edit the part that you selected, click More users, and then type the user names.

Include your name if you want to be able to edit that part of the document. Separate each name with a semicolon.

 Important   If you intend to protect the document with user authentication rather than password protection, be sure to type e-mail addresses, not Microsoft Windows or Windows Vista user accounts, for user names.

  • Click OK, and then select the check boxes next to the names of the individuals that you are allowing to edit the part that you selected.

 Note   If you select more than one individual, those individuals are added as an item to the Groups box, so that you can quickly select them again.

  1. Continue to select parts of the document and assign users permission to edit them.
  2. Under Start enforcement, click Yes, Start Enforcing Protection.
  3. Do one of the following:
    • To assign a password to the document so that users who know the password can remove the protection, type a password in the Enter new password (optional) box, and then confirm the password.

 Note   You must use this option if you intend to post the document so that multiple people can work on it at the same time.

Use strong passwords that combine uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Weak passwords don't mix these elements. Strong password: Y6dh!et5. Weak password: House27. Passwords should be 8 or more characters in length. A pass phrase that uses 14 or more characters is better. For more information, see Help protect your personal information with strong passwords.

It is critical that you remember your password. If you forget your password, Microsoft cannot retrieve it. Store the passwords that you write down in a secure place away from the information that they help protect.

  • To encrypt the document so that only authenticated owners of the document can remove the protection, click User authentication.

 Note   Encrypting the document prevents authoring by more than one person at the same time.

For more information about user authentication, see Information Rights Management in Office 2010.

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Unlock a protected document

To remove all protection from a document, you might need to know the password that was applied to the document. Or you might have to be listed as an authenticated owner for the document.

If you are an authenticated owner of the document, or if you know the password for removing document protection, do the following:

  1. On the Review tab, in the Protect group, click Restrict Editing.

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  1. In the Restrict Formatting and Editing task pane, click Stop Protection.
  2. If you are prompted to provide a password, type the password.

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Make changes in a restricted document

When you open a protected document, Microsoft Word 2010 restricts what you can change based on whether the document owner granted you permission to make changes to a specific part of the document.

The Restrict Formatting and Editing task pane displays buttons for moving to the regions of the document that you have permission to change.

Restrict Formatting and Editing task pane

If you do not have permission to edit any parts of the document, Word restricts editing and displays the message, "Word has finished searching the document" when you click the buttons in the Restrict Formatting and Editing task pane.

Open the Restrict Formatting and Editing task pane

If you close the task pane and then try to make changes where you do not have permission, Word displays the following message in the status bar:

This modification is not allowed because the selection is locked.

To return to the task pane and find a region where you have permission to edit, do the following:

  1. On the Review tab, in the Protect group, click Restrict Editing.

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  1. Click Find Next Region I Can Edit or Show All Regions I Can Edit.

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Applies to:
Word 2010