Why is my Word document 'read-only'?

If you cannot make changes to a document, your Word program might not be activated, the document might be locked for editing or password-protected, or you might be trying to modify a document or text in a form that is protected.

 Note   You cannot edit a document that is open in Word Viewer, but you can copy text to the Clipboard to paste it in other applications.

ShowThis command is not available because the document is locked for editing

If you see the following message when you try to modify a document in Word 2003 or Word 2002: "This command is not available because the document is locked for editing," your Word program might not be activated. To check, do the following:

  • On the Help menu, click Activate Product.

If Word is activated, a message tells you that the product was already activated. If Word is not activated, the Office Activation Wizard appears to guide you through the activation process.

 Note   You can open a Word document even if the program is not activated, but you cannot use many commands and you cannot save the document.

ShowThe document is locked for editing by another user

If you see the following message when you try to modify a document in Word 2000 or Word 2002: "The document is locked for editing by another user," Word previously might have shut down improperly while the file was still open.

The document also might be locked for editing if the original version of the document is already open, or if the document is shared over a network and another user opened it. This applies to Word 2000, 2002, and 2003.

 Note   If the Group similar taskbar buttons option is selected, the original version of the document might be open without your realizing it. Click the Word button on the Windows taskbar to see the names of all the Word documents that are open.

ShowYour document is protected by a password

If the document owner protected the document with a password (including a blank password), you might be restricted to read-only access unless you enter the correct password. If you forget or lose a password, you cannot edit the document.

ShowThis modification is not allowed because the document is locked

If you see this message at the bottom of the application window when you try to modify a document: "This modification is not allowed because the document is locked," the document is protected with an editing restriction of No changes (Read only) or Comments in Word 2003 (or a restriction of Comments in Word 2002 and Word 2000). The document author used the Protect Document features to restrict editing. Menu commands also might be unavailable, depending on the permissions that were granted to you by the document author.

 Note   When you open a document that is protected by Information Rights Management (IRM) in Word 2003, you might have permission to view the document but not to change it. When you open the document, the Shared Workspace task pane opens by default on the right side of the application window. In the task pane, click View My Permissions to see your permissions.

 
 
Applies to:
Word 2003