How to Restrict Editing Word Document [Word 2007 and 2010]

If you want to restrict editing Word document and stop the readers from doing any type of changes to Word document then there is a special feature included in Word 2010 and 2007, which allows users to restrict other readers from document editing and formatting.

The restrict editing Word document feature is available in Word and Excel. In the following we are writing the method that how to apply Restrict Editing in Word 2010 and Word 2007 after a jump.

See also: How to Password Protect Word Document


Restrict Editing in Word 2010

Go to “File” tab then click on “Info” > “Protect Document” button under “Permissions” and there select the option “Restrict Document”

The following “Restrict Formatting and Editing” window will appear

First available option is “Formatting Restrictions, so mark the check box followed by “Limit formatting to selection of styles”and click on settings

Following “Formatting Restrictions” window will open where you can select different options according to your requirement and click “OK” button when finish

Now, have a look on the second option “Editing Restrictions”, so check mark the box followed by “Allow only this type of editing in the document”. From the list box select any option according to your requirement as we selected “No changes (Read only)” and this will restrict editing Word document completely.

Now, if you want to give the right to readers to edit some sections of document then first select that section of document so click on the starting point and by pressing left button of mouse drag to the end point. Now, mark the check box followed by “Everyone” on “Restrict Formatting and Editing” window

Now click on “Yes, Start Enforcing Protection” button to make the change effective, it will ask for Password to protect the document so “Enter new password” and “Reenter password to confirm” and click OK”

Close following window. Now “Restrict Formatting and Editing” is enabled for the document

Now you will observe that selected text which is allowed for editing is highlighted in document. So the readers can only modify that section of document and could also save that. Otherwise the above window will display if a reader try to edit any other portion of the document.

Disable Restrict Editing in Word 2010

Simply open your document which is enabled with “Restrict Editing”. Click on “File” tab > “Info” > “Protect Document” button under “Permissions” and then select “Restrict Document”

The following screen will display so click on “Stop Protection” button at the bottom

It will ask for password, so enter password which was set before and click “OK”

Here deselect all the check boxes

It will prompt the following window so click on “Yes” button and that is all

Restrict Editing in Word 2007

Open your document in Word 2007 then click on “Review” tab > “Protect Document” > “Restrict Formatting and Editing” option

The following “Restrict Formatting and Editing” window will appear besides your document

Now follow the steps written above from Step 2 to onward for Word 2010, as the feature of “Restrict Formatting and Editing” is similar in both versions of Word

16 comments… add one
Rock June 22, 2010, 6:56 pm

Nice feature of Microsoft Word to stop accidental editing

tech June 26, 2010, 4:36 pm

Restrict editing is usful

riz July 4, 2010, 6:39 am

Rally useful for bigger documents

yatish November 20, 2010, 6:21 pm

it is not at all usefull..

just select the text copy it and paste it in other word file…

Neena May 19, 2011, 5:41 am

All students does not know this so its helpful for teachers

msofficer December 10, 2010, 8:21 pm

Wish Microsoft can have the same quality of documentation for office. This was really helpful and potentially saved us thousands of dollars for an alternative solution.

jason August 12, 2011, 1:31 pm

Great site! I’ve used a few of your tips that were never seen anywhere from the publisher – my favorite so far being the mass removal of all hyperlinks within a selected area. Thanks for sharing!

I am, however, having a bit of trouble with this attempt at maintaining my own formatting within Word files that are emailed as attachments to others, or uploaded, which I have no clue about. I’m using Word 2007 and simply trying to hold onto the custom margins, spacing, etc I have made on a resume for use when a site will not accept PDF files (which are my preference). I’ve tried using this function a few times in the past (before I found your site), but the formatting always seems to get lost when I test sending the attachment to a friend (also on Office 2007). What should be a 2 page doc, ends up as a 3 page doc with a strange break in the middle of a bulleted list, creating a middle page with a few lines and then a page break.

I followed your steps this time (same as my prior attempts) with the only thing in question perhaps being what is selected in the “Checked styles are currently allowed” section. I’ve tried a few different options, most recently going with ALL. I do have the “Block theme or scheme switching” and “Block Quick Style Set switching” boxes checked in this window under Formatting. There are NO areas where formatting of any kind is allowed to anyone.

Any ideas/thoughts on why the formatting is not being protected and maintained from pc to pc? Or more importantly, how to make sure it is done going forward?


EBehr September 15, 2011, 4:17 am

Is there a way to allow highlighting when the Restrict Editing is on? Restrict editing is great for reports with multiple authors, but when the review and text editing starts, they use both the comments feature and highlighting.

Lethal Mermaid October 13, 2011, 3:10 pm

Thanks a million!

I have been going out of my mind trying to do this, been through lots of websites discussing activating ActivX, adding the Developer tab, even going into some sort of programming. My knowledge limited to typing, computing and some formatting, I was about to give up when I stumbled upon this site.

Truly heaven sent! I am very much greatful!

Please do not tire helping us with your useful tips!

richardjt1 October 14, 2011, 1:03 pm

Thank you for this. What I’m looking for, though, is a way to lock in text at the header and footer (ie our logo at the top and contact details in text at the footer) so that all staff have one, locked form for the company’s letterhead. At the moment these tend to float, or are impacted by random changes on everyone’s machine (eg website address turns blue in some, is underlined in other, or goes bold and throws out the alignment). By following this I can achieve that, but at the cost of having the whole document highlighted in yellow. I can turn that highlighting off manually myself, but cannot save and circulate without the yellow highlighting for editable text re-appearing! There must be a way, but it’s frustrating, as we cannot circulate documents to our clients in the form they should actually appear…

j marquis May 11, 2012, 3:55 am


Nens June 11, 2012, 9:57 am

Useful for teachers, thanks for this tip.

manandsam July 24, 2013, 2:05 am

thanks for telling me how to stop it

Still stuck November 1, 2013, 11:02 pm

Very helpful EXCEPT that after I enforce protection I need to be able to check the checkboxes AND edit the rest of the document, and #2 – editing restrictions, only let’s me choose one option. If I choose “read only” and select the portions I want to be able to edit, then I can’t check the checkboxes and vice versa. Advice??

Tania August 27, 2014, 7:23 pm

In few cells of a Table, I’d like to keep text as label format so that no one can change the text while copying and reusing the file, can anybody tell me how to do that?

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