There are many of us who create documents practically every day. We not only create them, we also modify, share, send and reread them. For work, for red tape, for hobbies, for many reasons, we may need to protect our files so that no one else writes on them (or only who we want to do).
One of the main problems that you can find when sending documents in Word is the fact that when sharing this document without writing protection it can be modified, unintentionally or consciously. For this reason, you may have chosen on many occasions to change the document to PDF or paper format. However, you can now write-protect a file in Word so that it cannot be edited.
Advantages and uses of locking a Word file
One of the advantages of blocking a Word file is that you do not have to block everything , you can leave certain parts editable, add graphics, watermarks and much more, customizing it according to our needs with the possibility that someone else can edit where be allowed.
One of the main uses that we can give to this function is to create documents that can be signed , but also have validity when one of the parties is afraid that the document will be edited before or after being signed. You can leave the document locked against editing, except in the signature field (of the signature and date or any other relevant data).
On the other hand, you make sure that the other person who receives the document accidentally or willingly modifies it , deletes it, deletes certain parts, and thinks that you have done it or cannot access important information because something unexpected has happened. This is especially important in official documents, certain texts, CV and more.
One of the main advantages is that you can prevent your documents from being copied or edited by third parties. Thus, they can also pass your documents as their own, modify them to their liking or even edit something that is harmful to you. This way, on an unprotected asset, other people can profit from your work or even worse.
Another advantage is that you can add elements such as the logo, video or additional information to the written document in a special way without it being modified by third parties.
Write protect the file
Then you have to go to the Review tab , then click on the Protect option and finally accept Restrict editing . You can restrict the formatting and editing of the document. In addition, you have to check the box Allow only this type of editing in the document and give No changes to put the read-only mode . Accept the changes by clicking Yes. Apply protection .
Since the goal is to protect against other people’s editing without access, you should maintain the possibility that you or others to whom you give special permissions can make subsequent edits to the text. Therefore, the most used method is the password to protect the document. With it you can edit what you want, and for someone else to do it you just have to tell them the corresponding password.
By following these steps correctly, only people who know the password will be able to edit the created or modified Word file. Those who do not have the password will not be able to make changes to the document, but they will be able to access and view it.
Leave certain parts editable
If you want to protect the file so that other people do not edit it, but you really do want parts that can be edited , you can leave certain parts editable by protecting the file against editing.
It is a possibility that you may not have known about until now, but that can be interesting if you want the other party to be able to make changes, modifications or additions to certain parts of the document.
If you want one or more parts of your document to be modified, you have to follow these same steps, but indicating the corresponding exceptions before applying read-only protection. Thus, you select the area of the document or paragraph that can be modified, indicating that Everyone will be able to edit this selected area, and apply the protection later.
Once this is done correctly, if you do not know if you have done it correctly you can check it in the document itself, you will be able to share and send the document knowing that it cannot be edited or modified except for the editable areas.
Editing a protected file
As you may have seen, you can protect any document in Word against possible third-party edits and even leave certain parts editable if you are interested or necessary. In this way, users who receive this document will not be able to edit it unless they have the password or want to do it in areas where it can be edited.
Therefore, we are going to tell you how you can edit a protected Word, how you can unlock it and the existing protection methods.
Make changes to the document
If you want to make changes to the document and you have the password , you just have to use it to make the edits you need or want. If you want someone else to have permission to make changes, you can give them the password.
However, if you do not have a password or edit permissions, you can only write in the areas that have been left out of protection. That is, the editable areas.
Search for items that can be edited
If you try to make changes to a protected area, a message will appear indicating that the modification is not allowed because the selection is locked.
Users who receive the protected document will be able to see which are the editable areas of the document to know where they can write and where they cannot. You can also show all the areas to edit or find the next unprotected area.
To see the regions where you have editing permission you must go to Review, Protect, Restrict editing and Find the next area that I can edit or Show all areas that I can edit .
How to unlock a protected document
One of the questions that more people ask is how to unlock a protected document. To do this, the first thing you have to do is have the password or authentication method established. You cannot unlock it without this data, otherwise the document would not be really protected.
If you are an authenticated owner for the document or have the password, you can unlock it in the Review tab, under Protect and Restrict editing . When you get to this option, you just have to give Stop protection . In case it is password protected, you just have to write it and that’s it.
The most common method of unlocking a protected document is by means of a password. This can be done by anyone with the password, not just whoever created the document. In this way, you should know that if you give someone the password of the document, they can both edit any part of it and unlock its edition. Therefore, you must be careful when choosing who you give editing access to documents.
A very interesting point is that you can apply password write protection, however, there is also another less common possibility to use if you want.
You can protect the document with the user authentication method , so only authenticated users can remove the protection of the document, which is encrypted and has the Restricted access option enabled . If you choose this option, it will not be protected with a password but with user authentication.
Can I remove the password with DocRecrypt
In certain versions of Word, the DocRecrypt tool can be used to unlock password-protected files, something that may be interesting for IT professionals in a company or for anyone who needs it.
If you have considered this option, you should know that this does not work in hidden files or files marked as read-only. What you can do is remove the configuration, decrypt the file and mark it as Hidden or Read-only again.