MS-Word / General Formatting

Apply Editing and Formatting Restrictions

As you saw in the previous section, a read-only recommendation gives your document minimal protection. If you want more protection, you can apply editing and formatting restrictions to the document, as described in this section.

For example, you may allow your colleagues to insert comments in a document but not otherwise change it. Or you may enforce change-tracking to make sure that nobody edits the document without their changes being tracked. You can even prevent your colleagues from changing the document at all.

To apply editing and formatting restrictions, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Review | Protect | Protect Document, and then choose Restrict Formatting And Editing from the drop-down menu. Word displays the Restrict Formatting And Editing pane.
  2. If you want to restrict your colleagues to applying only styles you choose, follow these steps:
    • Select the Limit Formatting To A Selection Of Styles check box.
    • Click the Settings link. Word displays the Formatting Restrictions dialog box.
    • Use the check boxes in the Checked Styles Are Currently Allowed list box to specify which styles your colleagues may use. Click the All button to select all the check boxes; click the None button to clear all the check boxes; or click the Recommended Minimum button to make Word select the most widely used styles. For greater control, select or clear the check boxes manually.
    • Select the Allow AutoFormat To Override Formatting Restrictions check box if you want AutoFormat to be able to apply formatting. Normally, this is not a good idea.
    • Select the Block Theme Or Scheme Switching check box if you want to prevent your colleagues from changing the document's theme or color scheme.
    • Select the Block Quick Style Set Switching check box if you want to prevent your colleagues from changing the Quick Style Set applied to the document.
    • Click the OK button. Word closes the Formatting Restrictions dialog box. Depending on the restrictions you chose, Word may warn you that the document may contain formatting or styles that aren't allowed. Click the Yes button if you want Word to remove them; click the No button if you prefer to deal with them manually yourself.
  3. If you want to apply editing restrictions to the document, select the Allow Only This Type Of Editing In The Document check box, and then choose which type in the drop-down list:
    • Tracked: Changes Select this item to force everyone to use tracked changes (revision marks).
    • Comments: Select this item to allow others to use comments but no other editing tool.
    • Filling: In Forms Select this item to allow everyone to use form features (filling in fields) but no other editing.
    • No Changes (Read Only): Select this item to prevent others from making any changes.
  4. If you chose Comments or No Changes (Read Only), you can define exceptions for parts of the document. Follow these steps:
    • If the person or group for whom you want to define an exception doesn't appear in the Groups list box or the Individuals group box, click the More Users button. Word displays the Add Users dialog box.
    • Type each user name or group name and separate the names using semicolons. Click the OK button. Word closes the Add Users button and adds the users and groups to the Exceptions area.
    • Select the area you want the user or group to be able to edit, and then select the user's check box or group's check box in the Exceptions area. Repeat this process as needed to assign other areas that each user or group can edit.
    • To check which parts of the document a user or group can edit, move the mouse pointer over the user's name or group's name, and then click the drop-down arrow that appears. Use the Find Next Region This User Can Edit command to move through the user's permitted regions one by one, or use the Show All Regions This User Can Edit command to view all the regions at once. If necessary, use the Remove All Editing Permissions For This User command to revoke the user's current permissions.
  5. Click the Yes, Start Enforcing Protection button. Word displays the Start Enforcing Protection dialog box.
  6. Choose how to protect the document:
    • Password: Select this option button to protect the document with a password but no encryption. This gives moderate protection, but someone could edit the document and remove the password. Type the password in the Enter New Password text box and the Reenter Password To Confirm text box.
    • User: Authentication Select this option button to authenticate users by user name. Word encrypts the document and enables the Restricted Access feature (see the next section). Authentication requires the use of Information Rights Management (IRM), discussed later in this tutorial.
  7. Click the OK button. Word closes the Start Enforcing Protection dialog box, applies the protection, and displays details of the protection and your permissions in the Restrict Formatting And Editing pane.
  8. Click the Save button on the Quick Access Toolbar. Word saves the document.

You can now use the Find Next Region Can Edit button and Show All Regions Can Edit button to find the parts of the document you can change. Select the Highlight The Regions Can Edit check box if you want these areas highlighted so that you can identify them more easily.

To remove the restrictions, click the Stop Protection button in the Restrict Formatting And Editing pane, type your password in the Unprotect Document dialog box, and then click the OK button.

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