Clever Clogs tip # 712
18 August 2022

Protect your file from accidental changes (Microsoft Word) *

Did you know you can limit how much can be done to your document? For example, you may want to set it so that it always opens read-only. Or at least, so that it will prompt you to do so.

Here's how:

  1. Create or open the document you want to protect.
  2. On the File tab, in the Info category, click Protect Document.
  3. Click Always Open Read-Only.
  4. Press the Esc key in the top left of your keyboard and continue editing or save your document, as normal.

In future, when you get the prompt simply press ENTER if you want to open it read-only or ALT + N if you want to make changes to the document. You can obviously also use your mouse and click on Yes or No, but I think you know by now I love keeping my hands on the keyboard.

By the way, if you're using an earlier version of Word and don't have File > Info you can still protect your document... Press F12 (or select File, Save As), click the Tools button to the left of Save and under General Options uncheck Read-only recommended.

With thanks to Barry for today's tip inspiration. We're doing some one-to-one training and one of the documents we work on keeps giving this prompt.

Related tips

  1. Inspect your document for tracked changes: tip_385.php
  2. Make reviewer names anonymous: tip_449.php

This week's CleverClogsTipTime on LinkedIn

  1. Why are these two settings not the default?
  2. This week's shortcut is CTRL + D
  3. The author would NOT like to open this read-only, thank you very much!


PS Did you notice the other options you can do to control what types of changes people can make to your documents? You can even limit the formatting to a selection of styles. The third option from the top: Restrict Editing. Don't use Styles? Well, you don't know what you're missing! Why not book a one-to-one (90 pounds per hour and an hour could be all you need) and see for yourself all the benefits you get from using Styles. Oh, and don't forget your 10% discount as a tip subscriber!

* Unless stated otherwise this tip is written for Microsoft 365 desktop apps and Windows 10 users, but might also be useful in Office 2010, 2013 and 2016.