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With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company.
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Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Read-Only Documents.
Sometimes you'll want to circulate a file to other people, but you don't want them to change your words. There are several ways you can make your document read-only. The first, and simplest, way is to use the capabilities of your operating system to make the change. Simply create your document, and then (from outside of Word) change the properties of the document to indicate it is read-only.
The other way to accomplish this is from within Word itself, by following these steps:
Figure 1. The Security dialog box.
The only problem with these approaches to protecting your document is that anyone can still load the file and then use the Save As option command to save their own copy of the document. The only sure way around this is to save the document in some other application format (such as a graphic image or in Adobe Acrobat) that precludes any use of the information except for reading.
There is another option that may also fit the bill. This involves saving your document as a Word form, which can be easily protected. To accomplish this, follow these steps if you are using Word 97 or Word 2000:
If you are using Word 2002 or Word 2003, follow these steps:
Figure 2. The Start Enforcing Protection dialog box.
Now nobody can change your document without knowing the password.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (158) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Read-Only Documents.
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