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Allowing Only Comments in a Document

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: Allowing Only Comments In a Document.

Word includes the ability to protect your document so that only you can make changes to it; everyone else must add their changes by adding annotations or comments. If this type of document protection appeals to you, follow these steps if you are using Word 97 or Word 2000:

  1. Choose Protect Document from the Tools menu. The Protect Document dialog box appears.
  2. Make sure the Comments radio button is selected.
  3. Enter an optional password. (This is a good idea, since anyone can turn protection off if you don't specify a password.)
  4. Click on OK. Word displays the Confirm Password dialog box.
  5. Enter your password again.
  6. Click on OK.
  7. Save your document.

If you are using Word 2002 or Word 2003, follow these steps instead:

  1. Choose Protect Document from the Tools menu. Word displays the Protect Document pane at the right of the document window.
  2. In the Editing Restrictions section of the pane, choose the Allow Only This Type of Editing in the Document checkbox. Word enables the drop-down list under the checkbox.
  3. Using the drop-down list, choose Comments.
  4. Click Yes, Start Enforcing Protection. Word displays the Start Enforcing Protection dialog box.
  5. Enter a password (twice) in the dialog box.
  6. Click on OK.
  7. Save the file as normal.

With this type of protection turned on, people can still load and read the document. The only difference is that they cannot change anything in the document. The only thing they can do is add comments, which you can later review and act upon as desired.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3430) 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: Allowing Only Comments In a Document.

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