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: Protecting Fields.

Protecting Fields

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 9, 2016)

Jonathan expressed frustration with some of the users in his company. His technical authors use a standard template for documentation. The template has fields in it that are populated by completing the information in the Properties dialog box (File | Properties). If other people use the template, they don't have their version of Word set to display fields, so they often type information directly into the document created by the template, thereby destroying the fields. Jonathan was looking for a way to protect the fields so that they can't be typed over and destroyed.

There is no way to protect only the fields in a document. There are ways around this, however. One way is to "notify" users where all the fields are located. With a visual reminder, users may be less likely to type over the fields and destroy them. Word can, of course, shade fields so that they are visible, but a user may not have this setting turned on. You can, in your template, set up AutoNew and AutoOpen macros to turn on the shading:

Sub AutoNew()
    With ActiveWindow.View
    .FieldShading = wdFieldShadingAlways
    End With
End Sub
Sub AutoOpen()
    With ActiveWindow.View
    .FieldShading = wdFieldShadingAlways
    End With
End Sub

This approach, of course, doesn't prevent overtyping the fields; it simply makes sure that the user can't say "I didn't know a field was there." You can get more complex in your macros, developing one that continually checks the Fields collection to make sure that the number of fields in the document does not change (increase or decrease). If a change in the number of fields is detected, the macro could then take whatever remedial action you deem necessary.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the WordTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (214) 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: Protecting Fields.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Moving Found Text Down On a Page

When you use the Search feature to find information, if the information is not on the visible page, then Word displays ...

Discover More

Importing Huge Data Files

Sometimes, when importing data created by other programs, you may find that there is too much for Excel to handle. Here's ...

Discover More

Margins for All Documents Changing

Have you had the margins in a group of documents change without you knowingly doing anything? This tip explores some ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (menu)

Inserting the Date Your Document Was Last Printed

Word keeps track of each time you print your document, and you can automatically insert the last printing date anywhere ...

Discover More

Calculating Dates with Fields

Can you calculate dates using fields? Yes, but you probably don't want to except as a learning experience. An easier way ...

Discover More

Inserting Fields

Fields are used for a variety of dynamic purposes in a document. There are a couple of ways you can easily insert fields, ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is six more than 8?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.