If you’re sharing a document and you want to avoid changes being made to it, you can force Word to prompt the user to open the document as read only when they open the file. We’ll show you how to enable this setting.

Open the file you want opened as read only and click the “File” tab.

On the backstage screen, click “Save As” in the list of items on the left.

On the “Save As” screen, select a place on the left. If the folder in which you want to save your document is listed under “Current Folder” or “Recent Folders”, click that folder.

If the folder you want is not listed under “Current Folder” or “Recent Folders”, click the “Browse” button under the list of “Recent Folders” on the right.


On the “Save As” dialog box, navigate to the desired folder, if necessary, and change the filename if you want to save the file under a different name. Select “General Options” from the “Tools” drop-down menu.

On the “General Options” dialog box, select the “Read-only recommended” check box so there is a check mark in the box and click “OK”.

Click “Save” to save the document with this setting.

This procedure also works in Excel. The “General Options” dialog box is a bit different, but the option is the same.

Anyone who opens the file in Word or Excel will now be prompted to choose “Open as Read-Only”.

Profile Photo for Lori Kaufman Lori Kaufman
Lori Kaufman is a technology expert with 25 years of experience. She's been a senior technical writer, worked as a programmer, and has even run her own multi-location business.
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