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If you’re collaborating on a document with several other people, there is always a chance that the content you wanted to remain untouched gets edited. Protect yourself from human error by protecting specific parts of a Word document from editing.

Protecting Specific Content in a Word Document

So you’re getting ready to send out your Word doc, but you want to make sure that certain parts of the document remain untouched. Instead of leaving this up to trust, you can take advantage of a feature that allows making specific parts of your content read-only, rendering them un-editable.

First, go ahead and open the Word document to be protected and head over to the “Review” tab.

Review tab

Next, click the “Restrict Editing” button.

restrict editing in protect section

The “Restrict Editing” pane will appear on the right side of Word. Here, tick the “Allow only this type of editing in the document” checkbox.

tick box under editing restrictions

Once ticked, you’ll notice the drop-down menu underneath becomes selectable. Make sure “No changes (Read only)” is selected from the menu. You’ll also notice a new “Exceptions” option, but we’ll come back to that later.

no changes read only

Now, you’ll need to select the parts of the document for which you do want editing allowed. Whatever parts you don’t select will end up as read-only. Go ahead and select the text by clicking and dragging your mouse across the text. If you have specific content in two separate sections that you’d like to keep open for editing, hold the Ctrl key while you click and drag to add them to your selection.

Once the text is selected, head back over to the “Restrict Editing” pane and tick the “Everyone” checkbox under the “Exceptions” section. This allows everyone that receives the document to edit the content you selected. If you’re on a company network and would like only to allow specific people to be able to edit the content, select “More users” and enter the users’ names (note that this requires access to a central, network user directory).

everyone exception

Finally, under the “Start enforcement” section, click “Yes, Start Enforcing Protection.”

start enforcing

The “Start Enforcing Protection” window will appear, warning you that the document isn’t encrypted and therefore susceptible to malicious users. You’ll be prompted to enter a password. Go ahead and do so, then select “OK.” If you selected specific people for whom to allow editing, you’d select the “User authentication” option instead.

password protection

Word now highlights, as well as brackets, the selected text. This is an identifier for users that those are the editable sections.

highlighted text

In the right-hand pane, you’ll also notice a new option that lets you hop from editable section to editable section. All you need to do is click “Find Next Region I Can Edit.”

The “Show All Regions I Can Edit” option points out the editable sections, as the name implies. If you’d like to remove the highlights from the text, uncheck the box next to “Highlight the regions I can edit.”

find next region

To remove the protection restrictions on the document, click “Stop Protection” at the bottom of the “Restrict Editing” pane.

stop protection

Now you can safely send out the document for collaboration without the worry of having certain parts edited that should otherwise remain untouched.

Marshall Gunnell Marshall Gunnell
Marshall Gunnell is a writer with experience in the technology industry. He worked at Synology, a manufacturer of network-attached storage solutions. Marshall also serves as CMO and technical staff writer at StorageReview, providing detailed reviews of storage technology.
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