An Office 365 Tip on Restricting Editing in Word 2016

Posted on April 1, 2016 by Russell Smith in Office with 0 Comments

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In today’s Ask the Admin, I’ll show you how to apply editing restrictions to Word documents.

Ensuring that complex documents that are shared among colleagues or partners remain accurate is important. In situations where documents need input to update important details, unwanted changes might be made that unnoticed or delay the final distribution of the document.

Word 2016 Restrict Editing - Start protection (Image Credit: Russell Smith)

Word 2016 Restrict Editing – Start protection (Image Credit: Russell Smith)

The Restrict Editing feature in Word 2016 allows a document owner to not only determine which sections of a document others can edit, but it’s also possible to enforce Tracked Changes so that if you want to open up a document for editing, you can easily see what’s been changed.

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Start protection

Restrict Editing locks an entire document but allows the owner to open sections for editing. So rather than selecting which sections you want to lock, you must select which areas you want to make available for editing.

  • Open a document in Word 2016.
  • Switch to the Review tab on the ribbon.
  • Click Restrict Editing in the Protect section of the ribbon.
  • In the Restrict Editing panel on the right, check Allow only this type of editing in the document under 2. Editing restrictions.
  • No changes (Read only) is the default restriction type. If you’d like to set a different restriction level for the document, click the menu and select from Tracked changes, Comments, or Filling in forms.
  • Now select the parts of the document you’d like to open up for editing without restrictions. If you want to select more than one area, click CTRL while selecting the area using the mouse.
  • Once you’ve selected all the areas you’d like to mark as open for editing, check Everyone under Exceptions (optional) in the Restrict Editing panel. The areas marked for as open for editing will now appear enclosed in square brackets.
  • Alternatively, you can click More users… and allow only specific users to modify the sections marked as open for editing.
  • Now click Yes, Start Enforcing Protection in the Restrict Editing panel.
  • In the Start Enforcing Protection dialog, it’s optional to enter and confirm a password. Click OK to start protection.

You’ll now see that by default, sections open for editing are highlighted in yellow. In the Restrict Editing panel, you can opt to disable highlighting, find the next editable region, or show all editable regions.

Stop protection

To stop protection, follow the instructions below:

  • Make sure the Restrict Editing panel is open. If you can’t see it, switch to the Review tab on the ribbon and click Restrict Editing in the Protect section of the ribbon.
  • Click Stop Protection at the bottom of the Restrict Editing pane.
  • If you set a password, you’ll need to enter it now to stop protection.
Word 2016 Restrict Editing - Stop protection (Image Credit: Russell Smith)

Word 2016 Restrict Editing – Stop protection (Image Credit: Russell Smith)

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In this article, I showed you how to set editing restrictions on a document, along with steps on how to open sections for editing.

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