3 Ways to Protect Your Document in Microsoft Word 2013

While creating your Word document, some of you might want to secure it and prevent others from viewing or making changes to it. There are some security features in Microsoft Word 2013 that allow you to protect and secure your documents. Let’s check it out.

Microsoft Word 2013 allows the user to make documents read-only so that no one else will be able to edit the document. This is very similar to converting the document to PDF format so that it becomes the final copy without editable content. This feature is called marking the document as final. Follow the steps below to mark the document as final and make it read-only.

1. Go to File -> Info

2. Click on the “Protect Document” drop down button.

3. Select “Mark as Final”

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4. Word will ask for a confirmation stating that the document will be marked as final and then saved. You will have to press the OK button.

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5. You will get an information box stating the following:

This document has been marked as final to indicate that the editing is complete and that this is the final version of the document.When a document is marked as final, the status property is set to “Final” and typing, editing commands and proofing marks are turned off. You can recognize that a document has been marked as Final when the Mark As Final icon displays in the status bar.

You can edit the document again by clicking on the “Edit Anyway” button displayed with a yellow strip at the top.

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Password protection has been around since Word 2007. In Word 2013, you can password protect your documents with the steps below:

1. Go to File -> Info

2. Click on the “Protect Document” drop down button

3. Encrypt with Password

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4. A new dialog window will open asking to enter the encryption password. Enter the password and press OK.

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5. You will need to re-enter the password and press OK again.

Whenever you want to open the document again, Word will ask you for the password.

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Please note that if you forget the encryption password, Microsoft Word does not give any way to recover the document. You will probably need to use third-party password cracking utilities which are either expensive or don’t always work.

There are times when you want to add a form to your document. Word 2013 allows you to create forms with editable fields. You will need to enable the Developer ribbon tab which can be done by following the steps below:

1. Go to File -> Options -> Customize Ribbon.

2. Select the “Developer” checkbox which is unchecked by default. You will see a new tab labeled Developer on the Word 2013 Ribbon.

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After creating the form, you can follow the steps below in order to make only the form fields active for editing. All other text will not be editable.

1. Open the document with the form fields

2. Go to File -> Info

3. Click on the Protect Document dropdown menu and select Restrict Editing

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4. This will open a sidebar with different options. You have to select “Filling in Forms” in Editing Restrictions. Also select the checkbox “Allow only this type of editing in the document”

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5. Click on the “Yes, Start Enforcing Protection” button under “3. Start enforcement”.

6. You will be asked to password protect the document. You can enter the password two times to do so.

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You can give this document with the form to anyone who will be able to enter the form fields and save the document.  Nothing else will be editable. To make it editable again, you will have to enter the password which you created while restricting the document.

While there are plenty of office suite around, none of them are as features rich as Microsoft Word. With the security features mentioned above, you will be able to create and protect your documents with little effort. I always prefer to use Microsoft Word for writing and securing my documents. What about you? Which Microsoft Word security features do you like and use the most?