How to Edit a Protected Word Document

By Eric Jay Toll

Protected Word documents are used to ensure that accidental editing does not occur. The protected document feature is generally used with forms and merge documents, although there is nothing preventing its use on complete documents. Protected documents can be assigned a password, which makes editing impossible if the correct key is not known.

Things You'll Need

  • Microsoft Office Word 2007
  • Protected document

Step 1

Open the protected document in Word 2007 or 2010. Check to see if the "Developer" tab is visible on the ribbon.

Step 2

Use this step only if the "Developer" tab is not visible: On the Office button, choose Word Options at the bottom of the window.

Step 3

Use this step only if the "Developer" tab is not visible: Check the box marked "Show Developer tab in the Ribbon."

Step 4

Open the document. Select the "Developer" tab on the Ribbon. On a protected document, the "Protect Document" button will be highlighted. Select this, and a task pane will open on the right.

Step 5

Select the "Stop Protection" button at the bottom of the task pane. The document is now ready for editing.

Step 6

Edit the document. To protect it again, choose the "Protect Document" button on the Developer tab. A task pane will open on the right. Select the options to be enforced and then the "Yes, Start enforcing protection" button.

Tips & Warnings

  • Back up the original protected document in its "protected" mode in case of errors to the fillable fields or other form content controls.
  • Protect your document from being copied and edited by using the protection features (Step 6) to preclude copying from the protected document.
  • Sometimes, the original author will add password security to a protected document. To "stop protection," the password must be correctly entered.