How to Lock Parts of a Document So They Are Not Editable in Microsoft Word

By Darrin Koltow

Word's security features allow you to restrict changing documents in various ways. For example, you can prevent other users from modifying certain styles like body text or headings in a document. Only those with a password can edit the document portions that contain the restricted styles. In this example, the protected styles are both non-editable and invisible to users. If you want all users to be able to see certain document portions but edit only selected portions, break the document into sections and tell Word that your document is a form.

Step 1

Open any existing document in Word, then click above a particular paragraph. The portions of the document that come before and after this paragraph will not be editable once you protect the document.

Step 2

Click the "Page layout" tab, then click the "Breaks" button of the "Page setup" panel. Word will display a list of types of sections you can insert.

Step 3

Click the "Continuous" icon to insert a section break that doesn't add any new pages to your document.

Step 4

Click below the paragraph you clicked above in step 1, then insert another continuous section break at this point. Use steps 2 and 3 to insert the second section break.

Step 5

Press the "Control" and "Shift" keys simultaneously, then press "*." Word will display the text "Section break," which lets you see the three sections you've divided your document into.

Step 6

Repeat step 5 to end the display of the section breaks, then click the "Review" tab. This tab holds Word's security features.

Step 7

Click the "Protect Document" button of the "Protect" panel, then click the "Restrict formatting" item. Word will display a new pane in which you can specify which document sections will be editable to others.

Step 8

Click the checkbox labeled "Allow this type," which is under the second heading of the new pane you opened in the previous step.

Step 9

Click the down arrow of the dropdown box below the heading just mentioned, then click the "Forms" item. This action makes Word treat your document as a form, which is needed to enable protection of the sections you defined earlier.

Step 10

Click the link that reads "Select sections," which is below the dropdown list you used in the previous step.

Step 11

Click the checkbox labeled "Section 2," to remove the check for that section, then click "OK." This step tells Word that you want everyone to be able to edit that section. Word will lock sections 1 and 3 from editing.

Step 12

Click the button under the step 3 heading that's labeled "Start enforcing."

Step 13

Type a password in the dialog box that appears, then click "OK." Word will begin enforcing the restrictions you've made.

Step 14

Click anywhere in the paragraph you selected for editing by anyone, then type something. Word will allow the editing.

Step 15

Click on any paragraph before or after the editable paragraph. Word will not move the insertion caret to the place you clicked. Instead, it moves the caret to the start of the editable section.

Step 16

Click the "Stop protection," then type the password you entered earlier. Repeat the previous step. Word now allows editing in the formerly restricted sections.