You can protect a Word 2013 document from being edited, either by or by restricting edits to just some text or modifications. If your intent is to restrict access completely, so it can be opened only by authorized users. To "lock" just some text or parts of the document, use the Restrict Formatting and Editing dialog available from the Protect section of the Review tab.
To prevent your users from changing the look of your document -- for instance, by using unapproved styles -- use the Formatting Restrictions feature. This restriction has no effect on content, so does not protect your document from actual content edits. From the Restrict Editing Panel, check Limit Formatting to a Selection of Styles. Click the Settings link to launch the Formatting Restrictions dialog. The Limit Formatting to a Selection of Styles is enabled by default. This option restricts other users to only the selected styles, maintaining consistency in your document. If this is what you want, select which styles to restrict, or all. Choosing Recommended Minimum selects only the most common styles.
Under Formatting are three options: Allow AutoFormat to override formatting restrictions: Allows Word to automatically format certain text such as hyperlinks or bullets, even if the related styles are locked. This option is available only when the Limit Formatting to a Selection of Styles check box is enabled. Block Theme or Scheme switching: Prevents users from changing the document's theme. *Block Quick Style Set switching: Prevents users from changing the style set.
The Editing Restrictions dialog is deceptively simple but powerful. When you check the box Allow Only This Type of Editing in the Document, a pop-up launches to define the specifics. To disallow any edits, check No changes (Read only) to protect text. Alternatively, you can limit edits to just elements of the document: tracked changes, comments or filling in forms.
But what if you need to allow editing privileges to some users? You can now fine-tune exactly who can edit the document -- and exactly what they can edit -- whether entire paragraphs, just phrases or even a single word. Select the relevant text and choose whether to restrict editing permissions on the selected content to all users by checking Everyone, or to just specific individuals.
To allow specific individuals, click the link More users... and enter one or more usernames in the pop-up, separating each with a semi-colon. You must include your own name to retain editing permissions yourself. All selected text on which you have allowed edits is highlighted in purple so you can easily identify it as you work on your document.
This panel also includes access to by clicking Restrict Permission... under the See Also section. IRM goes way beyond restricting editing to disallow data from being printed, forwarded or copied.
Choosing How to Enforce Restrictions
After you have gone through your document to identify exceptions, if applicable, and you are ready to turn on document protection, click Yes, Start Enforcing Protection to launch the Start Enforcing Protection dialog. You can select either Password to password-protect your document or User authentication. Unless you have set up IRM on your system -- unlikely for most people -- choosing a password is the only way to go, and the easiest; plus, it's the only choice if multiple people might be working on the document at the same time.
Word cannot retrieve a lost password. Write down your password in a safe place. If you lose it, attempts to copy the document or edit a copy do not work.
Editing a Restricted Document
After you've set your password, the Restrict Editing panel switches from displaying configuration options to displaying your permissions. Click Find Next Region I Can Edit to identify areas you are permitted to edit. The Highlight the Regions I Can Edit check box is enabled by default. If you try to edit text for which you have no permission, the text does not change and the Restrict Editing panel displays "You may only view this region."
To turn off protection, click Stop Protection and enter the password.
A workaround exists if you do forget your password or if you simply must edit a document. This entails downloading and installing the free Z-Zip software, renaming the DOCX file extension to ZIP and editing an XML settings file within the archive. See Resources. Don't use this or any other method to avoid copyright protection or otherwise negate legal restrictions.
You can also create forms in which users can edit only specific fields. Create a Word document with and select Filling in forms from the Editing Restrictions section on the Restrict Editing panel.