How to Prevent Copying in a Word Document

By Eric Som

Microsoft Office users who regularly use Word to create and share documents may or may not know that documents created in Microsoft Word can be copy-protected. A copy-protected document, also commonly referred to as a read-only document, allows a personal computer (PC) user to restrict other PC users from making modifications, or edits to a documents. Microsoft Office users, according to Microsoft, “can use the ‘Mark as Final’ command to make the document read-only and prevent changes to the document.” The “Mark as Final” command is only available in Microsoft Office 2007.

Step 1

Create a Word document in Microsoft Office 2007. If you already have a Word 2007 document, open the document.

Step 2

Find the “Mark as Final” tool by clicking on the Office button located at the top left-hand corner and then go to the “Prepare” button; the “Mark as final” command is located under “Prepare.”

Step 3

Disable all proofing tools, such as copying and pasting, in your Word 2007 document by clicking on the “Mark as Final” tool located under the “Prepare” sub-menu.

Tips & Warnings

  • Microsoft warns that "documents that have been marked as final in a 2007 Microsoft Office system program will not be read-only if they are opened in earlier versions of Microsoft Office programs."
  • Microsoft also warns that "the Mark as Final command is not a security feature. Anyone who receives an electronic copy of a document that has been marked as final can edit that document by removing Mark as Final status from the document."