How to Protect a Word 2007 Document

When you're sharing important Word documents, such as fillable forms or reports, with others, it’s always a good idea to protect them. Encryption and password protection can prevent unauthorized users from accessing your personal information and can restrict them from editing the document. There are a couple of ways to go about protecting a Word 2007 document—by restricting formatting and editing and setting a password.

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Protect your Word 2007 documents from other users by locking them with a password or editing restrictions.

Prepare a Document for Sharing

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Open a document you want to protect in Microsoft Word.

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Click the “Microsoft Office" button. Click “Prepare.”

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Click “Inspect Document” to let Word review the document for any sensitive information you might want to exclude.

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Click the “Microsoft Office" button, then “Prepare” again. Click “Encrypt Document” to set a password for the document. This will prevent others who don’t know the password from opening the document. Write down the password in a secure place, as you cannot retrieve it if you forget it.

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Click the “Mark as Final” under the “Prepare” menu to save the document as read-only. Do this once you’ve created the final version of the document and are ready to send it to others. It will prevent users from editing the file, as they will only be able to view and print it.

Restrict Formatting and Editing

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Open a Word 2007 document you plan to distribute to others, such as a fillable form. You can use the “Protect Document” command to lock the document and then choose which parts of the document other people can edit.

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Click the “Developer” tab. In the “Protect” group, click “Protect Document.” This will launch the “Restrict Formatting and Editing” task pane.

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Click the check box next to “Allow only this type of editing in the document.” In the drop-down menu, choose “Filling in Forms” to allow users to only edit the form. To fully lock a document, you can instead choose “No changes (Read only).”

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Click “Yes, Start Enforcing Protection” at the bottom.” Enter a password to encrypt the document. If you choose not to enter a password here, other people can go in and change the editing restrictions.