How To Protect Text in a Word Document

By Carl Hose

Microsoft Word is a word processing program for creating everything from simple letters to complex book manuscripts and legal documents. There are times you may find it necessary to protect an entire document or specific text within a document. Microsoft Word makes it easy for users to selectively protect documents and text with a range of customizable security features. Learning to use these security features is easy and will allow you decide who has the privilege to access and edit your documents.

Things You'll Need

  • Microsoft Word 2007

Step 1

Open the document you want to add security measures to. If you want the entire document protected so none of the text can be accessed at all, for editing or for reading, go to the "Start" button, choose the "Prepare" option and select "Encrypt Document." You will be prompted to enter a password and then prompted to enter the password again for confirmation. From this point on, the document will not be able to be opened without the password.In Word for Mac (version 2008), click the Word menu, select "Preferences," then click on "Security." Enter a password and click on "OK," then confirm your password.

Step 2

Select any text within a document you want to protect. Go to the "Review" ribbon (called menus in older versions of Word) and click the "Protect Document" icon. A document protection palette will appear. Check the box next to "Allow Only This Type of Editing in the Document" and use the drop-down menu to designate the type of editing privileges allowed for selected text.

Step 3

Click on "Formatting Restrictions," choose "Settings" and check the formatting options allowed for selected text. Uncheck any of the text formatting options you don't want users to have access to.

Step 4

Use the drop-down menu to designate which users your security applies to. Check the box next to "Everyone" if you want your security to apply to anyone who accesses the document. Save your document with the new document and text security in place. Your document and selected text will be secure.

Tips & Warnings

  • Since the newest version of Word (2007) has a completely different interface, the security features will be located differently in Word 2003 or Word for Mac. Use the Interactive Command Reference Interface to do the same procedures in earlier versions of Word (see References).
  • Be careful when you choose a password for your documents. If you forget your password, you will not be able to open your document.