The original creator of a Word document can choose to mark the file as read only in order to prevent people from editing the contents of the document.
Usually you will see a pop-up notification when opening a read only Word document. In case you missed the pop-up, you can identify a read only document by seeing if you are able to edit the file. If you cannot edit it then the document is probably read only.
Rest assured though, it is possible for you to remove the read only status from a Word document and edit the file in case you need to make changes.
Remove Read Only from Word Document by Changing Restrictions
The easiest way to remove read only in Word is by changing the restrictions on the document. Here is how you can change the restrictions.
1. Click on Review from the top menu and then click on Restrict Editing
2. Click on the Stop Protection button, which will be located near the bottom right corner.
3. If you or the original document creator entered a password to protect the document then you will see a pop asking for the password. Enter the password and click on OK.
Tip: If you do not remember the password then try the last method.
You will now notice that read only mode has been removed and you are free to edit the Word document.
Change Trust Center Settings to Disable Read Only Mode in Word
If the Word document has been downloaded from the internet or was an Outlook attachment, then most likely Trust Center has blocked editing of the file.
The reason Trust Center blocks editing of files from the internet is because they can sometimes be infested with viruses that can be executed on your computer.
Here is how to stop Trust Center from preventing you from editing the file.
1. Open Word. If you already have a document open, close it and open Word.
2. From the Word home page, click on Options from near the bottom left corner.
3. Now click on Trust Center from the left sidebar and then click on the Trust Center Settings button from the right pane.
4. Now from the left sidebar, click on Protected View
5. You will see three options that are checked. Uncheck all three options and then click on OK to save your changes.
The document should now be editable.
Change the File’s Properties
If you are able to edit the Word document but unable to save it without creating a new document, then it is likely that an option titled read-only was checked in the file’s properties section.
Here is how to disable that option.
- Windows: Right click on the Word document and click on Properties. Next uncheck the Read Only option and then click on Apply to save your changes.
- Mac: Right click on the Word document and from the dropdown click on Get Info. Next uncheck the Locked option.
Save as a New Document
If none of the methods above helped to remove read only from the Word document, then the last option is to save the file as a new document.
While saving the file as a new document does not remove read only from the original document, it still allows you to edit the contents of the original document.
1. Press the Ctrl + A keys to select the entire document. On Mac’s press the Command + A keys.
2. Press Ctrl + C to copy the text. On Mac’s press Command + C.
3. From the top left corner, click on File > New and then click on Blank document
4. Now press Ctrl + V to paste the text into the new document. On Mac’s press Command + V.
5. Save the document by clicking on the Save icon from the top and then choosing a location to save.
You will now be able to edit the contents of the original read only document.