How to Password Protect (Restrict Editing) MS Word Documents

You can add protection to individual content controls in a template to help prevent someone from deleting or editing a particular content control or group of controls, or you can help protect all of the template content with a password.

Assign a Password to a MS Word template

To assign a password to the document so that only reviewers who know the password can remove the protection, do the following:

  1. Open the template that you want to assign a password to.
  2. On the Review tab, in the Protect group, click Restrict Editing.
  3. Under Start enforcement, click Yes, Start Enforcing Protection.
  4. Type a password in the Enter new password (optional) box, and then confirm the password.
  5. Important – If you choose not to use a password, anyone can change your editing restrictions.

Use strong passwords that combine uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

Weak passwords don’t mix these elements.

Strong password: Y6dh! et5.

Weak password: House27.

Passwords should be at least 8 characters long. In general, longer a password is, the more secure it is.

It is critical that you remember your password. If you forget your password, Microsoft cannot retrieve it.

Store the passwords that you write down in a secure place away from the information that they help protect.

Add protection to parts of a template

  1. Open the template that you want to add protection to.
  2. Select the content controls to which you want to restrict changes. Tip Select multiple controls by holding down the CTRL key while you click the controls.
  3. On the Developer tab, in the Controls group, click Group, then Group again. Developer mode group controls.
  4. On the Developer tab, in the Controls group, click Properties. Developer mode control properties
  5. In the Content Control Properties dialog box, under Locking, do any of the following:
  6. Select the Content control cannot be deleted check box, which allows the content of the control to be edited but the control itself cannot be deleted from the template or a document that is based on the template.
  7. Select the Contents cannot be edited check box, which allows you to delete the control but does not allow you to edit the content in the control.

Use this setting when you want to protect text if it is included.

For example, if you often include a disclaimer, you can help ensure that the text stays the same, and you can delete the disclaimer for documents that don’t require it.