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Chapter 26. Managing Document Collaborat... > Limiting the Changes Reviewers Can M...

Limiting the Changes Reviewers Can Make in Your Document

As you've learned, one of the main benefits of Word's Comments feature is that it prevents reviewers from cluttering up a document with text that must simply be deleted later. You can go beyond inviting reviewers to use Word's Comments feature. You can set up your document so that they can do nothing but make comments. Follow these steps:

Choose Tools, Protect Document. The Protect Document task pane opens (see Figure 26.13).

Figure 26.13. Using the Protect Document dialog box, you can prevent reviewers from doing anything except making comments.

Check the Allow Only This Type of Editing in the Document check box. New options appear in the Protect Document check box (see Figure 26.14).

Figure 26.14. When you begin setting editing restrictions, new options appear.

Choose Comments from the drop-down box.


To limit reviewers to making changes using Word's Tracked Changes feature, choose Tracked Changes instead.

To limit reviewers to filling in Word forms, choose Filling in Forms instead.

Click Yes, Start Enforcing Protection. (You may have to scroll down inside the task pane to see this option.) The Start Enforcing Protection dialog box appears (see Figure 26.15).

Figure 26.15. Using the Start Enforcing Protection dialog box, you can control the level of protection in your document.

Choose which level of document protection you want:

  • If you choose Prevent Accidental Changes, you can assign a password to your document. However, anyone who knows the password can remove it—and therefore remove the protection. Moreover, the document is not encrypted, so it may be at least partly readable in text editors such as Notepad. In fact, reviewers who can view your document in order to comment on it can also copy all of your document's text, images, and fields into another document that has no protection at all.

  • If, on the other hand, you choose Prevent Intentional or Malicious Changes, the document will be encrypted. Moreover, Word will permit users to remove document protection only if they have been authenticated via an SSL-secured authentication system, such as Microsoft Active Directory.

If you chose Prevent Accidental Changes, enter a password in the Enter New Password (Optional) dialog box; then reenter the password in the Reenter Password to Confirm dialog box.


If you do not use a password, when a reviewer opens the document he or she will still be restricted to making comments only. However, choosing Tools, Unprotect Document will unlock the document for any kind of editing.

Click OK. The protection is applied.



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