Solution to the problem: MS Word document is not editable

Published: July 4, 2022

Last Modified: February 8, 2023

Solution to the problem: MS Word document is not editable

 Users who often work in Microsoft Word may encounter certain problems from time to time. We have already talked about solving many of them, but we are still far from considering and finding a solution to each of them.

This article will focus on the problems that arise when trying to open a “foreign” file, that is, one that was not created by you or was downloaded from the Internet. Because of two factors:

Why is the document not editable?

The first reason is the reduced functionality mode (a compatibility issue). It turns on when you try to open a document created in an older version of Word than the one used on a particular computer. The second reason is the inability to edit the document due to the fact that protection is installed on it.

We have already talked about solving the compatibility problem (limited functionality) (link below). If this is your case, our instructions will help you open such a document for editing. In this article, we will look at the second reason and give an answer to the question, “Why is the Word document not being edited?” and also tell you how to fix it.

Editing prohibition

In a Word documents that cannot be edited, almost all elements of the Quick Access Toolbar are inactive in all tabs. Such a documents can be viewed and searched by content, but if you try to change something in it, the Restrict Editing notification appears.

Word’s Navigation Feature

If the prohibition on editing is set to “formal”, that is, the documents is not password protected, then such a prohibition can be tried to be disabled. Otherwise, only the user who set it up or the group administrator (if the file was created on the local network) can access the editing option.

Note: The “Documents Protect” notice also appears in the file details.

 Note: “Documents Protection” is set in the “Review” tab, designed for reviewing, comparing, making edits, and collaborating on documents.

Word Examining

1. In the Restrict Editing window, click the Disable Protection button. 2.

2. In the “Editing restrictions” section, uncheck the box “Allow only the specified method of editing the document” or select the required option in the drop-down menu of the button located under this item.

3. All items in all tabs on the Quick Access Toolbar will become active, so the document can be edited.

4. Close the panel “Restrict Editing”, make the necessary changes to the document, and save it by selecting the command “Save As” from the “File” menu. Specify the file name, then specify the path to the folder to save it in.

Again, removing protection for editing is possible only if the document you are working with is not password protected and not protected by a third-party user under his account. If we are talking about cases where a password is set on a file or on the ability to edit it, without knowing it, it is impossible to make changes, or even not be able to open a text document at all.

Note: Material on how to remove password protection from a Word file is expected on our website in the near future.

If you want to protect the document by limiting the possibility of editing it or even completely prohibiting its opening by third-party users, we recommend that you read our material on this topic.

Removing the ban on editing in the document properties

It also happens that editing protection is set not in Microsoft Word itself but in the file properties. Often, removing such a restriction is much easier. Before proceeding with the manipulations described below, make sure that you have administrator rights on your computer.

1. Navigate to the folder containing the file that you cannot edit. 2.

2. Open the properties of this document (right click-“Properties”).

3. Go to the “Security” tab.

4. Click the change button.

5. In the lower window, in the “Allow” column, check the box next to the item “Full access.”

6. Click “Apply” and then click “OK.”

7. Open the document, make the necessary changes, then save it.

Note: This method, like the previous one, does not work for password-protected or third-party files.

That’s all. Now you know the answer to the question why the Word document is not being edited and how, in some cases, you can still get access to editing such documents.

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