How to Enable Editing in Word (and Turn It Off, Too)

Enable and restrict editing in Microsoft Word

What to Know

  • To edit: Go to the Review Tab.
  • Restrict formatting changes by another party: Review > Formatting Restrictions (in the right pane).
  • Restrict certain document parts from being edited: Review > Block Authors.

This article will explain how to enable and disable editing in Microsoft Word.

Where Is Enable Editing in Word?

Working in a collaborative environment can be a big boon to a finished document. It can, however, spell trouble when people who should no longer have access still do.

Editing, also known as Document Protection, is located under the Review tab and is viewable in the right task pane. The task pane displays the copy protection settings and the option to enable and disable editing. 

Instructions in this article apply to Word 2016, Word 2013, and Word 2010.

  1. Click the Review tab at the top of the screen.

    Review tab in Microsoft Word

    Press Alt+Shift+C in conjunction on the keyboard to open the Review Pane.

  2. Click Enable Editing.

    Microsoft Office 2013

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  3. The task pane on the right side of the screen will now display the editing options.

    Microsoft Office 2013

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    Click Restrict Editing to prevent a document from being edited by another party. It's an option that you can use in a collaborative environment. 

How Do I Enable Editing in Word?

If you share a document with other people, enabling editing will restrict specific actions that users can take in the document. You can disable editing altogether and make the file read-only, or you can restrict editing to certain parts of the document. Here are the steps to enable editing in a Microsoft Word document.

  1. Open Microsoft Word.

    Open Microsoft Word

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  2. Click the Review Tab at the top of the screen.

    Review tab in Microsoft Word
  3. To restrict formatting changes, click Settings under Formatting Restrictions in the right editing pane.

    Click Formatting Restrictions

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  4. A pop up window will appear.

    Formatting Instructions

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  5. Check the box to limit formatting.

    Click the box for Formatting Restrictions

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  6. Check all the boxes to restrict editing completely.

    The formatting restrictions box open in Word
  7. Check the desired formatting choices one by one for individual settings.

    Check individual boxes for custom formatting restrictions

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How to Restrict Formatting Changes

Restricting the formatting changes of a document will prevent the document style from being altered by anyone other than you. To restrict the formatting changes, follow the steps below.

  1. Click the Review Tab.

    Review tab in Microsoft Word
  2. Click Restrict Editing.

    Restrict Editing in Microsoft Word
  3. Check the box under Formatting Restrictions.

    Formatting restrictions open in Word
  4. A pop-up window will appear.

    Formatting restrictions open in word
  5. Check the box to limit formatting.

    The formatting box open in Word
  6. Check the desired formatting choices and click OK.

    The formatting changes box opened in Word

How to Restrict Changes to Certain Parts of the Document

Without making it read-only, restricting changes to certain parts of a shared document is also possible.

  1. Click the Review Tab.

    The review tab is open in Word
  2. Click Editing Restrictions.

    The editing restrictions pane open in Word
  3. Click Start Enforcement.

  4. A prompt will appear to add a password to that portion of the document.

    The password restrictions box opened in Word
  5. Click OK, and the changes will take effect.

    The editing restrictions pane open in Word.
  • Why can't I enable editing in Word?

    The document is probably locked. You must know the password to unlock a Word document.

  • Can you edit a scanned document in Word?

    Yes. As long as the document is in PDF format, you can edit a scanned document in Word. Just open the PDF in Word to convert the document.

  • How do I turn off track changes in Word?

    To disable track changes in Word, go to the Review tab and select Track Changes to turn it off. To hide formatting marks in Word, go to File > Options > Display.

  • How do I turn off AutoCorrect in Word?

    To change AutoCorrect settings in Word, go to File > Options > Proofing > AutoCorrect Options. From here, you can customize the feature or turn it off altogether.

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