Opening Office Files Safely
Microsoft Word allows different ways in which to access documents. Depending on the situation, you can choose to open one in the normal mode that allows editing, for example, or allow nothing greater than read-only access. This can be useful when you need to distribute a document, making sure that no one makes changes. It’s simple enough to do this.
The easy way
In Windows, go to the folder that contains the document that you wish to turn read-only, right-click on the file, and go to Properties. When the Properties dialog box opens, you simply need to go to the Security tab, click on Edit, and click on the check boxes that offer restrictions for various activities.
This simple approach, though, isn’t particularly meaningful. Anyone who obtains a copy of the document can easily go back into Properties, and remove the restrictions that you’ve laid down.
There’s a far more secure way available to keep your document read-only — you need to use a tool built into every Office document
The Protect Document tool
Document protection is available on different Office programs. If you’re using Word, click on the Review tab above the ribbon. Protect, the last item on the ribbon, allows a secure way to render your document tamper-proof. Click on the arrow under Protect, and hit Restrict editing. The panel that opens offers multiple ways of enforcing restrictions.
Under Editing restrictions, you can choose to allow specific types of editing to your document. Use the drop-down menu to allow specific activities, or restrict them.
More complex rules also give you the ability to allow users to put in new information, but not change existing content — as they would if they wished to prepare a form.
You can also allow comments or allow changes in specific parts of your document while keeping others off limits.
Opening documents in read-only form
Sometimes, readers themselves may want restrictions on a document. They may, for instance, be afraid of making accidental changes or worry about a document running macros.
Whatever document you may wish to open in read-only mode, you need to open a blank copy of Word, click on File, and then Open. When the dialog box opens to let you navigate to the location that your file is in, you simply need to select the correct file, and click on the little arrow next to the Open button of the dialog box. It’s simple enough.