Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Opening a Document as Read-Only.

Opening a Document as Read-Only

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 31, 2020)

5

There may be times when you want to open a file as read-only. This means you will not be able to save any changes to the file you are loading. You can use Save As (press F12) in order to save the document to a different filename, however. Opening a file as read-only is self-insurance so you don't inadvertently mess up your file.

To open a document as read-only, follow these steps:

  1. Press Ctrl+O. Word displays the Open dialog box. (In Word 2013 you'll need to click Computer | Browse after pressing Ctrl+O. In later versions of Word, click on Browse after pressing Ctrl+O).
  2. Locate the file you want to open and then click once on the file name.
  3. Click on the down-arrow at the right side of the Open button. Word displays the different ways you can open the file.
  4. Choose Open Read-Only from the drop-down menu.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9894) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Opening a Document as Read-Only.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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What is 5 - 3?

2020-03-14 13:49:02

Allan

As written, this procedure doesn't work in Windows 7.


2020-03-13 09:45:45

Henry Noble

@John - Your tip works in Windows 10.

It works from the Desktop (which is a special Explorer window) as well as from within Explorer itself.

In addition, right-click now offers "Open in Protected View" for both Excel and Word. Protected View blocks editing and saving, so there is no chance the file will be altered.


2015-05-05 06:38:35

John

Extending the above tip, you can also open a Word document read only directly from Windows Explorer (this is based on a Windows 7 desktop machine).

Starting from Windows Explorer:
- Hold the Shift key down and Right-click on a Word document (*)
- from the context menu select "Open as Read-Only"

(*) also works with Excel documents and presumably other Microsoft Office documents


2015-05-02 19:06:04

Art Osgatharp

Jim - I have Windows 8.1 and this works for me as written, but the instructions do assume that you are in Word when you press Ctrl-O.


2015-05-02 13:29:22

Jim

As written, this procedure doesn't work in Windows 8.1.


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