Locking Table Contents

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 13, 2021)


Andre wonders if there is a way to lock a table (and only the table) so that the information it contains cannot be changed.

Word allows you to protect either an entire document or portions of your document. In this case, the solution is rather straightforward—place section breaks before and after the table, then protect the section in which the table is now located. You can accomplish this by following these detailed steps:

  1. Position the insertion point immediately before the table, but not in the table itself.
  2. Display the Layout tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the Breaks tool, then choose Continuous. Word inserts a continuous section break before your table.
  4. Position the insertion point immediately after the table, but not in the table itself.
  5. On the Layout tab of the ribbon, click the Breaks tool, then choose Continuous. Word inserts a continuous section break after your table.
  6. Position the insertion point within the table.
  7. Look at the Status bar (bottom of the program window) and note the section number in which the insertion point is located. If you cannot see a section number indicated, then right-click on any empty portion of the Status bar and, from the resulting Context menu, choose Section.
  8. Display the Review tab of the ribbon.
  9. Click the Restrict Editing tool, in the Protect group. Word displays the Restrict Formatting and Editing (Word 2007 or Word 2010) or the Restrict Editing (Word 2013 or a later version) task pane at the right of your document.
  10. In section 2 of the task pane (Editing Restrictions), select the check box. This enables the drop-down list in the section.
  11. Using the drop-down list, choose Filling in Forms. Word makes the Select Sections link available, right under the drop-down list. (The link is only made available if your document contains multiple sections.)
  12. Click the Select Sections. Word displays the Section Protection dialog box.
  13. Make sure that only the section that contains the table (the one you noted in step 7) is selected in the list of sections.
  14. Click on the OK button. Word closes the Section Protection dialog box.
  15. In the task pane, click the Yes, Start Enforcing Protection button. Word displays the Start Enforcing Protection dialog box.
  16. Enter a password for the protection, if desired. (You'll need to enter it twice.)
  17. Click OK.
  18. Close the Restrict Formatting and Editing task pane.

At this point your document is protected, and changes can be made in any part of the document except the section in which your table is located.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10460) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365.

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 seven less than 7?

2021-11-13 10:21:36


You are not limited to using just Continuous Section Breaks, you can use Next Page Section Breaks if yo want to control how the table splits between pages. Odd Page and Even Page Section Breaks can also be used, but they are tricky when it comes to page numbering.

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