Locking Table Contents

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated November 13, 2021)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


1

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Repeating Rows on a Printout Except On the Last Page

When setting up a worksheet for printing, you can specify that Excel repeat some of your rows at the top of each page ...

Discover More

Copying Subtotals

If you have added subtotals to your worksheet data, you might want to copy those subtotals somewhere else. This is easy ...

Discover More

Excel Dark Mode

All the rave these days seems to be displaying information in either "light mode" or "dark mode." If you are interested ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Quickly Moving Your Table

For those who love to use the mouse during editing, you can use the little critter to help move your tables to exactly ...

Discover More

Filling Table Cells with a Macro

Want to stuff a value into each cell of a table? You can either type the value over and over and over again, or you can ...

Discover More

Index Number for the Active Table

For some programming needs, it is important to determine the index of an object within a collection of such objects. This ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 4 - 1?

2021-11-13 10:21:36

Tomek

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.


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Videos
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.