Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007 and 2010. 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: Protecting Tracked Changes.

Protecting Tracked Changes

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated May 26, 2021)
This tip applies to Word 2007 and 2010


2

Vikas has a document on which many people in his office work. The original author of the document turns on Track Changes, and then sends the document to others. Unfortunately, it is possible for other people to turn off Track Changes or to accept/reject changes done by others who previously worked on the document. Vikas wonders if there is a way that Track Changes can be locked so that only the original author can turn it off and a way that only the original author can accept/reject changes.

Theoretically, there is a way. What you need to do is to protect the document so that only tracked changes can be made by other editors. Here's how to do it:

  1. Display the Review tab of the ribbon.
  2. Click the Protect Document tool within the Protect group. Word displays the Protect Document pane at the right side of your document.
  3. In the Editing Restrictions section of the pane, choose the Allow Only This Type of Editing In the Document checkbox. Word enables the drop-down list under the checkbox.
  4. Using the drop-down list, choose Tracked Changes.
  5. Click Yes, Start Enforcing Protection. Word displays the Start Enforcing Protection dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  6. Figure 1. The Start Enforcing Protection dialog box.

  7. Enter a password (twice) in the dialog box.
  8. Click on OK.
  9. Save the file as normal.

With this protection in place, people can view and edit your document with the changes being shown as regular Track Changes edits. Further, nobody can accept or reject changes without knowing the original password used to protect the document.

There is, of course, a big caveat to all of this, and it bears repeating any time people start to talk about protection. In Word, document protection will only provide protection for those who decide to "play nice." There are ways around the protection—the most notable of which is that an editor can simply copy all of the text from the edited document into a new document and start passing around that new document as if it were the original document. There is, unfortunately, no way around such behavior with Word documents.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11674) applies to Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Protecting Tracked Changes.

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

Setting Stable Column Widths in a PivotTable

When you update a PivotTable, Excel can take liberties with any formatting you previously applied to the PivotTable. ...

Discover More

Creating the 'Mils' Symbol

Different industries use their own terminologies and symbols. In the military, one symbol is referred to as the "mils" ...

Discover More

Inserting a Radical Symbol

The radical symbol is used frequently in some branches of mathematics. If you want to insert a radical symbol in a cell, ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Rejecting Changes in a Document

When a group of people edits a document with Track Changes turned on, it can be tempting for one of the editors to use ...

Discover More

Getting a Change and Comment Count by Author

Track Changes can be a great tool when you have multiple editors working on a document. If you want to know the names of ...

Discover More

Noting Moved Words and Phrases in Markup

The Track Changes tool can be very helpful in keeping track of the edits in a document. If you want to track when you ...

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?

2021-05-26 10:04:02

Lee McIntyre

Thanks, Allen. The steps aren't quite the same using Word 365. In the "Protect" group, we select "Restrict Editing" rather than "Protect Document."

But more importantly, the "Yes, Start Enforcing Protection" option is grayed out. See the screenshot: (see Figure 1 below)

What am I doing wrong?

Figure 1. 


2018-01-05 11:08:33

Marisa

This tip does not accurately reflect the Review tab in Word 2010. The button Protect Document in Word 2007 is called Restrict Editing in Word 2010.


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.