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

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 23, 2015)

1

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

Quickly Clearing Array Contents

An array of variables is a powerful element of VBA programming. If you want to clear what is stored in an array, here's a ...

Discover More

Jumping to Styles in the Task Pane

Mouse versus Keyboard selection of Styles in Word.

Discover More

Word Counts for a Group of Documents

Getting a word count for a single document is easy. Getting an aggregate word count for a large number of documents can ...

Discover More

Do More in Less Time! Are you ready to harness the full power of Word 2013 to create professional documents? In this comprehensive guide you'll learn the skills and techniques for efficiently building the documents you need for your professional and your personal life. Check out Word 2013 In Depth today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Resolving Tracked Changes in Footnotes or Endnotes

Track Changes is a great tool that can aid in developing a document. If you have footnotes or endnotes in a document that ...

Discover More

Pasting Text with Track Changes

Track Changes is a great tool for developing documents. If you want to copy text from one document to another, with ...

Discover More

Accepting Only Formatting Changes

When you use Track Changes in a document, Word marks everything that changes. (Makes sense, huh?) If an editor makes a ...

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}] 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 nine minus 4?

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.

Newest Tips
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.