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How to Make a Word Document Read Only with/without Password

If you don’t want the contents of a Word document to be accidentally modified by others, the most straightforward method is to make the document read-only. Now, this page will take Microsoft Word 2016 as an example to show how to make a Word document read-only. These methods are applicable to Office Word 2013, Word 2010 and Word 2007.

Way 1: How to Make a Word document read-only with password

To use the password to make a Word document read-only, there are two options.

Option 1: Assign password to protect a document from modifying

Step 1: Open the Word document.

Step 2: Click File -> Save as, and select one location where you will save this document.

Step 3: In the Save As dialog, click the drop-down arrow next to the Tools button and then select General Options.

Step 4: In the General Options dialog, check the box next to Read-only recommended, and type a password to modify. Re-enter the password to modify and click OK.

Enter password to modify

Step 5: When you are back in the Save As dialog, click Save to save this Word 2016 document and make it read-only.

When you open this Word document and try to make changes to the document, a password required. If you forget its password, how do you edit this document? Learn more see how to edit a locked Word document without password.

Option 2: Use the restrict editing feature

To create a read-only document that doesn’t require a password to open is to use the restrict editing feature.

Step 1: Open the Word document.

Step 2: Select the Review tab and click Protect -> Restrict Editing.

Click Protect and Restrict Editing

Step 3: After the Restrict Editing panel appears, check the box under Formatting restrictions and Editing restrictions depending on your own needs. Then click on Yes, Start Enforcing Protection.

Click on Yes, Start Enforcing Protection

Step 4: In the Start Enforcing Protection dialog, enter and re-enter password to protect the Word document.

Type password protection

Step 5: Press Save + S to save the changes and make the Word document read-only.

Way 2: Make a Word 2016 document read only without password

There are also two options.

Option 1: Make as Final

Step 1: Open the Word document.

Step 2: Select File -> Info tab, and then click Protect Document -> Mark as Final.

Step 3: Click OK when prompting with the alert shown as below.

Click OK

Then this Word 2016 document is marked as Read-Only. When it is opened, a "MARKED AS FINAL" alert message will appear at the top to discourage editing. However, if the users click on Edit Anyway at the end of the alert message, they will be able to modify the Word document.

Word document is marked as Read-Only

Option 2: Mark as Read-Only

To make a Word document read-only, you can change an attribute on the file in Windows:

Step 1: Close the Word document.

Step 2: Right-click on the document, and select Properties.

Right-click on Word document and select Properties

Step 3: In the Properties dialog, select General tab, check Read-only checkbox, and then click Apply followed by OK.

Check Read-only

By this way, the Word 2016 document is also marked as Read-Only. You can edit the contents, but the changes you make won’t be saved in the original document. To save the changes, you need to save the Word document with a new name or in a different location.