How To Remove the Read-Only Setting From Microsoft Word

Updated June 24, 2022

If you received an attachment in an email or decided to download a document from a website, you may benefit from understanding how to remove the read-only editing blocker on Microsoft Word. This setting may prevent you from making alterations and, if you want to change something within a document, you may decide to remove this feature. Understanding what this setting is can help you identify and disable it when necessary. In this article, we review what read-only on Word is, why it's important to know how to remove this feature and two strategies for disabling it.

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What is read-only on Word?

Read-only is a setting on Microsoft Word that prevents viewers from editing a document. Professionals or companies may decide to use the read-only editing lock on documents that they don't want others to tamper with or alter. However, if an individual is sharing or receiving a report or piece or writing from a friend or colleague, they may want to be able to make changes to a paragraph or passage, which may require removing the read-only setting from the document.

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Why is it important to know how to remove read-only from Word?

It's important to know how to remove the read-only setting from a document in Word because you may receive a report or download a document that you want to edit, take notes on or update, and the read-only setting may prevent you from accomplishing these tasks. For example, you may download a blank form from the internet that has the read-only setting, which prevents you from filling it out and using it.

Removing the read-only editing lock can help you fill in the blank sections of the form and use it for personal or professional purposes. Alternatively, an employer may look for a candidate who is familiar with Microsoft office applications, such as Word, so gaining this skill can help you qualify for various professional roles.

Related: How To Make Business Cards in Microsoft Word (With Template)

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Removing read-only from Word

Here are two lists of steps that can help you remove the read-only editing lock from a document on Word:

How to remove the read-only setting for files downloaded online

Here's a list of steps for removing the read-only setting for files downloaded online:

1. Identify the protected document

When determining whether to remove the read-only editing block from a document, it's important to understand what kinds of files are likely to have this protection added to them. For example, a Word document you download from the internet, such as an email attachment, may likely contain the read-only setting. Identify the document you want to edit and make sure that it has the read-only edit blocking setting.

2. Open or reopen the document in Word

Find the protected document on your desktop or the file or folder where you saved it. Double-click on it to open it, and ensure that it's the document from which you want to remove the read-only setting. You can identify this setting when you open the attachment because you may be unable to add or remove text from the document. If the document is already open, close and reopen it before proceeding.

3. Find the banner that indicates the document is from the internet

After you open the document, you may notice a banner along the top of the screen that states, "Files from the internet can contain viruses." This banner indicates you downloaded the document from the internet and that it currently has the read-only editing block. If you open and reopen the document and this banner doesn't appear, you may want to use an alternative method for removing the read-only setting.

4. Click on the "enable editing" button

Within the yellow banner, you can see a button labeled "Enable editing." Click on this button to turn off the read-only setting. After clicking "Enable editing" try to add or remove text from a passage within the document. If you're able to do so, you successfully removed the read-only editing block.

Related: How To Create, Design and Remove Page Borders in Word

How to remove the read-only setting from password-protected documents

Here's a list of steps you can follow to remove the read-only setting from password-protected documents:

1. Open the document in Word

Identify the document you want to open and locate it within a folder saved on your desktop or within your "Documents" file. Double-click on the document's title or icon that represents it on your desktop. This process opens the article, report or essay in Microsoft Word.

2. Select the tab labeled "Review"

Once you've opened the document, you can see a variety of tabs listed along the top of your screen, including "Home," "Insert" and "Draw." Select the table labeled "Review." This allows you to view several features within Word that can help you track and identify various aspects of a document.

3. Click on the "Protect" button

After selecting the "Review" tab, you may see a variety of buttons labeled "Read Aloud," "Check Accessibility" and "Translate." Select an icon on the right side of the screen labeled "Protect." This button may have an icon that looks like a page with a padlock in front of it.

4. Select "Stop Protection"

Once you've selected the "Protect" button, you may notice a box or pop-up that appears on the right side of the screen and contains various document protection options. Click on the "Stop Protection" button. If the document isn't password-protected, selecting this button may automatically disable the read-only editing blocker. If the document is password-protected, Word may prompt you to enter the password after you click on the "Stop Protection" button.

5. Save the changes you made

Once you've entered the password, you disable the document's read-only setting. Save your changes to ensure that you're able to edit the document when you open it again without requiring this process. To save it, click on the tab labeled "File" along the top of your screen and select "Save" or "Save as" from the drop-down menu.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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