If you’ve opened a document in Word but can’t edit it, it’s likely locked for editing by someone or a function. Learning how to remove read-only from Word should help you edit these documents, even if they are marked as read-only and should not be edited.
There are various reasons why people restrict the editing of their documents. Perhaps you yourself made the document read-only but forgot it, or maybe someone has locked it to prevent unauthorized users from changing its content.
In any case, if you come across a document that needs to be edited, but it is in read-only mode, there are various ways to fix it and be able to edit the document.
Remove “read only from Word” by disabling editing restrictions
We’ll start by disabling Word’s built-in feature that allows users to restrict changes to their documents. If you or someone else has enabled this option for the current document, you cannot edit it.
Disabling this option should fix this for you.
- Open a read-only document in MS Word.
- When it opens, find the tab labeled “Developer” at the top and click on it.
- On the next screen, you will find several options to choose from. Look at the “Protect” area at the top and select the “Restrict Editing” option.
- A new panel will appear on the right side. There is a Stop Protection button at the bottom of this panel. Click the button to remove read-only from this Word document.
- If a password has been set to restrict editing, you will need to enter it in the field displayed on the screen. Then click OK to unlock the document.
Your document is no longer in read-only mode, and you can change its content as you see fit.
Disable Trust Center settings to remove read-only Word opening
Trust Center is a feature of Word that blocks certain editable documents from being fully opened on your computer. You can disable this feature in the program and that should fix the read-only problem you are having with your document.
- Run MS Word on your computer.
- In the lower left corner of the screen, you will find the Options option. Click on it to open the standard Word settings menu.
- On the next screen, you’ll find the Trust Center entry in the left sidebar. Click on it to open the Trust Center settings.
- On the right sidebar, you will see a button that says Trust Center Settings. Click on it to open the settings menu.
- There will be several options on the left sidebar of the screen. Find and select the one that says Protected View.
- On the right sidebar, you will see three checked boxes. Clear the check boxes next to each of these boxes to prevent Word from opening your documents in protected form. Then click OK at the bottom to save your changes.
- Run your document in the program, and you can edit it.
Fix Word opening as read-only for email attachments
MS Word actually has a number of features to protect against various threats spread through Word files. One of these features opens your email attachments in read-only mode, so it can’t adversely affect your computer’s performance.
This could be the reason why your documents always open in read-only mode. Disabling this setting should fix the problem for you.
- Open MS Word on your computer.
- Click on the Options option in the lower left corner and it will open. open the settings menu.
- Click on the General tab in the left sidebar if you are not already there. Then, in the right menu, scroll down and find the option “Open email attachments and other non-editable files in Reading View.”
Uncheck this option and click OK to save your changes.
Word files received as email attachments should now open normally, allowing you to edit them as you see fit.
Disable Explorer Preview Pane
The preview pane in Explorer shows a preview of your files, and for that, it sometimes locks your files and prevents you from editing them.
A quick fix for this problem is to simply disable the panel.
- Open this computer from your desktop.
- Click the View tab at the very top of the screen.
- Select the Preview Pane option under Panels. The panel will turn off if it was turned on before.
You can now try opening the file in the program to see if it solved the problem.
Toggle the setting in the properties to remove read-only from Word
One possible way to fix read-only mode in Word is to change the attribute for your file.
- Right-click the Word document and select Properties.
- Check the “Read only” checkbox and click “OK”.
- Open the Properties menu again, uncheck the Read Only checkbox and click OK.
- Open the file in Word and it should let you edit it.
Extract the file before opening it in MS Word
If you are trying to edit a Word file in an archive format such as RAR or ZIP, you need to extract the file from it first and then edit. Opening a file directly from the archive sometimes prevents it from being edited.
- Right-click the archive and select Extract Here.
- Open the file in Word and you can edit it.