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Locking Document Formatting

Like most modern word processors, Word fits into the category of fritterware—programs with so many formatting bells and whistles that you can end up frittering away hours and hours by tweaking fonts, colors, alignments, and so on. Whether you think of such activity as "frittering" depends on your point of view, but we all agree that a well-formatted document makes a better impression than a plain or sloppy-looking one. So no matter how much time you've devoted to getting your document just so, the last thing you want is another person running roughshod over your careful look and layout.

Fortunately, Word offers the capability to lock your document's formatting, which prevents others from changing the formatting unless they know the password. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Choose Review, Protect Document (or choose Developer, Protect Document) and then click Restrict Formatting and Editing. Word displays the Restrict Formatting and Editing task pane.
  2. Click to activate the Limit Formatting to a Selection of Styles check box.
  3. Click Settings to display the Formatting Restrictions dialog box, shown in Figure 3.3.
    Figure 3.3

    Figure 3.3 Use the Formatting Restrictions dialog box to restrict the formatting another user can apply to a document.

  4. In the Checked Styles Are Currently Allowed list, deactivate the check box next to each style that you want to disallow. Alternatively, use the following buttons to set the check boxes:
    • All—Click this button to activate all the check boxes and thus enable unauthorized users to apply formatting using only the existing styles; these users cannot modify the existing styles or create new styles.
    • Recommended Minimum—Click this button to activate the check boxes for only those styles that Word determines are necessary for the document.
    • None—Click this button to deactivate all the check boxes and thus prevent unauthorized users from changing any document formatting.
  5. Choose your formatting options:
    • Allow AutoFormat to Override Formatting Restrictions—Click to activate this check box if you want any AutoFormats that the user applies to affect restricted styles.
    • Block Theme or Scheme Switching—Click to activate this check box to prevent the user from changing formatting by applying a formatting theme or scheme.
    • Block Quick Style Set Switching—Click to activate this check box to prevent the user from changing formatting by applying a Quick Style.
  6. Click OK.
  7. If Word warns you that the document contains disallowed styles, click Yes to remove them or click No to keep them.
  8. In the Restrict Formatting and Editing task pane, click Yes, Start Enforcing Protection. The Start Enforcing Protection dialog box displays.
  9. Type the password twice and then click OK. Word disables all the formatting commands on the Ribbon.

If you or another authorized user need to change the document formatting, choose Review, Protect Document (or choose Developer, Protect Document), click Restrict Formatting and Editing, and then click Stop Protection. Type the password, click OK, and then deactivate the Limit Formatting to a Selection of Styles check box.

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