Finalizing and Protecting Documents

Protecting Word documents and finalizing Word documents can help keep private information private.

Introduction

Video: Finalizing and Protecting Documents

Launch "Finalizing and Protecting Documents" video!Watch the video (3:07).

Before sharing a document, you'll want to make sure it doesn't include any information you want to keep private. You may also want to discourage others from editing your file. Fortunately, Word includes several tools to help finalize and protect your document.

Optional: Download our practice document.

Document Inspector

Whenever you create or edit a document, certain personal information may be added to the file automatically. You can use the Document Inspector to remove this type of information before sharing a document with others.

Because some changes may be permanent, it's a good idea to use Save As to create a backup copy of your document before using the Document Inspector.

To use the Document Inspector:

  1. Click the File tab to go to Backstage view.
  2. From the Info pane, click Check for Issues, then select Inspect Document from the drop-down menu.
    Screenshot of Word 2013Clicking Inspect Document
  3. The Document Inspector will appear. Check or uncheck the boxes, depending on the content you want to review, then click Inspect. In our example, we'll leave everything selected.
    Screenshot of Word 2013Inspecting the document
  4. The inspection results will show an exclamation mark for any categories where it found potentially sensitive data, and it will also have a Remove All button for each of these categories. Click Remove All to remove the data.
    Screenshot of Word 2013Removing personal information from the document
  5. When you're done, click Close.
    Screenshot of Word 2013Closing the Document Inspector

Protecting your document

By default, anyone with access to your document will be able to open, copy, and edit its content unless you protect it. There are several ways to protect a document, depending on your needs.

To protect your document:

  1. Click the File tab to go to Backstage view.
  2. From the Info pane, click the Protect Document command.
  3. In the drop-down menu, choose the option that best suits your needs. In our example, we'll select Mark as Final. Marking your document as final is a good way to discourage others from editing the file, while other options give you even more control if needed.
    Screenshot of Word 2013Selecting Mark as Final
  4. A dialog box will appear prompting you to save. Click OK.


    Screenshot of Word 2013Clicking OK to save the document
  5. Another dialog box will appear. Click OK.
    Screenshot of Word 2013Clicking OK
  6. The document will be marked as final.


    Screenshot of Word 2013A document marked as final

Marking a document as final will not prevent someone from editing it. If you want to prevent people from editing it, you can use the Restrict Access option instead.

Challenge!

  1. Open an existing Word document. If you want, you can use the practice document.
  2. Use the Document Inspector to check the document. If you are using the example, remove all personal information from the document.
  3. Protect the document by marking it as final.