How to Make Word Documents Fillable but Not Editable

You don't have to print your Word forms to prevent end users from editing them.
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You can create forms using Microsoft Word that can be completed electronically and returned to you -- especially helpful if you have an assignment that requires peer surveys or group collaboration. When you also password-protect the document, you can limit or restrict the user's editing capabilities so they can only fill out the form and enter new content where you permit.

1 Create the Form

Click the "File" tab and select "Options," then click "Customize Ribbon." Select the "Developer" check box in the list under Main Tabs and then click "OK." From there, use an existing form template or create a new form on a blank document (see "Create a Fillable Form" in Resources). You can control the content entered with tools like check boxes, text boxes, date selectors and drop-down lists. For more complex formatting, you can even use formulas and links as you would when designing a database.

2 Prevent Editing

When your form has been designed and you are happy with the results, you can add protection so that editing is restricted. Click "Home," and then choose "Select" and "Select All." Alternatively, you can press "Ctrl-A" to select all content. Click "Developer," and then select "Restrict Editing."

Based in Tampa, Fla., Danielle Fernandez been writing, editing and illustrating all things technology, lifestyle and education since 1999. Her work has appeared in the Tampa Tribune, Working Mother magazine, and a variety of technical publications, including BICSI's "Telecommunications Distribution Methods Manual." Fernandez holds a bachelor's degree in English from the University of South Florida.