Password protect a Word 2010 template
September 26, 2013 3:58 PM   Subscribe

My staff use a number of Word 2010 templates that I need to restrict the editing of. I want users to be able to double click on the file and be able to make any changes they need (not just adding text to fields), but opening via right-click-open would require a password to save changes to the original template. I need to keep the .dotm files as they are. Everyone involved is using Windows 7.

Here are the options that we have already come up with and why I don't like them:

1. Right click on the file, open properties, and setting the file as Read Only. This is unacceptable because anyone can uncheck the Read Only option and then make changes to the template.

2. Restrict Editing under the Review Tab in Word. From here I can (A) limit formatting to specific styles, or (B) restrict edits. Both options affect the original template and all documents created with the template.

3. Add a password via Save As > Tools > General Options and adding a password to modify the document. This pops up a box to enter a password even when creating a document with the template (via double click). There is a button to open as Read Only, which then opens the document as expected. This is the best option I've found, but I know that the popup asking for a password immediately will confuse staff and I will personally field many calls about it asking for a password Why Is This Locked I Need The Password GAH.

Are there any better solutions to password protect editing of an original .dotm template file?
posted by rhapsodie to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
Right click on the file, open properties, and setting the file as Read Only.

If you have a file server or network storage device of some sort, you can probably set the files read-only in such a way that no one can save back to the folder they are in. If that sounds useful, reply back with what sort of set up you're running.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 4:23 PM on September 26, 2013

Response by poster: If you have a file server or network storage device of some sort

All of the files are saved on a shared network drive, but I don't have access to it other than reading and writing files. I personally need to be able to edit the template files when (very infrequently) needed, without submitting a ticket to my IT staff.
posted by rhapsodie at 4:35 PM on September 26, 2013

That actually wouldn't be a problem once it's set up. If it's a standard sort of file server with user accounts (like a Windows Server set up), it should be trivial* to give a set of people read-only access and another set of some people read-write access. It might be worth seeing if your IT department is willing to set that up for you.

*There could be other complications with security policies and the like, but as far as the technology goes, it's pretty easy.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 4:58 PM on September 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

This doesn't answer your exact question with regard to Word, but your solution truly is Google Drive. May or may not be an option for you if your org isn't already Googleized. But any Google doc can be shared with options to Read Only or Edit (and something like Enable Comments Only) and that permission is specific to each user. If you do allow editing, then you can see in one common cloud-based document every change every person makes and who makes it. You can view earlier versions, or restore the original at any time using Revision History. User comments can appear off to the side. It's rather magical for collaborative documents.

If it's just a template then Read Only forces a copy.
posted by AnOrigamiLife at 1:56 AM on September 27, 2013

Just saw where you are. Hey from the end of the road!
posted by AnOrigamiLife at 2:08 AM on September 27, 2013

This evades rather than answers the question, but I would zip up the templates and keep the zip file somewhere safe, then restore the templates if they are changed in any undesirable way.
posted by megatherium at 12:53 PM on September 27, 2013

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