Software

How to protect cells in a Word table using a Text Form Field

Protecting data in a Word table isn't as simple as turning a protection feature on, but it's possible using Text Form Field controls.

Protecting specific cells in an Excel sheet is easy. Protecting cells in a Word table isn't as easy, but it can be done: you insert a Text Form Field control into each cell where you want users to input or modify values. Then, you protect the document. Only those cells with the controls will allow changes. The solution's a bit convoluted and works best with a simple document.

To protect and unprotect cells in a Word table, do the following:

  1. Create the table and enter the labels or values you want to protect as you normally would.
  2. Select a cell where you want users to enter information.
  3. Click the Developer tab.
  4. In the Controls group, click the Legacy Tools option and choose Text Form Field. In Word 2003, display the Forms toolbar and click Text Form Field.
  5. Continue to select input cells and insert controls until you're done.
  6. Click Restrict Editing in the Protect group. In Word 2003, choose Protect Document from the Tools menu.
  7. In the resulting task pane, choose Filling In Forms from 2. Editing Restrictions, and then click Yes, Start Enforcing Protection. (In Word 2003, you can click Protect Form on the Forms toolbar instead.)
  8. Enter a password twice, and click OK.

After enabling protection, Word won't let you select normal text. You can only select and input data in the cells containing a Text Form Field control. If the document contains elements and text other than the table, Word protects everything but the Text Form Field controls.

I recommend using an Excel sheet instead of protecting a Word table in this manner, because this Word protection technique isn't very flexible. However, it's a good one to know when your hands are tied.

About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

2 comments
Hoosier Girl
Hoosier Girl

That's interesting. We modified the QAT bar and use Lock icon. That was we can turn the form on or off as needed. When it's locked, we can tab through the text fields.

RowenaT
RowenaT

I added the lock icon to the qat and locked the input fields in the table. But how do you get the formula totals to automatically update? Even F9 doesn't work. You have to physically click on the total and right mouse button, update. I want the totals to update automatically.

Editor's Picks