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Office challenge: How would you stop users from saving changes to a Word file?

In this week's Office challenge, test your Word skills and learn the solution to last week's Outlook challenge.

Suppose you're distributing a new Word file, but you don't want users to be able to save changes to the file. There are many ways to accomplish this task, but your solution should require as little effort on your part, as possible.

Last week we asked…

How can you make Outlook 2010 open readable attachments? I want to apologize for the bad title I used for last week's challenge. I was asking for an easy way to make Outlook 2010 attachments editable, not readable. If you've researched this behavior already, you've probably read that it isn't possible. Microsoft, for security reasons (they claim) removed this behavior from Outlook 2010. Some users think this means that they must save an attachment to their local drive, edit it, and then reattach it to their email response. That's not really the case. It's true that you can no longer double-click an attachment to open it in edit mode, but edit mode is still available, if you know where to click. To make an Outlook 2010 attachment editable, do the following:

  1. Double-click the message to open it.
  2. On the Message tab, click the Actions dropdown (in the Move group) and choose Edit message.
  3. Double-click the attachment link (just below the header information) to open the attached document.
  4. Edit the document. (If you're working in an Office 2010 application, you'll probably need to click the Enable Editing option to edit the document.)
  5. Close the document and click Save when prompted. (Don't save your changes via the application's GUI.)

You just saved the attached version of the document without manually saving it to your local system first. To prove it, return to the email message and reopen the attachment. It should reflect the changes you just made. To test further, forward the message with the attachment to yourself. When you receive the forwarded message, open the attachment. Again, the attachment should reflect your changes.

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In earlier versions (even 2007), you didn't have to specify edit mode—attachments opened in edit mode. This small change in behavior, while annoying, seems easy to skirt. I can't promise this will work for everyone or with every attachment. I have heard from users who claim the Actions button in the Move group isn't available. If you try this method, please share your results. A comprehensive set of results should be helpful to everyone.

Thanks to ognian.petrov for mentioning the Trust Center options for attachments.

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.

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