Two Word 2010 security features that increase flexibility

Two Word 2010 security features offer protection, flexibility, and peace of mind. One is new to Word 2010, the other is enhanced, but newly situation for convenience.

Word 2010 offers two security features that you should be familiar with: protected view and restrict editing. Protected view is a new in-your-face feature that you're probably already familiar with it, even if you don't want to be! Restrict editing is a useful tool that restricts what users can change. It's part of Word's Protect Document feature, but you can access it via the Ribbon instead of going to the Backstage.

Protected view This feature is actually an Office 2010 feature that protects systems from infected files. If you download a file from the Internet or Word deems the file as potentially harmful, Word will open the file in protected view. These files are read-only, which allows users the flexibility of viewing the information without fear of infecting their systems. To edit the file, you simply click the Enable Editing button. It's a feature with the best of intentions but it can quickly become annoying if you work with downloaded files regularly. (I download and upload files all day long!) You can disable this feature, but do so with caution—better to err on the side of caution than to throw caution to the wind! If you feel comfortable doing, disable this feature as follows:

  1. Click the File tab and choose Options (under Help) in the left pane.
  2. Select Trust Center in the left pane.
  3. Click Trust Center Settings in the Microsoft Word Trust Center.
  4. Select Protected View in the left pane.
  5. Uncheck the protected view options. You can disable all three or just one.
  6. Click OK twice.
I'm not recommending that you disable this feature; I'm simply telling you that you can. Protected view is an Office feature, but you must disable it in each application. Disabling it in Word will not disable it in the other applications.
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Restrict editing This feature isn't new, but it is enhanced. In addition, you might not recognize it for what it is at first. It's part of Word's Protect Document feature. On the Review tab, click Restrict Editing in the Protect group. This feature displays a special task pane that lets you limit how users edit and format specific sections of the document:
  • Allow users limited formatting choices by restricting the styles they can change.
  • Enable Track Changes automatically.
  • Limit users to form fields.
  • Limit users to enter only comments.
  • Allow no changes whatsoever.
  • Grant special access to specific users.
Once you've set the appropriate options, click Start Enforcement Protection to apply them. Doing so will require a password, which you'll want to safeguard. To change these settings at a later date, you'll need that password! Restrict editing lets you control who can modify what in your documents. You can also access this feature via the Backstage. Just click the File tab, click the Protect Document dropdown and choose Restrict Editing. Both security features are useful and easy-to-implement (or disable, as the case may be).