TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:how to make a read only Word file? From:John Lilly <jlilly -at- IDCOMM -dot- COM> Date:Thu, 19 Nov 1998 13:39:54 -0700
Can anyone suggest the best method to lock up a Word file? Having read
the Tech Writer archives and Microsoft's documentation, I have yet to
find an ideal solution.
Word's password protection seems feeble. If I password protect a
document, a use can still modify the file and save it under a different
name. That user could then rename the file outside of Word and
substitute it for the read only version. Subsequent users would not know
there was a switch.
A user can also insert a password protected file into an unprotected
file and then manipulate the contents. The results are the same as #1.
Using a form to take advantage of the Protect Document > Forms command
is not feasible for a 200+ page document.
Trying to be clever, I tried to shut off access to commands by hiding
all of the toolbars and removing every menu from the document (it looks
very strange, believe me). The user, however, still has access to the
Customize command via the right mouse button, and this command can be
used to replace everything that was removed.
If I use NT-level access control to set only "Read" permission for the
file, the user can again save the file under a different name and
substitute it for the original.
While my "devious user" scenarios may seem highly unlikely, I need to
have high confidence that a company file will remain unaltered once it
goes out the door. Nothing is hacker proof, but the "protections"
mentioned above couldn't stop a toddler.
PDF, though it may work, is not a viable option for me. Postscript may
work, but few users will have ghostview or other means to view and
print the Postscript file.