Re: how to make a read only Word file?

Subject: Re: how to make a read only Word file?
From: Beth Friedman <bjf -at- WAVEFRONT -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 19 Nov 1998 15:01:49 -0600

In our previous episode, John Lilly said:
> 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.
> 1)
> 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.

You should be able to protect against this scenario by making the
directory that the file is located is read-only except for a
supervisory login. A user could save a version of the document in
another directory, but he couldn't replace your real version of the
document. I know Novell has this ability; I assume other networks do
as well. Of course, if you're distributing the file itself rather
than making it accessible to people on a network, you're back to
square one.

> 3)
> Using a form to take advantage of the Protect Document > Forms command
> is not feasible for a 200+ page document.

True. My mind boggles at the thought.

> 4)
> 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.

An alternate version of this is forcing the user into full-screen
mode. Unfortunately, all the keyboard commands still work when you do

> 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.

The problem is that Word isn't intended as a non-editable format.
I've run into this at times, too.

> 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.

How about using PostScript and distributing GSView/Ghostscript with
the file? It's free shareware, as I understand it.

And why _isn't_ PDF a viable option? You might want to think about
whether the difficulties in using PDF outweigh the problems with

Beth Friedman bjf -at- wavefront -dot- com
"If you can forgive your parents and forgive the Cubs, you can save
about $25,000 in therapy."
-- Steve Goodman

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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