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We've created our form, tested the controls, run spell check, had some other people look at it, and we're feeling now like this form is ready to go. But it still has some issues that we need to resolve. For example, I can type here, or here, or here, but I can also type here. I can actually get rid of the labels and type other data in. Oops! That's not okay. Or I could decide I wanted to put a different picture in. Bad idea! We need to protect this form so that the user only can access the areas of the form where we've placed content controls.
This is really easy to do in Word 2007. We're going to go back to the Developer tab and we're going to choose Protect Document > Restrict Formatting and Editing. When we do, the Restrict Formatting and Editing task pane opens on the right-hand side. We're simply going to go to the Editing Restrictions, click here and say Filling in Forms. So, the only kind of editing that will be allowed in this completed template is filling in forms, and that's true for every single document that we create from here.
So let's go ahead and say Yes, Start Enforcing Protection, a dialog box opens and you can provide a password and then confirm it. If you don't provide a password, any other user can come in here and say turn protection off. Stop restricting protection. But you want to make sure that you use a password that you've documented somewhere. Because if you don't you will have trouble ever getting back into this document again. As a matter of fact, I will often save an unprotected version of each of the documents that I've released as templates.
So if something were to happen I could get back into that unprotected version and create a new document, a new template, from it. If you're going to bother to enter a password, enter a decent one. Don't just enter 123 or abc, and if you're creating a lot of templates in your workplace, then you will want to make sure that somewhere you've documented what the password is for the documents that you have created. A great way to do that is to talk to the folks in your information services or information technology department and say, I want to password protect these documents, because they're actually used throughout the business and they'll provide you with something or at least have a good conversation with you about that.
If I want very light protection, I just click OK and that's almost no protection at all. Notice now that Restrict Formatting and Editing is on. I can go ahead and close this, and as I Tab from field to field, all of my controls still work. But if I try to click elsewhere, there's nothing that I can do. If I go back to my home tab, notice I have no ability really to format at all either. So I've now protected this form in such a way that I'm ready to turn it into a template and release it now.
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