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When you're the person in charge of assembling and finalizing documents that are created from parts and pieces, either submitted or reviewed by others, you can spend a lot of time replacing manual formatting with styles to create a consistent professional-looking document. If your authors or reviewers use bold, italics or other manual formatting, it's not always clear what they intended. So there's a bit of mind reading as well as the time you spend reformatting, and it's not just your time that's wasted. In addition to the minutes or hours you spend reformatting documents, there's all the time that your authors and reviewers wasted applying formatting that you will never use.
You have an option though. You can restrict the formatting that other users can apply to a document. So let's take a look at how this works. We have a document here, and we are going to send this out for other people to edit. We might also want them to do some formatting. We might want our reviewers or other authors to be able to indicate what's a Heading 1, what's a Heading 2. What we don't want them to do is spend a lot of time using font or paragraph formatting on this document to make it pretty, because actually that's our job.
So what we are going to do is we're going to restrict the formatting in this document. I going to click on the Review tab and choose Restrict Editing to open the restrict formatting and editing task pane on the right side of my window, and I'm going to choose Limit formatting to a selection of styles. Right now, the selection of styles is all the styles in the world. Let's go back to our home tab and take a look. All of these styles and all the Font styles and all the paragraphs styles are still available. But I actually want to limit the selection to things like normal, Heading 1, Heading 2, Subtitle, Subtle emphasis and emphasis.
I'll give them most of these, but I don't want them to apply manual formatting. So I am going to click the Settings hyperlink and notice that Limit formatting is already turned on, and I'm going to go with what's called the recommended minimum. Now, the recommended minimum allows them to indent, allows them to apply Captions, Footnotes and Endnotes, and Headings, as well as some HTML. I could remove the HTML if I know that this isn't going to be published on the Web in anytime soon.
Some indexes, but notice that many of the table styles are gone, some of the list styles are there, and let's say OK. It says this document may already contain formatting that isn't allowed. If that's true, do you want to remove it? And I would say yes. Now, when I start enforcing my protection here, I can apply a password. I don't need to. I can simply enter no password at all. If I enter a password, I need to enter the same password twice, and I need to make sure that I'm not going to forget it.
This is securing the document from formatting, not securing the document contents from corporate spies or other malicious users. So this is a good time to have a group password that is used anytime you want to restrict formatting. In other words, not for protection of documents, but for this kind of light protection. I'll often simply leave this blank. Now, you'll notice that the document is protected, the Font formatting tools are no longer enabled. The Paragraph formatting tools are no longer enabled.
In other words, no one is going to manually format this document anymore. They can still, however, apply all of the styles that are available, so what I'll often do is I'll add some text to the beginning of the document, or put it in the body of the e-mail that I send to authors or reviewers that says, "Please use the styles on the home tab for any formatting in this document." So if someone wants to bold this text, B doesn't work, but title does.
If they want to change, they can't change the font, and they can't change its size. When I get this document back and get everyone's contributions to this document, I'm going to spend very little time reformatting the document, and at the same time, I'm actually building the library of well-formatted documents in my organization that are available for easy reuse. If I want to stop protection, to be able, for example, to add another style that would be available, I can simply choose stop protection.
Notice that the font and paragraph tools come back, and I can turn off limit formatting at anytime I wish. If I'd apply a password, I would have been asked for the password in order to do this. If you're willing to be a little bit proactive, you can prevent your authors and reviewers from wasting time by restricting them to appropriate styles for the documents that you are creating together.
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