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Understanding Protected view and enabling editing on protected files

From: Word 2010 New Features

Video: Understanding Protected view and enabling editing on protected files

With previous versions of Office, and in many other applications on your computer, you have to decide whether you should open or not open a potentially problematic file without being able to even glimpse the contents. With Protected view in Word 2010, you can review documents, then decide if you want to edit, save, or print them, all without putting your computer at risk. Protected view is the default view for files that you download, and many files you receive as attachments. Files from the Internet and from potentially unsafe locations can contain viruses.

Understanding Protected view and enabling editing on protected files

With previous versions of Office, and in many other applications on your computer, you have to decide whether you should open or not open a potentially problematic file without being able to even glimpse the contents. With Protected view in Word 2010, you can review documents, then decide if you want to edit, save, or print them, all without putting your computer at risk. Protected view is the default view for files that you download, and many files you receive as attachments. Files from the Internet and from potentially unsafe locations can contain viruses.

When you open any document that Word doesn't fully trust, it opens it in Protected view. Protected view is an independent session of Word, run in a separate sandbox in memory, so the document can't access your other documents. Using Protected view, you can read a document without putting your computer at risk. There are many reasons a document might not be trusted and opened in Protected view. The reason is shown in the explanation in the Protected view message. Here are some of the reasons Word will open a document in Protected view, and the message bars that you'll see when you open these documents.

The document was downloaded from the Internet, or from an FTP site, so it came from an Internet location. The document was received as an e-mail attachment from a sender who your organization's policies identify as potentially unsafe. In many organizations, this is any e-mail address from outside of your company's network. You open the document from a potentially unsafe location, for example, on your computer the Temporary Internet Files folder is viewed as potentially unsafe.

The file was saved in a really old version of Word, like Word for Windows 3.1 or Word 95 for Windows 95, and your company has applied a file block to these old file types. There are two types of file blocks, one is the file is blocked, and you can't edit it, or a blocked file that can edit, which is more like a warning. This is a really old file. You haven't needed this file in ten years; why do you need it today? You can review this document here in Protected view. You can scroll.

You can use the Find button and look for particular locations in the document. If you want to edit, save, or print this document however, you need to be confident that the document comes from a trustworthy sender or location. Then you can enable editing. If you simply wanted to save or print, you'll also find that you have to enable saving or enable printing. So, all you can do without enabling editing is review the document onscreen. When you enable editing, Word moves the document from its Protected view, and marks the document as a trusted document, so that it will open in Normal view the next time you open it.

There are two ways to enable editing. If the trust issue with the document is minor, as with this document, you see the yellow message bar like the one we saw, and you simply click the Enable Editing button to trust the document. That works for all of these file types and all of these messages. However, whenever you open a Word document, Word checks the file's validity. If a file can't be validated, the Protected view message will note that a problem was detected with the file. That means the file might contain a virus, or other malicious stuff.

But there are other reasons that Word might detect a problem with a file that would cause it to flag it in this manner. Errors during save operations can damage a file. The CD or disc that the file is stored on may be deteriorating. Word assigns a higher possibility of risk for any document where a problem is detected. The Protected View message bar is red, and as you notice, there is no Enable Editing button. To enable editing of a file where Word has detected a potential problem, you need to click on the File tab, switch to Backstage view.

If you're confident about the document's safety, click the Edit Anyway button. Finally, a file might open in Protected view because you chose to open it that way. If you're concerned about the source of a document that you received, you can give yourself a little protection. Click File to go to Backstage view. Choose Open rather than choosing any item from the Recent Items List. Select the file that you want to open.

And then, on the Open dropdown, choose Open in Protected view. Word will set up a separate session, a sandbox in memory, place this file there, and allow you to review it without putting your computer at risk. There are web sites recommending that you turn Protected view off to save a little bit of time when you open files. If you decide to do this, you're removing all of the protection that Office provides for your computer - a lot to throw away to save the milliseconds required to click the Enable Editing button in a potentially unsafe document.

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Word 2010 New Features

21 video lessons · 10706 viewers

Gini Courter
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