My last software tutorial explained how to restrict Track Changes and comments in Microsoft Word. Similarly, today’s tutorial shows how to restrict style changes in Microsoft Word. We’ll walk through the steps for restricting specific changes and all changes. In Word, styles include (but are not limited to) fonts, font sizes and colors, italics, bold font, underlining, line spacing, and margin widths.
Reader Alert: This tutorial is for general knowledge only. The Microsoft Word protection features shown here should not be relied upon to protect sensitive or classified documents.
The images below are from Microsoft Word 2016; however, the steps are the same in Word 2019 and similar for Word 2013 and Word 2010.
How to Turn On Style Restrictions
1. Select the File tab.
2. Select Protect Document in the Backstage view.
3. Select Restrict Editing in the drop-down menu.
4. Check Limit formatting to a selection of styles in the Restrict Editing task pane.
5. Select the Settings link.
6. Check Limit formatting to a selection of styles in the Formatting Restrictions dialog box.
7. Check or uncheck the individual styles you want to allow in the document. Or, select one of the preset option buttons:
- All checks every style option currently allowed in the document.
- Recommended Minimum checks common style options currently allowed in the document but unchecks less common styles such as table and list formatting.
- None unchecks all style options. Select this option if you want to prevent other Word users from making any style change.
8. Check or uncheck the three optional formatting choices:
- Allow AutoFormat to override formatting restrictions lets AutoFormat supersede the options selected in the Formatting Restrictions dialog box. Unless you are using AutoFormat (which is not common), strongly consider unchecking this option.
- Block Theme or Scheme switching prevents other users from changing the document to a different theme on the Design tab or to a separate scheme (such as a color scheme, which is not common).
- Block Quick Style Set switching prevents other users from using the style options on the Home tab.
9. Select the OK button.
10. Select Yes or No in the dialog box asking if you want to remove existing styles that aren’t allowed by the restrictions you just set in the Formatting Restrictions dialog box.
11. Select the Yes, Start Enforcing Protection button.
12. Enter a password in the Start Enforcing Protection dialog box and then select OK.
Word allows you to turn on your restrictions without a password by selecting OK in the Start Enforcing Protection dialog box. However, without a password, other users can simply turn off the restrictions themselves.
How to Turn Off Style Restrictions
1. Return to the Restrict Editing task pane. (See steps 1–3 above.)
2. Select the Stop Protection button.
3. Enter your password in the Unprotect Document dialog box.
4. Select the OK button.
Note that this process won’t turn off the style restrictions for password-protected copies of this file you have shared with other users.
If you are interested in finding and replacing formatting, including several of the styles mentioned above, visit my previous post “How to Find and Replace Microsoft Word Formatting.”