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Protected view (Word 2010)

Views: 2984 Created: 02/02/2013 05:07 am Last Updated: 09/02/2013 04:26 pm 0 Rating/ Voters


Q. Occasionally I get a Pathagoras error message accompanied by an orange bar across the top of my screen that tells me that the document is being shown in 'Protected View'. How can I avoid that error and message?

A. In Microsoft's never ending efforts to protect you from yourself, it has developed a routine that will detect whether a document that you are about to open originates from the Internet. If it does, Word will mark it as 'suspicious' and allow it to be opened as 'read only' until you tell it otherwise. You must affirmatively 'click' that the document is okay in order for the 'read only' designation to be removed. (Here is Microsoft's detailed explanation re: Protected View, containing the history and thoughts behind its implementation. GeekLevel Warning: AAA+++ http://blogs.technet.com/b/office2010/archive/2009/08/13/protected-view-in-office-2010.aspx)

   All of this wouldn't be so bad if the 'okay' click related back to the original document but, it does not. That is because Pathagoras generates an exact copy of a document when it performs document assembly. (We never operate on the original so you won't accidentally overwrite the original as you are editing the text.) When you click 'okay' on the orange "Protected View" button, the click relates only to the on-screen copy. So the original is never marked 'okay' and you don't avoid the question when you call up the document a second time. Another copy, another question.

    Solution: You have to mark the original (actual, source) document as safe, or tell Word to ignore the Protected View protection altogether.

  • To mark the source text as safe, go to the source folder and open each document and 'accept' each one, one-at-a-time. Save the document and the Protected View switch is gone. If there are only a few documents this will work very nicely. But see the third bullet below.
  • If you are regularly downloading documents from the Internet, you can disable the protection. Here is a good step-by-step article on how to accomplish this: http://www.howtogeek.com/60310/enable-editing-for-all-office-2010-documents-by-disabling-protected-view/
  • There does not appear to be a middle ground alternative -- i.e., leave the protection on, but disable it for a designated folder that you know contains 'safe stuff.' If you want to continue the protection in general, but turn off the protection for good files in your Pathagoras source folders, you will have to follow the steps in the first bullet above. (Remember, the problem arises only from files downloaded from the Internet, generally via email. It will not be a pervasive issue for most.)