Can a Finalized Microsoft Word Document Be Amended?

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The "Mark as Final" function was introduced to Microsoft Word in the 2007 version. Three methods can be used to amend a Word document that is marked as final.

Function

  • A Word document is finalized by clicking the Microsoft Office button and selecting "Mark as Final" from the "Prepare" menu. The "Mark as Final" option prevents inadvertent changes from being made to a document by "graying out" (i.e., prohibiting the use of) most functions, including typing, pasting and formatting.

Allowable Changes

  • When a Word document is finalized, you may still use some features, including copying text (but you must paste it in another document), changing margins and page orientation, searching for terms and switching among Track Changes views.

Copying Text

  • Unlike other read-only documents, finalized Word documents do not become amendable when you save a copy with a different name or in a different folder. However, you can copy text out of the document into another document.

Switching Off "Mark as Final"

  • Microsoft cautions that the "Mark as Final" function is not a security feature to prevent document amendments. You may edit a finalized Word document simply by clicking again on the "Mark as Final" menu item.

Using Earlier Versions of Word

  • Users can edit finalized Word documents in versions of Word earlier than Word 2007.

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