Locking out styles in MS Word?

Subject: Locking out styles in MS Word?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 09 Aug 2006 09:04:30 -0400

Missed the original question, but if I've got the context right, it seems to be about how to stop reviewers from changing style definitions. On that assumption:

I'm not aware of any way to do this (as of Word X on the Mac, which is pre-Word 2002 / 2003 on the PC. But you may be able to kludge together an approach that will achieve a similar effect if you're not doing heavy editing during reviews. Here's how:

Open the Tools menu and select Protect Document. Of the available options, try "Comments". (Add a strong password if you want to prevent canny reviewers from disabling the protection. You can break the password easily enough, but it discourage idle tampering.) This tool disables the ability to change the text, even using revision tracking, and on my computer, it also stopped me from modifying styles. All I could do was insert comments. You may have more flexible options in more recent versions of Word, so have a look at the options and report back to techwr-l.

Clearly, this won't work if the reviewers must do significant editing. Equally clearly, you'll have to tell them what you've done so that you don't get an endless series of panicked calls that your document has broken their copy of Word. But if you've got to go to all this hassle in the first place, then you might as well take the time to explain to reviewers the problems they're causing by mucking about with the styles. The good ones will agree to help you by leaving the styles alone... and for the others, you can always protect the document. <g>

On the assumption that you're talking about writers, not reviewers, the solution is a bit more involved. First, find out why they feel obliged to create their own styles or modify the ones in the template. If the reason is simple, the solution is equally simple; for example, you forgot to provide a style that they need to use, the solution is to add that style to the template. If the reason is that they don't like to feel constrained by anyone else's design choices, then you've got a management / discipline problem: someone with authority needs to explain to them that this isn't how life works in the working world, and if they want to be creative, they can do it on their own time. In between these extremes lie a range of other possibilities, including the possibility that they don't really know how to use styles, and only need a bit of training.

-- Geoff Hart
ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca / geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com


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RE: locking out styles in MS Word: From: Diana Ost

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