How to Fix ‘You can’t make this change because the selection is locked’ Error in MS Word

You are trying to edit a document, but you cannot start editing. MS Word displays an error message “you can’t make this change because the selection is locked.”

There may be many reasons for the above message. Fortunately, it is quite easy to get rid of the problem so you can start editing the document.

We will show you six reasons why the message is displayed, and how to fix each:

  • Activate your Office Suite
  • Edit document from Print Layout
  • Disable Mark as Final
  • Disable Restrict Editing
  • Modify properties of the document
  • Create a New Document

We will use simple, step-by-step instructions.

Let’s start.


Method #1: Activate Your Office Suite

Microsoft is displaying the message because you are using a trial version of MS Office, and the trial period has expired.

Step #1: Open Word

Open the MS Word program.

The File menu will open.

Note: If you have already opened a document in Word, click on the File tab in the top menu bar to launch the File menu.

Step #2: Activate Office

In the left pane, click on Account at the bottom of the menu.

In the right pane, type your 25-character product key to activate Office.

You will now be able to edit the document.


Method #2: Edit Document from Print Layout

Word is displaying the message because it is opening the document in Read Only Mode.

Step #1: Open document

Open the Word document you want to edit.

Word opens the document in Read Only Mode.

Step #2: Change the view settings

Click on the View tab in the top menu bar.

This will open a menu.

Click on Edit Document to change over to Print Layout.

You will now be able to edit the document.


Method #3: Disable Mark as Final

Word is displaying the message because the author of the document has marked it as final.

Step #1: Open document

Open the Word document you want to edit.

Word opens the document in Read Mode.

In place of the ribbon, Word displays a message:

Step #2: Edit the document

Click on the Edit Anyway tab in the message.

You will now be able to edit the document.


Method #4: Disable Restrict Editing

Word is displaying the message because the author has restricted editing of the document only to those who know the password.

Step #1: Open document

Open the Word document you want to edit.

Word opens the document in Read Mode.

Try to edit the document.

A Restrict Editing pane appears on the right.

Step #2: Enter the password

Click on the Stop Protection tab at the bottom of the Restrict Editing pane.

A dialog box opens.

Type the password to unprotect the document.

Click on the OK button to close the dialog box.

You will now be able to edit the document.


Method #5: Modify Properties of the Document

Word is displaying the message because there is some problem with the metadata of the document. It does not allow editing some parts of the document, like its title.

Step #1: Open document

Open the Word document you want to edit.

Step #2: Open the file menu

Click on the File tab in the top menu bar.

This opens the File menu.

Step #3: Open advanced properties

In the left pane, click on the Info tab.

Click on Properties in the right pane.

 In the menu that opens, click on Advanced Properties.

Step #4: Modify properties of the document

The Properties dialog box will open.

Click on the Summary tab.

Modify the required properties of the document.

Click on the OK button at the bottom to close the dialog box.


Method #6: Create a New Document

This method is useful because it is simple and quick.

Step #1: Open document

Open the Word document you want to edit.

You cannot edit the document because it is protected.

Step #2: Copy the part you want to edit

Select the part you want to edit.

Right-click to open a menu.

Click on Copy.

The clipboard now holds a copy of the selection.

Step #3: Open a blank document

Click on the File tab in the top menu bar.

This opens the File menu.

In the left pane, click on New.

In the right pane, click on the Blank Document icon.

A new blank document will open.

Step #4: Paste the clipboard contents

Right-click within the document.

In the menu that opens, click on the first icon under Paste Options:.

This will preserve the original formatting of the document in the copy.

You will now be able to edit your new document.


Conclusion

We have shown you six ways of fixing the error message that does not allow document editing in Word. Use any one of these methods to solve your problem.

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