How to Stop Word Prompt: The author would like you to open this as read-only…

Does this pop-up annoy you every time you open a particular Word document? Here’s the fix.

At my day job, we use quite a few Word template documents, some of which date back a decade or more. And there’s this one template that really bugs me, because every time you open it, it asks:

The author would like you to open this as read-only, unless you need to make changes. Open as read-only?

And every time I open this, I click “No.” Because if you accidentally click “Yes,” then you get this message when you try to save it.

We can’t save this file because it’s read-only. To keep your changes, you’ll need to save the document with a new name or in a different location.

Argh! First of all, if your Word document is so precious, then you should either password protect and encrypt your Word doc or, I don’t know, back it up and keep the master copy in a non-public location? In this age of SharePoint and Dropbox and Office 365 with versioning, check-ins, and check-outs, is there ever any reason why you would want to recommend a document be opened in read-only rather than just enforcing it?

No, I know the reason: just to annoy me. Me, and maybe you, too, since you’re reading this article.

Anyway, I found a way to put an end to this. And it’s pretty obscure. Here’s what you have to do:

Disable Microsoft Word Read-only Recommendation

A thousand years ago, before Word document authors everywhere began using modern version control methods, you could build this annoying prompt into your Word doc whenever it’s opened. You can disable this feature the same way you enable it.

To do that, click File then Save As and then More options

Now, to the left of the Save button is a little drop-down that says Tools. Click it.

Look at all these weird options. If you’re curious, you can poke around this menu. But if you just want to get rid of the “The author would like you to open this as read-only…” prompt, click General Options

Next, uncheck Read-only recommended. Click OK.

Save your document so that the change takes effect.

There. Now that annoying pop-up shouldn’t show up again. If you’re in a situation like me, do yourself and your organization a favor and permanently fix whatever obnoxious Word files have this pop-up in it.

Is there anything else in Word that bugs you? Tell me about in the comments and I’ll see if there’s a fix.




  1. Linda Heimlich

    Thank you for this tip! I also hate those documents and will be changing them all as soon as I can.

  2. James Shenwick

    1. I use Outlook 365 and when someone emails me a Word document as an attachment I need to click “Open” to review/edit document and I would like to change settings so document opens automatically without clicking open 2. Also I would like a beginners guide to getting started with Microsoft Access 365-how to get started using the program. Thanks Jim

    • Jack Busch

      I know exactly what you mean on item #1 and that bugs me too. Let me see what I can find out!

  3. Micheal O Doibhilin

    Thanks a million for this tip. I have a different yet similar problem, though. Every time I open a Microsoft Office document (Excel, PowerPoint, Word etc.) that I have created and saved, it opens in protected mode. I have to enable editing (which is a delay as it appears the file must be downloaded again) and I have to save it under a different name, the computer not allowing me save as the original. So I have two copies of every file I open! This only occurs since I upgraded to Windows 10

  4. Dewey

    Arggh! Thank you! Had a ticket saying the file was opened by another user, and anytime I’d check the server… nope.

    But then I stumbled on this gem, and the light washed through my neurons… AHA! A solution!

    I am especially fond of the graphic chosen at the top of this article; an accurate depiction!

    (seriously why does Microsoft enable these things but take away everyday items… I will never know)

  5. Marijn

    “is there ever any reason why you would want to recommend a document be opened in read-only rather than just enforcing it?”
    Yes! When the document is meant to be used as a template. Which is what you are saying yourself. A template should not be changed often, since you want many documents to be created from the same template. It should not be hidden or protected, because then people can not use it. So what I imagine you would do is open the template, fill it in and then save the result in a new location.

  6. Cheryl

    “Stop the annoying Word prompt ‘the author would like you to…’ –

  7. Elaine Atkinson

    Thank you so much for the accurate info with screenshots!! This did the job! And I laughed out loud at how entertaining you made this article. Good stress relief on top of solving my issue–thanks a ton! :D

  8. Alba

    Thanks a ton! Though I have to disappoint you… I used your post to actually do the exact opposite: enabling this option! :P
    I was looking for a way to remind myself to save the document under a different name every time I modify it (version 1, version 2 etc.), before clicking “Save”! (I must keep every single edited version).
    Now every time I open the document, a nice pop-up (in my opinion ;P) shows and I know I must open it in “Read-only” and save it again :)

  9. William Bell

    Microsoft office just started bugging me every time I open excel, because oppted out of allowing MS to send extra data back to them!

  10. Steve

    Thank you! This is exactly what I was looking for. The prompt was very annoying.

  11. Ross

    I know it is older, but still a great tip and a great job explaining!

  12. Scott Knitter

    I had this problem with some Word documents, and it turned out to be that they had a template attached that was set to read-only recommended. I did the fix on the template file, and now all the files using that template open without that message about “The author recommends…” I wonder what will happen for other users, as I doubt that when they open the file, it will come looking for my fixed template that’s on my hard disk. Will experiment further…

  13. Cheryl

    Here’s how to remove it on a MAC.
    Open the file, click SAVE AS
    Under FILE FORMAT you see OPTIONS
    click on OPTIONS
    Unselect the box [x] Read Only- recommended
    and SAVE then it won’t bother you again

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