How-To

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.

 

25 Comments

25 Comments

  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.

    • STH

      How about when you have an instructional document saved to your team’s SharePoint site and you do not want them to accidentally make an edit to the document that they are only viewing. With Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365), when you open an Office document from SharePoint it will open in edit mode for shared use so that multiple people can work in the same document at the same time. This is a great new functionality but isn’t always appropriate, and since it opens like a webpage does, the people reading the document might not realize that they are in edit mode and that it is continuously saving any edits they accidentally make. In the old days they would open the doc in the Word App and if they accidentally made any changes they would say “Don’t Save” when they go to close out, but that isn’t the case anymore; even if they chose to open it in the Word App, it is opened in edit mode for collaboration with others and it continuously saves any accidental edits without asking for conformation of saving – that is why to use that “recommend read-only setting”.

  6. Cheryl

    “Stop the annoying Word prompt ‘the author would like you to…’ –
    IT STOPPED, THANKS TO YOU! BLESS YOU!!

  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

  14. Hasan Kedwaii

    IT was all great until i found that the ‘General Options…’ was grayed out. any ideas?

  15. Joe

    Perfect, and great instructions! I had edited and now own the doc, yet still was getting the read-only desired notice. Thanks!

  16. Beth

    Thank you so much for this tip! It solved the problem for me, and I hadn’t found this advice elsewhere online.

  17. Don

    Can it be uncheck the box using powershell?

  18. Maeva

    Thank you! This message was soooooo annoying! Your post was very helpful.

  19. Shanna

    THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! We got new letterhead at our organization and it was driving me insane that this popped up EVERY time, even thought I had saved a local copy of the file, so it wasn’t like I was working off the master file.

    You have saved me so much annoyance!! You’re the best!

  20. Weezy

    This nasty feature was put on document templates, but this is also a group of people who recommend saving documents as PDFs to prevent people from changing them even though we have version history. SMH

  21. Ann

    Thank you! This was very helpful, and easy to follow!

  22. Donovan

    This still isn’t working for me, in my 2019 version of WORD there is no ‘more options’button available and when I go into the general options there is no box to uncheck. Any suggestions?

    • Ben Stockton

      Hi Donovan, thanks for letting us know! This is an older article, so we’re going to review and update it shortly, so keep an eye out.

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