How to restrict a word document from being forwarded or printed

Written by bonnie conrad
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How to restrict a word document from being forwarded or printed
Protect your confidential documents from unauthorised printing. (dun cat - printer image by Maria Brzostowska from

Creating and sending confidential documents is always a risk. No matter how careful you are with your documents, there is always the chance one of the recipients will forward the document to someone who is not authorised to see its contents. There is also the risk that one or more recipients will print a hard copy of the confidential document, creating the risk of disclosure by leaving the information on the printer for all to see. Fortunately, the newest version of Microsoft Word includes Information Rights Management, a service designed to prevent the unauthorzed printing or forwading of confidential documents.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Log on to your computer and open Microsoft Word. Open the document you want to restrict.

  2. 2

    Click the "Office" button at the top left hand corner of the screen and choose "Prepare." Select "Restrict Permission" and check the "Do Not Distribute" check box.

  3. 3

    Select "Restrict permission to this document" and check the appropriate permissions for the file. If you want to restrict the document from being forwarded or printed, check "Read" or "Change." Do not assign full control, since that option allows users to do whatever they wish with the document, including printing it and forwarding it to unauthorised recipients.

  4. 4

    Click "OK" after making your changes. The document is now protected using the Information Rights Management service.

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