Making Word Template Documents Read Only When Sent To Customers

Patrick Roth - Click for blog homepageThis is a reposting of an article Patrick Roth originally wrote on my Developing for Dynamics GP blog.

I was recently talking with one of our fine Distribution Support engineers discussing Word Template issues.

One topic that came up was their team has apparently been asked quite a number of times by customers: If we send out our invoices as Word documents, our customers can edit them to be for less money and then not pay us the full amount.

Interesting theory – the part about the customer now owing your company less money anyway.  In Dynamics GP, the invoice will still be entered for $100 and if the customer only sends you a payment for $80- when you run statements they’ll still get one for the difference.

However as we discussed it, it seemed to me that Word DOES allow you to password protect files and therefore make them read-only if you desired.

So after discussing why this would work and how to do this, the engineer went out to test the theory.  And it did work just fine.

Below are the steps that will allow documents created with a Word Template to essentially be read only.

You can set the templates to a read only status by using functionality in Microsoft Word to set protection on the Word Template.

In the example below, we just used a default original template as the base but this would apply to any template that is created.

  1. In Template Maintenance select the default Original Template and click New.
  2. Create a new Template based off the original and give it a name.
  3. Click modify to open the document in Microsoft Word.
  4. Click the Review tab.
  5. For Office 2007:
    a. Click Protect Document and click Restricted Access.
    b. Mark the checkbox Restrict permissions to this document.
    c. Click the More Options button.
    d. In the Permissions window you can grant users read only permissions and also allow them the ability to print the content.
  6. For Office 2010:
    a. Click Restrict Editing.
    b. Mark the checkbox in step 2 ( Allow only this type of editing in the document) and select No Changes (Read only).
    c. In the Exceptions section you can add users to allow them to edit the document.
    d. Click Yes, Start Enforcing Protection.
    e. Enter password information for the document.
  7. Exit Word and save the Template.
  8. Re-associate the template by clicking the green plus symbol in Template Maintenance.
  9. Assign the new template to the Company.

Keep on mind that this is Word functionality and not Dynamics GP functionality.

Thanks to David Bader for proving out my theory.

Best Regards,

Patrick Roth
Microsoft Dynamics GP Developer Support

This article was originally posted on the Developing for Dynamics GP Blog and has been reposted on

8 thoughts on “Making Word Template Documents Read Only When Sent To Customers

  1. I've heard this complaint a number of times, and I'm surprised.  I don't believe anyone would change their accounting records if presented with a conflicting document by one of their customers.  Besides there are two alternative formats that can be used when e-mailing documents.
    Thank you for supplying a solution for those that are still a little nervous about it.
    Steve Chapman


  2. Surely with all the free PDF writers around, this is not still an issue. Hopefully nobody is providing services or goods without a valid PO which holds the value due anyway.
    I suppose it is good to show people though, you can make Office docs read only from a template.


  3. Hi Jem
    The Letter Writing Assistant does not use the Word Templates and is based on different method of getting data into word.


  4. Jem,
    I don't see how you could, no.  After the document is generated, you would have to password protect it yourself at that time.


  5. Patrick,
    Sorry, I don't get you. What i do is I create a Letter in Letter Writing Assistant with a Protection so they will not be able to move or delete, but when i prepared it an error message is showing "From Microsoft VB – The OpenDataSource method or property is not available because the correct selection is locked for editing. And from MS Dynamics GP "Unhandled object exception. EXCEPTION_CLASS_OBJECT_EXCEPTION.


  6. Hi Jem
    There is NO WAY to password protect the original "base" document for the Letter Writing Assistant as the method used to populate the document requires write access.
    As Patrick mentions, you could protect the resulting "populated" document, but you cannot achieve what you are describing.


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