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Microsoft Word: “This modification is not allowed because the selection is locked.”

If you’re getting a message at the bottom of Word 2007, Word 2010, or other products in the Office suite whenever you try to change the document saying “This modifications is not allowed because the selection is locked.”, this article should answer your question ‘why’ and tell you how to make your document editable again.

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There are four possible causes to this problem:

  1. The document is marked as final.
  2. The document is protected.
  3. You are using a trial of Office 2007.
  4. Office 2007 has not yet been activated.

Document is Marked as Final

You will also be unable to paste into the document. If you hover over the Paste button under the Home tab, you’ll get this error message: “This command is currently disabled. This command is not available because the document is marked as final.”

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The rest of that error message also points us in the right direction.

Click on the Office button (the circle with the office logo on it in the top-left corner) and go down to the Prepare sub-menu. In this sub-menu, you’ll see an icon next to ‘Mark as Final’ highlighted in orange. This means that it is enabled and the document is “finalized.” It won’t allow any changes to the document. It would be best practice to mark your document as final before you send it off to others for professional evaluation. This also makes the red (spelling) and green (grammar) squiggles under words go away as well as any marked changes throughout the document.

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Besides the ‘Mark as Final’ icon being highlighted in the Prepare sub-menu you will also notice a small version of the same icon at the bottom of Word 2007 in the status bar.

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In order to make changes, the document just needs to be “un-finalized.” Go back to the Office button -> Prepare menu and click “Mark as Final” to toggle it off. After that, the icon will now appear unhighlighted and the icon will be gone from the status bar.

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Document is Protected

If you are still not able to edit the document, it may be protected. Switch to the Review tab and then hit the Protect Document button to bring up a small menu.

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From that menu, choose Restrict Formatting and Editing.

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Next to the document, a little window should pop up. If at the bottom, you have a Stop Protection button, click that. If you don’t see that button but instead see a ‘Start protection‘ button, you can close this little window. This setting is not the one locking your document. You may have to enter a password in order to modify the document. You’ll need to know the password in order to stop this protection.

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Your trial of Office 2007 has expired.

If you’re using Office 2007 that came with your computer, likely it was only a trial and has expired. Try opening your document in the free Open Office or purchase a full version of Microsoft Office 2007. “If you have the Office Home and Student 2007 Trial preloaded on your computer, you can purchase the disc version and use the product-key to unlock and activate the preloaded trial.”

Buy Microsoft Office 2013 Home and Student through Amazon.com

From the Microsoft Office Help:

Grace period Before you enter a valid Product Key, you can run the software 25 times, which is the grace period. During the grace period, certain features or programs might be enabled that are not included in the product you have purchased. After you enter a valid Product Key, you will see only the programs and features that you have purchased.

Reduced Functionality mode After the grace period, if you have not entered a valid Product Key, the software goes into Reduced Functionality mode. In Reduced Functionality mode, your software behaves similarly to a viewer. You cannot save modifications to documents or create new documents, and functionality might be reduced. No existing files or documents are harmed in Reduced Functionality mode. After you enter your Product Key and activate your software, you will have full functionality for the programs and features that you purchased.

Office 2007 has not yet been activated.

If you’re seeing the problem in both Word and Excel, the problem is obviously Office-wide. Office 2007 may not have been activated.While you’re connected to the Internet, go to the Office button in the top-left corner and choose Word Options from the bottom of the menu.

From the new window that pops up, choose Resources on the left-hand side and then click the Activate button. This should either activate Word, say it’s already Activated (meaning this isn’t the cause of your problems), or provide more information about why it isn’t and can’t be activated.

You can also click the ‘About’ button to see the currently entered licensing information for Office 2007.