How to Make Word Documents Fillable but Not Editable

By Tricia Goss

Quickly customize a form for clients and customers using Word's content controls.
i Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

One benefit of using Microsoft Word as your business's word-processing application is that you can create forms that are both protected and fillable. Adding the Developer tab to the ribbon enables you to use controls that allow users to mark check boxes, select dates, choose options from drop-down lists and more. When you have completed the form, you can add protection to it, which will prevent those filling the forms from making any changes to the base document.

Add the Developer tab. Select the "File" tab, click "Options" and choose "Customize Ribbon." Select the "Developer" check box in the Customize the Ribbon list under Main Tabs and click "OK."

Add content controls. Open a template or a new, blank document and select the "Developer" tab. Click on the document where you want to add a text box, check box or other control and click the type of control you want to add in the Controls group.

Add properties to the control. Click on the content control and select "Properties" in the Controls group of the Developer tab to open the Content Control Properties dialog box. Customize the control and click "OK."

Add instructional text if you want to provide instructions, tips or other information for the control. Click "Design Mode" in the Controls group on the Developer tab. Click on the content control and type your instructional text over the example text. Make sure "Contents Cannot Be Edited" is not selected in the controls properties, or users will not be able to type over the instructional text.

Protect the document so it is not editable. Press "Ctrl-A" to select the entire document, or click "Select" in the Editing group of the Home tab and choose "Select All." Select the "Developer" tab and click "Restrict Editing" in the Protect group. Save the document before closing it.


Information in this article applies to Word 2013. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products