tech tips for writers / writing

Tech Tips for Writers #83: How Do I Use a ‘Read Only’ Doc?

Tech Tips for Writers is an occasional post on overcoming Tech Dread. I’ll cover issues that friends, both real-time and virtual, have shared. Feel free to post a comment about a question you have. I’ll cover it in a future Tip.

Q: The file I’m trying to use say’s ‘read only’. I need to edit it. What do I do?

A: A writer saves a document as ‘read only’ so no one can change their original work. This is important if they’re sending it to content reviewers who might accidentally edit their manuscript.

If you received a read-only document (with a bright yellow bar across the top telling you it’s ‘read only’), you can still save it to your computer. If you are expected to comment on it, save it under a different name (say, the original name with ‘edited’ appended to it) and then the read-only warning disappears.

BTW, if you’re the sender, and you used ‘read only’ to protect your work, it’s not a good solution because it takes so little to adjust the non-edit feature. A better solution is to save the document as a PDF (through File>save as) before sending. You can even go into the PDF settings and disable the copy-paste functions.

More tech tips for writers:

How do I convert my picture?

How to Add Shortcuts to the Desktop

Shortkey for the Copyright Symbol

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her book at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

19 thoughts on “Tech Tips for Writers #83: How Do I Use a ‘Read Only’ Doc?

  1. Pingback: Tech Tips for Writers #85: Browser Problem? Switch Browsers | WordDreams...

  2. I have several ‘Read Only’ documents I did not purposely create. Why does that happen? Not every file I save but some of the time. I hate re-saving them to other file names because it’s confusing. Anything I can do to stop this from persisting? H.e.l.p. Please. 😦


    • Sometimes they default to ‘read only’ if you email a copy (even to yourself) or you might receive it from someone else as a read-only. Unfortunately, the only way to regain editing privileges is to ‘save- as’ under a new name.

      If it’s not intentional, it shouldn’t happen too often (well, except the part about receiving files from others in that format).

      Liked by 1 person

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