How to Prevent Editing of the Header/Footer of a Word Document

Headers and Footers are very important when it comes to a Word document. You can embed important information like the name of your company or your website URL in headers or footers. So even if the document passes through many people, your credit doesn’t get stolen. But Word documents can always be edited including the headers and footers. So is there a way how you can lock the header and footer of a document so that they cannot be edited by other people who use it? Well, there definitely is!

In this article, we explain in some very easy steps how you can lock and protect the header/footer of a document so that others cannot edit it without knowing the password that you initially set. Read on, to learn how you can master this awesome Word trick.

How to Lock and Protect Header & Footer in Word

Step 1: Firstly open the Word document that you want to protect the header/footer of.

Then click on the very first point of the very first page of your document. We are going to divide your document into 2 sections based on this point. The section above this point will be the header section and the section from/below this point would be the actual document.


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Step 2: Now click on the PAGE LAYOUT tab at the top panel.

Under the PAGE LAYOUT options, click on the dropdown menu named Breaks and choose Continuous from the list of options.


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Step 3: As you can now see, there is an empty space added to your document before the heading. This is actually the section break that got added.


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Step 4: To decrease the section division width, click on the HOME tab at the top. As next, click on the Show/Hide button.

Now you will be able to view the Section Break (Continuous) that you added. Let’s make this smaller to decrease the empty space width. For that, click on the initial point of the section break first.


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Step 5: Then type in 1 in the font size dropdown and hit the Enter key.


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Step 6: As you can now see, the empty space before your header is now considerably reduced. Now, let’s hide the section break. For that click on the Show/Hide button once again.


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Step 7: Now that your document is all formatted, let’s go ahead and lock your header so that it cannot be edited. Click on the FILE tab at the top.


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Step 8: In the left navigation pane, click on the Info tile first.

Now click on the dropdown option named Protect Document.

Finally, choose the option Restrict Editing from the list of options available.


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Step 9: On the right side of your document, you will now be able to view the Restrict Editing options.

Firstly, check the checkbox corresponding to the option Allow only this type of editing in the document under the section Editing Restrictions.

Then choose No Changes (Read only) from the dropdown menu just below.

Finally, click on the very first point of your Word document.


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Step 10: Once you have clicked on the very first point of the very first page of your Word document, press the keys CTRL + SHIFT + END together to select the whole document at once.

Once the whole document is selected, in the Restrict Editing options, check the checkbox corresponding to the Everyone option under the Exceptions (optional) section.


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Step 11: You can now see that your whole document is selected. That’s it. Hit the Yes, Start Enforcing Protection button to proceed.


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Step 12: You will now be on the Start Enforcing Protection window where you have to enter a password and confirm it, to prevent other users from overwriting your section lock settings.

For that, firstly choose the radio button corresponding to Password. Then enter a password, be sure to remember it later, in the Enter new password (optional) field and repeat the same password in the Reenter password to confirm field. Once you are all set, hit the OK button.

Note: You have the option not to give a password. But it is highly recommended that you give a password, else malicious users can overwrite your settings and your header/footer can be unlocked by them and be edited as well.


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Step 13: Your whole document will now be highlighted in yellow and yellow indicates the parts that you can edit in your document. If you look at your header, you can see that it is not highlighted in yellow, meaning that the header cannot be edited anymore.

If you would like to remove the yellow highlighting, then click on the checkbox corresponding to the option Highlight the regions I can edit. This will uncheck the checkbox.


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Step 14: The yellow highlighting will now be gone and you can safely click on the close button corresponding to the Restrict Editing options.


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Step 15: Viola! If you double click on the header section now, you can easily verify that the header section can only be selected and that it cannot be edited. Whereas, the rest of the document is still editable.


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Note: If you would like to lock the footer as well, you can follow the same steps. You just need to break the document just before the footer. And the rest of the steps would be the same.

Please tell us in the comments section if you are stuck at any of the steps. Stay tuned for more tips, how-tos, and tricks!