Word 2007: Unlocking locked functions

November 18, 2010

I was testing a draft template for an entire business unit today and to say it’s locked down would be an understatement. But I won’t go into all the details otherwise I’d be here all day.

Most tool icons on the Clipboard, Font and Paragraph groups on the Home tab in Word 2007 were locked down, as were the ability to re-insert a Table of Contents, insert a section break, reapply a template, modify a style, apply a decimal tab, etc. Also locked down was the ability to use many standard Word formatting keyboard shortcuts (like Ctrl+B for bold).

However, I did figure out how to get most of them back by making a single change!

Here’s what the locked down template’s Home tab looks like:

The only active tools are Paste, Sort, and Show/Hide. That severely limits what you can do! You cannot manually change the text alignment of a paragraph with either the icon or keyboard shortcut (e.g. Ctrl+E to center a figure), you cannot apply highlighting to a particular section, you cannot change a table’s borders, etc. I can understand why some organizations want to lock down the styles, but to lock down all this other stuff as well? That just baffles and frustrates me.

To get back most of these locked down functions:

  1. Go to the Developer tab. (If you don’t have the Developer tab on your ribbon, click the large Microsoft Office button in the top left. Click Word Options. Click Popular. Select the Show Developer tab in the Ribbon check box. Click OK.)
  2. Click the Visual Basic icon (far left on the Developer tab).
  3. The top left panel should show This Document for the document you have open.
  4. Go to the Properties panel and find EnforceStyle. (If you can’t see the Properties panel, select View > Properties Window from the menu.)
  5. Change its value from True to False.
  6. Click the Save icon on the toolbar and close the Microsoft Visual Basic window.
  7. Go back to the Home tab — your Font and Paragraph group icons are now active, as are the functions to insert a section break, insert a table of contents, apply a template, insert a decimal tab, align paragraph text, modify a style, etc. And all the standard keyboard shortcuts for formatting are active again too.


  1. Hi Rhonda

    I did not know about this setting. It could be very useful, if it does what it implies – enforce styles. If you set it to ‘True’, can they only apply defined styles (both paragraph and character styles)? I could see it being a huge advantage if, for example, you wanted someone to write a document that you wanted to later import into Author-it.


  2. I agree it could be very useful in enforcing styles for ‘general’ writers.

    But when my job at this company is to edit and format the docs, set up the sections, insert the TOC, highlight various areas for the authors to address etc., this is a serious impediment to my productivity — and VERY frustrating for someone who is used to using keyboard commands to assign styles etc. Intermediate and advanced Word users would be very angry trying to use this template. You can’t even apply a border to a table cell!

  3. I know it’s been 2.5 years since this was written, but I wanted to comment as it’s so bloody useful! Having been extremely frustrated trying to stick to a locked down document, I was very grateful when I came across this solution. Thank God people take the time to write these sorts of guides up for other people.

  4. Ditto to Joe! Thanks a lot!

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