Word: Deleting a locked content control

September 6, 2013

I had a devil of a time trying to delete a text box from the cover page of a Word 2007/2010 document the other day. Nothing I tried would delete it.

Then I noticed that it had a content control box for the title and wondered if that could be the culprit — it was! Someone had set the properties for that content control to stop it from being deleted <grrr>.

Once I cleared that check box, I could delete the content control and its surrounding text box.

Here’s what one of these content controls looks like (Note: they don’t exist in Word 2003):


To check the content control’s properties, I had to select the control, then go to the Developer tab, and click Properties. That’s where I saw the check box that prevented it from being deleted:


All it took was to clear that check box, click OK, and I could delete the text box successfully.

Hopefully this will save someone else some time pulling out their hair wondering why a text box that they’ve deleted heaps of times before in other documents won’t delete now.

If you can’t see the Developer tab in Word 2007 or later, here’s how to show it:

[Links last checked September 2013]


  1. Great tip!

  2. Thanks very much. I was trying to delete an image and it was driving me crazy.

  3. Thank you. Seriously, MS have a lot to answer for with all their programs. It shouldn’t be this hard.

  4. I was so relieved when I finally figured out how to access the Developer’s Tab/properties. Now, I’m growing exhausted of clicking properties/unchecking the boxes everytime I want to delete a content controlled object with Word 2013.

    Does anyone have any idea on how to modify the properties of content controlled objects for multiple objects at once? Selecting multiple doesn’t do it, maybe I have to write a macro to do this?

  5. Legend, thanks mate

  6. You are a god.


  7. I can only agree with the previous God reference. And a very clearly described resolution as well, many thanks.

  8. At last! Word is in a much need of a KISS procedure. (KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid).

  9. I don’t know you, but I LOVE YOU!!!

  10. Thank you very much!

  11. how it could be done in vba?

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