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Can we limit changes Word Document RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello,

    We have an existing application where we create a subcontract.  In this subcontract we have a standard Terms and Conditions wording.  Our users are only allowed to do two things.  They can strike-through text and they can insert text.  They cannot delete or free form at all.  So anything they strike-trough is obviously visible as a strike through and when we allow the insert of text it always shows up as blue italic. 

    WHY?  It makes it very easy for our contract administrators to examine the changes our project managers have made to the document.  Usually there are very few strike-through's and additions, but being able to see them and only allow those two changes is critical.

    This of course is with our old custom made systsem.  We are now using a new accounting system that makes use of Word documents for all documents.  So our issue is trying to achieve the same level of protection for these documents, but through Word.

    Can you force a word document to limit it's capabilities to the document to the two things I have mentioned?  Or at least without proper security or something????

    I know there is a track changes feature, but I don't believe that is what we want as it does show changes, but not limit what they can do.

    This may be a strange request, but this is a BIG issue for us.  We must have control over our subcontracts and what the user is allowed to change. 

    Thanks,

    Greg

    Monday, July 18, 2011 2:51 PM

Answers

  • Hi Greg

    1. You can PROTECT the document for Track Changes. With a password. So the normal user isnt' going to be able to "break" that.

    2. When that protection is activated, the user won't be able to access the graphics layer at all, so the watermark will be protected at the same time.


    Cindy Meister, VSTO/Word MVP
    Tuesday, July 19, 2011 11:31 AM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Hi Greg

    I'd say no, it's not really possible. With the Windows API you might be able to enforce the user not being able to press Delete or Backspace. And you might be able to enforce keeping the "Typing replaces selection" option off. Maybe. But Word wasn't really designed for this and there's nothing in the object model that's going to help you.

    What might make sense would be to use the Track Changes (Revisions) feature with that protection turned on. If you do that, the user can only make changes that are captured by Track Changes, and he can't turn it off.

    If we're talking Word 2007 or 2010 you could then modify the RibbonXML to repurpose standard formatting commands so that they don't do anything.

    If you don't want to keep the track changes you can use Office Open XML to process the (closed) document, removing the revisions marking and setting the formatting you want to use (strike through, blue italic) on the original text.


    Cindy Meister, VSTO/Word MVP
    Monday, July 18, 2011 4:37 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi Greg

    I'd say no, it's not really possible. With the Windows API you might be able to enforce the user not being able to press Delete or Backspace. And you might be able to enforce keeping the "Typing replaces selection" option off. Maybe. But Word wasn't really designed for this and there's nothing in the object model that's going to help you.

    What might make sense would be to use the Track Changes (Revisions) feature with that protection turned on. If you do that, the user can only make changes that are captured by Track Changes, and he can't turn it off.

    If we're talking Word 2007 or 2010 you could then modify the RibbonXML to repurpose standard formatting commands so that they don't do anything.

    If you don't want to keep the track changes you can use Office Open XML to process the (closed) document, removing the revisions marking and setting the formatting you want to use (strike through, blue italic) on the original text.


    Cindy Meister, VSTO/Word MVP


    Cindy,

    Thanks for the reply.  We started playing around with Track Changes and it looks like it can help keep track of what is going on... so if the user deletes it does strike-thorugh and if they add it will be italic and a color.  Now to find out if you can lock track changes on so they cannot turn it off per document.  These documents are .dot files that when pulled into the system have data merged into them as well.

    We will play and see if we can live with something in the track changes system.  If I can lock it on when a document is opened then perhaps we can help guarantee changes are tracked. 

    The next question would be having a watermark show on the document without the user being able to remove it unless they have rights to do so.  Our custom program always placed a watermark saying (Draft - NOT Legal Copy) and this printed for all user accept the Contract Administrator.

    Thanks again,

    Greg

    Monday, July 18, 2011 6:46 PM
  • Hi Greg,

    Concerning the watermarking this is possible, I do it regularly.

    It's done in a combination of checking if your watermark still exists and using Document Variables that are set appropriately depending on the situation. You have to check this information at document save, close, open, etc and take appropriate action. I won't claim this method is perfect but it will stop most of the problem people.


    Kind Regards, Rich ... http://greatcirclelearning.com
    Monday, July 18, 2011 9:58 PM
  • Hi Greg

    1. You can PROTECT the document for Track Changes. With a password. So the normal user isnt' going to be able to "break" that.

    2. When that protection is activated, the user won't be able to access the graphics layer at all, so the watermark will be protected at the same time.


    Cindy Meister, VSTO/Word MVP
    Tuesday, July 19, 2011 11:31 AM
    Moderator
  • I came across this while hunting for my question (hoping it would include an answer) and spotted your suggestion to "repurpose standard formatting commands so that they don't do anything."  That is a part of what I might need to do and is the closest thing I have found to my question. Just what commands are we talking about with that, since I've found at least 2 dozen candidates and can't determine what any of them do? 
    Wednesday, September 17, 2014 2:30 PM