How to edit a document in Word

Wondering how to edit a document in Word?

Microsoft Word comes with several useful editing features that make adding and tracking changes easy.

You can enable editing by either entering the document’s password, saving a copy, or adjusting its permissions.

Then, you can access tracking and comments features through the ‘Review’ section in the document header.

Word is Microsoft’s flagship word processor program, which is included as part of its Office 365 Suite.

It’s hugely popular, with a global user base of at least 345 million people who use it in everything from education to business to government document creation.

That is because many of the features it offer are user-friendly.

This page will explain exactly how to edit a document in Word and explore key features that you may find useful for document collaboration.

So, let’s begin. 

How to enable editing in Word

If you try opening the Word app on your computer right now, you probably won’t need to “enable” editing.

Assuming you’ve paid for your Office 365 license, you’ll be able to create, edit, and format documents from the get-go.

However, if you’ve received a Word document that appears to be in read-only or protected mode, as is often the case when you manage documents, you may have to take certain actions to edit it.

Here’s how to do it.

1. Open the document

Start by downloading and opening the Word document you want to edit.

You can do this by double-clicking the document file or launching Microsoft Word directly from an email attachment.

2. Review document protection

If the document is in read-only mode or protected, you’ll see a yellow banner at the top of the page.

There are several reasons for this.

  • Password protection. If the document is password-protected, you’ll need to enter this before you can open the file. Contact the document’s creator for the case-sensitive password.
  • Read-only mode. If the document is in read-only mode, you’ll see a yellow banner at the top of the page. Try saving a copy to your local drive. This should allow you to edit it.
  • Document permissions. Sometimes, documents may have specific permissions set that limit editing. You’ll need to check and adjust these if this is the case. To do this, click on “File” > “Info” > “Protect document” > “Restrict editing.”

3. Edit the document

Once you’ve addressed the issue, you should be able to edit the document as normal.

Just double-check with the document creator before making any changes!

4. Save your changes

After making your edits, be sure to save the document by clicking on “File” > “Save” or “File” > “Save as” to create a new version of the document.

How to edit a Word document using track changes

Microsoft Word also offers a document tracking feature that makes it easy to see changes in chronological order.

This is perfect for collaborative document revisions and version control, keeping everyone (literally) on the same page. Let’s explore how you can use it.

Setting up track changes

Start by opening your document, then go to the “Review” tab, and select “Track changes.”

Once activated, any modifications you make will be highlighted for ease of collaboration.

You can edit Word documents online for free or access this feature via the desktop app.

How it appears on-screen

With “Track changes” engaged, additions are extra visible thanks to red highlights and underlining.

Deletions, on the other hand, are presented with a strikethrough, and text that’s been removed is retained in the margins.

You can see who made what change by hovering over the “balloons” displayed at the side of the document.

Understanding how to edit Word documents with the track changes feature is great as it allows multiple individuals to contribute their input to a document without overwriting or confusing the original content. 

It also maintains a record of who made each change, enhancing transparency and accountability, and making it easy to accept or reject changes individually.

Adding and deleting comments in Word

Word’s comment system lets users add explainer text to their edits, helping others decide whether to keep or remove their suggestions.

Comments appear in the right-hand margin of the document, with a “balloon” that displays who created it or has replied to it.

If you hover over the comment balloon, it’ll show you the text the comment applies to. Here’s how you can get started.

Adding comments

To add a comment, select the text you want to comment on.

You can do this by highlighting it or clicking in the desired place.

Then, go to the “Review” tab and click on “New comment”.

A bubble will appear in the margin adjacent to the selected text. You type your comment inside this.

Deleting comments

To delete a comment, locate the comment bubble you wish to remove in the margin.

Right-click on it, and a menu will appear. From the menu, select “Delete comment.”

The bubble and its associated text will be removed. Alternatively, you can select “Resolve” and it will be grayed out.

Master the art of editing Word documents online and offline

Editing Word documents is an integral process for many businesses, especially when it comes to adding eSignatures to contracts, forms, or other legal documents.

Fortunately, our document management software empowers you to edit and request signatures, and efficiently track document status all without leaving Word.

You can also save time on tedious processes by having the file automatically moved to the next stage in your workflow.

PandaDoc helps you seal the deal, so why not get started with a free 14-day trial?