Open and edit files in Protected View

Office 365
Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint open the file in the Protected View mode when you open a file from an online location, such as a cloud storage location, email message, or another insecure location. In the Protected View mode, most editing functions are disabled. Microsoft apps do this to prevent malicious code from accessing your computer.

When the file is opened in Protected View, Word, Excel, or PowerPoint displays:

  • Protected View label in the title bar to the right of the file name,
  • a yellow banner at the top of the content pane explains why the file was opened in Protected View.

For example:

Protected View in Word 365
Protected View in Excel 365
Protected View 2 in Word 365

Read-only the file opened in Protected View

If you are not going to change the file content, you can hide the banner by clicking the Close button (the X) at its right end.


Open a file in Protected View

To open a file in the Protected View mode, in the Open dialog box (see how to open this dialog box in Word, in Excel), in the Open list, click the arrow on the right side of the Open button, then select Open in Protected View from the drop-down list.

For example, in Word:

Open in Protected View Word 365

Note: You may face a situation when some types of files, regardless of the location, don't open, and a warning message is displayed. For example:

Message to open in Protected View Word 365

See File Block settings below to configure which files can be opened and saved or denied opening or saving.


Modify, edit the file opened in Protected View

If you are sure that the file was received/uploaded from a safe location or the trusted sender and want to edit the file content, click the Enable Editing or Edit Anyway button.

Note: Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint remember files you have edited even in suspicious locations. The next time you open this file, it may open without the Protected View mode warning. See how to stop remembering such files below (in the Trusted Documents).


Open files from a location without a Protected View

To open a file from a specific online storage folder without switching into the Protected view mode, you need to add it (and its subfolders if needed) to the Trusted Locations list. Do the following:

   1.   On the File tab, click the Options button:

options in Office 365

   2.   In the *** Options dialog box, on the Trust Center tab, click the Trust Center Settings... button.

For example, in Word:

Trust Center Settings in Word 365

   3.   In the Trust Center dialog box, on the Trusted Locations tab, the User Locations list shows the folders from which you can open files without Protected View.

For example, in Word:

Trusted Locations in Word 365

You can add a new location to this list, remove and modify the existing locations.


Change settings to open files without Protected View

In Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, there are three core settings selected by default:

Protected View in Office 365
  • Enable Protected View for files originating from the Internet controls files opened from a website. To open any file from the Internet without the Protected View mode, unselect this check box.
  • Enable Protected View for files located in potentially unsafe locations controls files opened from certain folders considered unsafe, such as Temporary internet files. Unselect this check box if you want to open all files without Protected View.
  • Enable Protected View for Outlook attachments controls attachments that you try to open from an email message in Microsoft Outlook. To open any files from the Outlook attachments, unselect this check box.

Excel adds two more settings, both of which are unselected by default:

Protected View in Excel 365
  • Always open untrusted Text-Based files (.csv, .dif and .sylk) in Protected View
  • Always open untrusted Database files (.dbf) in Protected View

These two additional options control how to open specified files in Excel. If you prefer to open these files in the Protected View mode, select the appropriate check box.


File Block settings

The Block Files list in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint contains file types prohibited from opening or saving in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, respectively. You can change the list of Block Files by selecting or deselecting the file types that the app opens in Protected View. To make changes, do the following:

   1.   On the File tab, click the Options button.

   2.   In the *** Options dialog box, on the Trust Center tab, click the Trust Center Settings... button.

   3.   In the Trust Center dialog box, on the File Block Settings tab, in the File Type list, select or deselect the Open check box and the Save check box to prohibit the file type from opening and saving.

For example, in Word:

File Block Settings in Word 365

Note: Unfortunately, when writing this tip, options of the Open behavior for selecting file types group work incorrectly. The selected Open check box prohibits from opening the file type even if the Open selected file types in Protected View and allow editing check box is selected. The same problem occurs for the selected Save check box.


Trusted documents

By default, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint remember which files were marked as safe by the user (saved without Protected View). The next time you open such a file, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint will not open it in Protected View, even if the file has been modified.

To stop remembering such files, do the following:

   1.   On the File tab, click the Options button.

   2.   In the *** Options dialog box, on the Trust Center tab, click the Trust Center Settings... button.

   3.   In the Trust Center dialog box, on the Trusted Documents tab, unselect the Allow documents on a network to be trusted check box:

Trusted Documents in Word 365

To clear the files already remembered in Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, click the Clear button. In the Microsoft message, click Yes:

Message to clear Trusted Documents in Office 365

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