Solved: You Can’t Make This Change Because the Selection Is Locked Windows 10/11

Can't edit or type your document due to the ‘You can’t make this change because the selection is locked in Word’ error? Learn 6 quick fixes and utilize 4DDiG File Repair to get you back to editing smoothly!

5 mins read

Updated on 2024-07-11 14:40:11 to File Tips

“Hey so I need to edit my document on word but the left bottom of the screen says ‘You can't make this change because the selection is locked.’ Idk how to fix this and please tell me how to. Thank you (I have a wnidows 11 btw)!”

——From Reddit
you can’t cant make this change because the selection is locked

Have you ever encountered this situation where you just can’t seem to edit your Word document? It’s really annoying, especially when you’re running out of time to submit your work. But don’t worry, there’s no need to resort to nail-biting.

In this article, we’ll explore the reasons behind this issue and share how to unlock selection in Word in six ways. Plus, provide you with a valuable bonus tip on how to repair a corrupted Word file. So, let's delve into the details!

Part 1. Why is My Microsoft Word Locked and Won’t Let Me Type?

When Microsoft Word won’t let you type or edit your document, showing the error “You can’t make this change because the selection is locked” at the bottom, it’s crucial to figure out the reason behind the issue. Let’s dig into below:

  • Your Office isn’t active. It might be a trial that’s expired, or you haven’t activated it.
  • You have multiple Office versions installed, and the one you’re using doesn’t have a license.
  • Your document might be protected with a password or restricted editing permissions.
  • The document might have been opened in read-only mode.
  • If the document is open on another computer or by another user, it could be locked to prevent simultaneous editing.
  • The document is marked as “Final,” which means editing is off.
  • If the document is corrupted, Word may lock it to prevent further damage.

Part 2. How to Fix “You Can’t Make This Change Because the Selection Is Locked”

The solutions to fix a locked selection in Microsoft Word can vary depending on the underlying reasons. Here, we’ll show you how to unlock Microsoft Word selection in six ways:

Way 1. Activate Your Office Suite

Make sure that your Microsoft Office Suite is activated and properly licensed so that you can have the proper access to edit your document in Microsoft Word. If it's not, follow these steps to activate your Office Suite with product key:

  • Launch Microsoft Word on your computer.
  • Go to File > Account. Click on Activate Product.

    activate office suite using product key-1
  • Provide the necessary credentials linked to your Microsoft Office subscription or account.

    activate office suite using product key-2
  • Follow on-screen instructions to complete the activation process.
  • Close Microsoft Word and reopen your Word document.

Way 2. Disable the Mark as Final Option

If your Word document has been stamped with a “Final” label, you won't be able to tinker with it. To get around this, follow these steps to disable the “Mark as Final” option:

  • Open the locked document. Click on “File” up top and choose “Info” on the left side.
  • Under “Protect Document,” click on the dropdown arrow.
  • Uncheck the “Mark as Final” box to turn it off.

    disable mark as final in word
  • Close Word and then reopen your Word file. You should now regain editing control.

Way 3. Remove Restrict Editing

When your document is restricted for editing, you may get the “You can’t make this change because the selection is locked” error in Microsoft Word.

Here’s how to fix Microsoft Word selection is locked by removing editing restriction:

  • Open your Word document with the locked selection.
  • Navigate to the “Review” tab, look for and click on the “Restrict Editing” option in the “Protect” group.

    remove restrict editing to unlock selection in word-1
  • In the “Restrict Editing” pane, click on “Stop Protection” at the bottom. If your document is protected with a password, enter the password in the “Unprotect Document” box and press “Enter.” This will unlock your Word file, allowing you to edit it again.

    remove restrict editing to unlock selection in word-2

Way 4. Enable Design Mode in Microsoft Word

To tackle the “Selection is locked in Word” issue, you can activate “Design Mode,” which allows you to work with form fields and document elements. Here’s how to enable it:

  • Open your locked document. Click “File”, then choose “Options” from the menu.
  • Select “Customize Ribbon” in left bar, check the box next to “Developer”, and click “OK.” This will add the Developer tab in the Word Ribbon.

    enable design mode in word-1
  • Return to your document and click on the newly enabled “Developer” tab. You'll find the “Design Mode” button. Click on it.

    enable design mode in word-2

With Design Mode enabled, you should be able to edit form fields and document elements without encountering the "Selection is Locked" issue.

Way 5. Check Sharing and Collaboration Settings

If you encounter “You can’t make this change because the selection is locked” in Word when you’re collaborating on a document multiple people, you can check your sharing and collaboration settings to see if someone is limiting editing. Here’ what you can do:

  • Open the locked document. Look up at the top right corner of the Word window. If you spot icons like multiple people or a cloud, it means the document is being shared or worked on collaboratively.
  • Click the “Share” button on top to see who can access the document and what they can do with it.

    check sharing and collaboration settings in word-1
  • Take a look at the list of people who can access the document and do editing. Ask permission from the co-author or owner to edit the document.

    check sharing and collaboration settings in word-2

Part 3. Repair Corrupted or Damage Word Document

If the above solutions don’t work and your Word file remains locked, it could be corrupted or damaged. In such cases, we recommend using 4DDiG File Repair to recover content from corrupted Word files. 4DDiG File Repair is a versatile tool designed to effortlessly repair corrupted or damaged files including MS Word documents. Here’s why it stands out as the best choice for document repair:

  • Address a wide range of word file corruption issues, including those prevent you from editing or typing.
  • Batch repair files of different formats such as DOCX, DOCM, DOTM, XLSX, XLSM, PPTX, PPTM, , PDF, PSD and PSB files.
  • Preserves formatting, charts, links, images, and tables in corrupted Word files.
  • Fully rescue your data from stubborn Word files that won’t open.
  • No learning curve is required.

Here’s how to repair a corrupted Word document with the 4DDiG Repair tool:

  • Add Corrupted Word Documents

    Open up 4DDiG File Repair on your PC. Go to “File Repair” and upload your corrupted MS Word file by hitting the “Add Files” button.


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    4ddig file repair interface add corrupted word documents to 4ddig file repair
  • Repair Corrupted Word Documents

    Click “Repair All” once you’ve got your file imported. The software will dig into your files and repair any detected errors or corruption. Click “Preview” to check the repaired Word file when the repair is done.

    start repairing corrupted word documents
  • Export Repaired Word Documents

    If everything looks good, save the repaired files by hitting the "Save" button and choose where to save them.

    export repaired word documents

Final Words

Dealing with “You can't make this change because the selection is locked” Windows 10/11 error can be a real challenge, as it hampers your ability to edit Word files and disrupts your work. However, we’ve covered six handy fixes to address this issue, from activating your Office Suite to checking sharing settings. If your Word file is corrupted, consider trying 4DDiG File Repair, which is known for its success in repairing Office files, including severely damaged Word documents. Hopefully, with these solutions you can unlock selection in Word and regain control over your documents for editing.


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William Bollson (senior editor)

William Bollson, the editor-in-chief of 4DDiG, devotes to providing the best solutions for Windows and Mac related issues, including data recovery, repair, error fixes.

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