Word Read-Only mode (SharePoint Online)

KAMIL BOS 41 Reputation points


I have limit permission on sharepoint online document library but once a document is opened in word app (desktop) I see warning message as below:

So I can still click Edit Document button and I can edit document even if I do not have edit permissions in sharepoint!

Is there any solution to this to have read-only without possibility to edit?

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  1. Dominik Dudczak 176 Reputation points

    Hey there @KAMIL BOS ,

    What you could do to prevent users from opening the File inside the Desktop App, is to disable the Offline Client Availability. This would prevent the users from downloading the File. (They would only be able to view it online).

    To do so, go onto your SharePoint online Library and in the top right corner click onto your "settings wheel"

    Select "Library Settings"

    Then go onto "Advanced settings"

    Scroll down till you find "Offline Client Availability" and change it from "Yes" to "No"

    This would be a fast solution for your problem but forces the users to view the documents online.

    Another dolution that pops into my mind is to restrict the Word document directly in MS Word:

    1. Open the word file in the desktop app
    2. Click on file.
    3. Click onto the Info tab
    4. On the right side, select the Protect document menu
    5. Select the Restrict Editing option
    6. Restrict your file as you wish

    Upload the restricted document into SharePoint online. (I think restrictions should be kept even after someone downloads the document)

    If you want to only restrict certain users from downloading that file, you could also create a new Permission level "view only".

    Here you can check the following permissions:

    List permissions:
    View Items
    View Versions
    Create Alerts
    View Application Pages

    Site Permissions:
    Use Self-Service Site Creation
    View Pages
    Use Remote interfaces
    Use Client integration Features

    This way the users with that permission level should be able to view the file but not edit it. The benefit here would be that you don't restrict downloads for everyone on the whole site but only for the users with that permission level.

    (I remember a time where the "view only" permission level was a default permission level, is that not the case anymore?)

    Hope I could help you with your issue and give you some ideas on how to proceed.

    Best regards

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  1. JoyZ 18,056 Reputation points


    Per my test, a test user has Read permission for this file, when he opens the file on the desktop, even if he can click "Edit Document" button to edit the file, however he has no permission to save changes, following error will occur:


    Make sure the sign in user of the office 365 word is the same user who only has the read permission.


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