Create Protected Letterhead in MS Word XP without using Header or Forms

rlstewart used Ask the Experts™
My problem is that my boss wants the letterhead protected/locked, appearing only on page one, without being anchored to the header at all, and without using forms (which disable editing of headers and footers). Is this possible?

As far as I can tell from researching on this site and many others, you either place the letterhead in the first page header and use the layout menu to make "first page different", or you absolute position the graphic behind text wherever it should appear on the page. Users could still select the graphic and accidentally delete it, and we are trying to avoid that.

I have also tried making it a watermark/background, but unless I'm missing something watermarks are also contained in the header.


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Hello Meredith,

as far as I can tell, your research has yielded the correct results. You can set a header different for the first page, but if users want to, they can change it.

An other option would be to load pre-printed letterhead stationery into your printer tray 1 and set the print settings to print the first page form tray 1 and all following pages from tray 2, which is loaded with blank paper.

As far as I can see, this is the only way to prevent users to mess up a pre-formatted header for the first page.

I'm also aware that this may not be what your boss wants to hear. But experience tells me that just because the boss wants it this way, it's not necessarily how the software works. (Message to the Boss, either suck it up, or ring Microsoft and complain. Take a ticket and file in at the end of the waiting queue.)

cheers, teylyn



Thanks so much for your time and advice. Just to clarify, there is no way to "protect" a graphic placed outside the header in a Word template either, correct?

We are using the letterhead for multipage contracts as well as regular communication, and we need users to be able to have complete control over all headers and footers--even first page ones. So the aim is to get a graphic Locked onto page one without ever placing it in the header at all.

I know I could be repeating myself, but I want to be absolutely sure I have exhausted all the capabilities in Word, and ways to "trick" word before I express defeat on this issue to my boss. It kills me to have to say "I can't"!

Kent DyerIT Security Analyst Senior

I think you need to look into "Information Rights Management."

From Office Word 2007 -

IRM helps to do the following:
Prevent an authorized recipient of restricted content from forwarding, copying, modifying, printing, faxing, or pasting the content for unauthorized use
Prevent restricted content from being copied by using the Print Screen feature in Microsoft Windows
Restrict content wherever it is sent
Support file expiration so that content in documents can no longer be viewed after a specified period of time
Enforce corporate policies that govern the use and dissemination of content within the company

IRM can't prevent the following:
Content from being erased, stolen, or captured and transmitted by malicious programs such as Trojan horses, keystroke loggers, and certain types of spyware
Content from being lost or corrupted because of the actions of computer viruses
Restricted content from being hand-copied or retyped from a display on a recipient's screen
A recipient from taking a digital photograph of the restricted content displayed on a screen
Restricted content from being copied by using third-party screen-capture programs

The other thing is that you could use PDF..




Most of our users only have access to Word XP.
Thanks though.

This is really easy to do in Word 2010 (maybe 2007 too -- can't remember). Click the File tab, select Info, click Protect Document, Restrict Editing. This opens the Restrice Formatting and Editing task pane. Checkmark "Allow only this type of editing in the document", and select "No changes (Read only). When you start enforcing protection (wait for it....) the entire document will be read-only. No edits allowed. But wait! There's an Exceptions area. Make sure you are *not* in the Header. Select all the text in the document, then checkmark the "Everyone" choice in the Exceptions area. Now click Yes, Start Enforcing Protection. If your boss is a real control freak (ahem), then put a freakin password on it.

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