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How to Always Open PDF Files in Protected View with MS Word?

Guided Steps to Open PDFs in Protected View with MS Word

Generally, when you have to open a PDF file, you use apps like Adobe Reader. However, the latest version of Microsoft Office Word allows you to open PDF files. Typically, by right-clicking on the PDF file and selecting “Open with > Word”, you can access the document within Word. This feature is advantageous, as it provides users the ability to edit PDF files without having to invest in other premium software packages. Nevertheless, there might be instances where you’d prefer the PDF to open in a “Protected View”, ensuring the content remains unaltered. This article offers a comprehensive guide on how to configure Microsoft Word to always open PDF files in Protected View using three distinct methods: Trust Center Settings, Group Policy Editor, and Registry Editor. By adhering to these steps, you can ensure that your PDF files remain in a view-only mode, safeguarding their original content.


How to Always Open PDF Files in Protected View with MS Word?

How to Always Open PDF Files in Protected View in Word using Trust Center Settings?

Use the following steps to set Word to always open PDF files in protected view using Trust Center Settings:-

Step 1: Open Microsoft Word to begin.

Step 2: Next, click on the File menu.

Step 3: After that, go to Options in the left sidebar.

Step 4: Once the Word Options panel opens, select the Trust Center tab.

Step 5: Click on the Trust Center Settings button.

Step 6: Now, the “Trust Center” dialog will appear. Select the File Block Settings tab.

Step 7: Check the option PDF Files under “File Type”.

Step 8: Click on Open selected file types in the Protected View option under the “Open behavior for selected file types” section.

Step 9: Click on OK.

Step 10: Finally, Click on OK.

If you change your mind and want to return to not opening PDF files in Protected View in Word, follow the above steps and open the Word Options panel. Then, navigate to Trust Center > Trust Center Settings > File Block Settings. Uncheck the PDF Files checkbox in the Open column, and there you go.

How to Always Open PDF Files in Protected View in Word using Group Policy Editor?

If your OS consists of Windows 11 or 10 and Group Policy Editor, use the following steps to open PDF files in protected view in Word:-

Step 1: Firstly, open Local Group Policy Editor.

Step 2: Now, browse the following path in the left sidebar of Local Group Policy Editor:-

User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Microsoft Word (Office version) > Word Options > Security > Trust Center > File Block Settings

Step 3: Double-click on the Office Open XML converters for Word policy name you see on the right side of the “File Block Settings” folder.

Step 4: Select Enabled.

Step 5: Find Open in Protected View in the drop-down menu “File block setting.” Click on it to select.

Step 6: Click on Apply.

Step 7: Click on OK.

Step 8: Lastly, restart the MS Word app.

If you want to revert to the old settings, repeat the above steps, and in step 4 above, select the Not Configured option.

How to Always Open PDF Files in Protected View in Word using Registry Editor?

You can also open a PDF file in protected view in the Word app in Windows 11 or 10 by tweaking the Registry. To do that, use the following steps:-

Step 1:  Open Registry Editor as the first step.

Step 2: Next, navigate the following path in the left sidebar:-


Step 3: Now right-click on the 16.0 folder and go to New > Key.

Step 4: Name this newly created key word.

Step 5: Now, right-click on the word folder and choose New > Key.

Step 6: Name the newly created key as security.

Step 7: Then, go to New > Key by right-clicking on the security folder.

Step 8: Name the newly created key as fileblock.

Step 9: After that, select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value by right-clicking on the fileblock.

Step 10: The newly created REG_DWORD should be named as ooxmlconverters.

Step 11: Now, open the newly created ooxmlconverters REG_DWORD by double-clicking on it and setting the “Value data” as 4.

Step 12: Click on OK.

Step 13: Reboot your computer as the last step and apply the changes.

Browse the following path if you ever want to reverse the changes:-


Right-click on the ooxmlconverters REG_DWORD on the right sidebar and click on Delete in the menu. Click on the Yes button if you are prompted.

That’s it.


Configuring Microsoft Word to always open PDF files in Protected View offers a layer of safeguarding against unintended edits to the document’s content. By following the above methods through the Trust Center Settings, Group Policy Editor, or Registry Editor, users can ensure their PDF files always remain in view-only mode when accessed via MS Word. Whether you’re a professional working on sensitive documents or someone who simply prefers to keep the content unaltered, this configuration can come in handy.


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