Restrictive Editing and File Block Settings

Two kinds of Microsoft Office settings can limit Composer's functionality. You may need to change these settings in order to open, edit, edit and/or create PDF versions of certain Word, Excel, or PowerPoint documents.

Restrictive Editing Settings: As part of the Composer workflow, Composer gives you an opportunity to highlight, bookmark, excerpt, or otherwise edit a copy of the Microsoft document that you want to link to your electronic brief. However, Microsoft provides document-level settings that allow prior authors to restrict further editing of the document or parts of it. Microsoft summarizes the procedures for restricting and unrestricting documents on this webpage. (This page relates to Word but the procedures are the same for Excel and PowerPoint.)

Composer removes all editing restrictions on its copy of your document except for any restrictions that are password-protected. If a password is required to edit anything that you want to edit, you will need to obtain the password.

File Block Settings: Microsoft Office 2007 and 2010 include optional "file block" settings that can block or limit Composer's ability to work with certain files.

On this Microsoft web page, Microsoft explains how to customize the file block settings and summarizes the relevant considerations. In short, these settings allow for file format consistency within an organization and address security issues. Microsoft provides information from users and IT professionals about file block settings here and here. You should consult with knowledgeable IT support before changing any settings that may have security implications, including file block settings.

Composer is designed to run in a completely secured computing environment. In addition, before Composer opens any document in Microsoft Office it programmatically sets macro security to its highest level. It also prevents any linked data in the document from updating.

If your organization sets your file block settings at the organizational level, your IT department can change them per Microsoft's explanations here and here.


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