Lock Your Docs: Basic Writing Security

Credit/Iconfinder

Credit/Iconfinder

Hello, my dear readers! Hope your week is going well.

For a long time, I had a great deal of trouble figuring out how to protect my written work from possible theft (you know, when I wasn’t shooting myself in the foot while learning hard business lessons).

I realize that, yes, there’s a good chance at one point or another someone’s going to swipe my work to claim it as their that’s all but inevitable in some cases. Kudos to the many  sites and organizations out there nowadays protecting against plagiarism.

While there are those who devote a great deal of time to protecting the world from plagiarism one page at a time, I realize there’s something I can do on my busy schedule, too.

I recently came across a blog post I unfortunately can’t link to anymore that detailed certain programming you could put in your Word documents to help prevent other writers from unfairly using your work.

Here’s how it’s done (at least in Word 2007):

1. After you’re done with the Word file and it’s ready to be sent off to a client or prospect, hit Alt F11 to bring up Microsoft Visual Basic.

2. Click the Insert UserForm button. It’ll open up a dropdown menu. You’ll want to click Module.

3. Copy and paste the following code:

Sub EditCut()

MsgBox “Forbidden”, vbExclamation

End Sub

Sub EditCopy()

MsgBox “Forbidden”, vbExclamation

End Sub

Sub EditPaste()

MsgBox “Forbidden”, vbExclamation

End Sub

Sub EditSelectAll()

MsgBox “Forbidden”, vbExclamation

End Sub

Sub FilePrint()

MsgBox “Printing is protected”, vbExclamation

End Sub

This prevents the other person from printing, copying, selecting all, pasting and cutting.

4. Hit CTRL + S to save. A dialogue box opens asking if you would like to continue saving as a macro-free document. Click No.

5. You will want to save your draft as a Microsoft macro-enabled document, a docm.

6. Click either the review or the developer tab. Click Protect Document.

7. Under 2., Editing Restrictions, check Allow only this type of editing in the document. I recommend either No changes (Read Only), Comments or Track Changes to give the client or prospect the option to add comments (if necessary).

8. Click Yes, Start Enforcing Protection. Remember to password protect your work.

And you’re done! When I send in work in the .docm format, I offer the chance for the client to review the document and upon final approval, I will send the “unlocked” document in the form of docx, pdf, etc.

This doesn’t prevent plagiarism; if there’s a will, there’s a way to lift it, after all. Nevertheless, I encourage you to be part of the solution with these simple steps.

How do you prevent plagiarism? Discuss in the comments below!

Be sure to check out my portfolio and professional site here
My freelancing e-book, Dip Into the Ink Pot, is now available on Amazon by clicking here!
Don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe to the blog if you like what you see, and I’ll talk to you next week!

– Adam

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