How to Disable Protected View in Microsoft Office While Opening Email Attachments or Downloaded Files?

If you are using Microsoft Office 2013 or Office 2010 versions, you might have noticed this problem. Whenever you try to open an Office document (Word, Excel or PowerPoint file) which was downloaded from Internet or was attached in an email, Microsoft Office program opens it in Protected View which is also known as Read Mode or Restricted Mode.

In this mode, the file is opened as read-only. You can't edit the file until you click on "Enable Editing" button as shown in following image:


In Protected View you also get a message bar at the top of the window containing messages similar to following:

  • This file originated from an Internet location and might be unsafe
  • This file originated as an e-mail attachment and might be unsafe
  • This file was opened from a potentially unsafe location
  • Editing this file type is not allowed due to your policy settings
  • Editing this file type is not recommended due to your File Block settings in the Trust Center
  • Office has detected a problem with this file. Editing it may harm your computer

Protected View mode was introduced in Office 2010 version which is present in the latest Office 2013 version as well. It was designed to provide better security as the files downloaded from Internet or attached in emails might contain viruses and can be dangerous for your computer system. Protected View protects your computer from being infected by these suspicious items automatically.

But if you are sure about the file and if you know that the downloaded file is absolutely safe, then this Protected View might become annoying for you. Every time you try to open such a file in an Office program, you'll need to click on the enable editing button each time to edit the file.

Don't worry! Here is the solution. Microsoft Office comes with an option to disable this built-in Protected View feature in any desired Office program.

If you also want to turn off Protected View feature in Office 2010 or Office 2013 version, check out following simple steps:

1. First launch any Office program such as Microsoft Word and then click on File menu present in the ribbon.

2. Now click on Options tab present in the left sidebar.

3. It'll open Options window. Now click on "Trust Center" tab given at the end in left-side pane and then click on "Trust Center Settings" button.


It'll open a new window to customize Trust Center settings.

4. Click on "Protected View" tab and in right-side pane, you'll see following options:

  • Enable Protected View for files originating from the Internet
  • Enable Protected View for files that are located in potentially unsafe locations
  • Enable Protected View for Outlook attachments


5. All options are enabled by default. Disable the desired option or disable all given options to turn off Protected View completely and click on OK button to save the changes.

6. Close the Office program and now whenever you open a file downloaded from Internet or attached in an email, it'll open normally instead of Protected View.

PS: If the above method doesn't work for you, click on "File Block Settings" tab in Trust Center Settings window and then click on "Restore Defaults" button.


NOTE: You'll need to follow the same procedure for each Office program such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint separately.

NOTE For Network Drives:

You need to enable the checkbox "Allow Trusted Locations on my network (not recommended)". It's present under the list of locations that you added. Once you enable the option, it'll allow you to open documents from a network share. You can then enter either the drive letter or the UNC and it should work without any problem.

Thanks to our reader "Joe" for the network drives tip...

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Posted in: Microsoft Office, Troubleshooting

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  • Thanks

  • This has been one of the most annoying "features" of Office 2010 and 2013. At the Hospice I support, we migrated most of our servers to a vendor's cloud. This included our File Server. Now, every time we open a file for the first time, this prompt comes up. To stop it the user (every one) has to save the document. This messes with time/date stamps as well as being *VERY* annoying. Thanks for the tip.

    Hank Arnold (MVP)

  • VG

    I'm glad to see that the tip helped some people. :)

  • Great Tutorial. Thanks a lot man!

  • I've tried this and had no success. I can open all my Office applications and verify that all of these Trust Center options are unchecked, and yet everything still continues to open in Protected View. I'm running Office 2013 on Windows 7, SP-1, 32-bit. As I receive all invoices electronically and store and process them from SharePoint, this happens all day long.

  • Ditto Heather's comment. This does not work for me. And these are not even files from the internet, but rather my own documents I personally created (older versions of Word). This is beyond annoying. This prevents work from getting done.

  • Thank you very much. It's a very annoying feature of Microsoft office 2010.

  • Sorted.Worked for me.Though not user friendly especially for those who are not computer survey

  • @Sam

    Nice it worked for u cos u're computer survey - but not english savvy??

  • Seems to be a bug; when I open Office 2010 files from that are on network drives (inside my work network), I get this message saying the file came from the internet and may be unsafe. It DIDN'T come from the internet MS!!!

  • @Eki


  • Microsoft continues to make changes to programs without consideration for the average user. Why don't they reverse their choices and allow everything with a note saying if you want protected view you can enable it rather than having us have to hunt all over for a solution, most times not working. They just don't listen. I unchecked all the required boxes and I still can't open the XL worksheet. Just darn annoying and such a waste of my time.

  • I dont have the protected view tab, I only have Trusted Publishers, Trusted Locations, Add-Inns, Active X Settings, Macro Settings, Message Bar, and Privacy Options. Is there a place to turn on the Protected View tab?

  • Yep, this does NOT work for me either. I have unchecked the boxes through the Trust Center for every Office program, and my email attachments continue to open in protected view. We are running Office 13 on Windows 7. I don't understand why this is so complicated! Really not happy. I have now tried every possible solution I could locate online and to no avail.

  • It is not working for me.

  • Does not work for me either. I tried \\server\, \\server\share$\, and drive letter

  • I was able to work around by using the print command which allowed me to turn off the protected view.

  • For those having problems with this on a network drive, you need to tick the box for

    [x] Allow Trusted Locations on my network (not recommended)

    It's right there under the list of locations that you added. Once you do that, it will allow you to open docs from a network share. You can then enter either the drive letter or the UNC and it should work.

  • How can spreadsheet protection be kept on files that I send and then are opened after disabling protected view by recipient. I would like to keep my locked cell file protection and still allow editing on unlocked ranges by the recipient

  • Thanks now its opened

  • Are you sure they are opening in "Protected" view and not just "Reading" view and you have to click on View then Edit document each time? Just as annoying as the protected view thing but sorted with File – Options – General. Uncheck “Open E-Mail attachments and other uneditable files in reading view”

    At last !!!

  • thank u very was bothering me since long

  • This help me a lot. Thank you very much :)

  • If this isn't working for you, try this:
    Trust Center > File Block settings > Restore Defaults.

  • I purchased WORD 2013 this year. I regret that I ever made the purchase.
    Everytime I open a document it is a READ ONLY and I have to close it and reopen to make it not READ ONLY. This is any document including the ones I create myself. If I make any changes, and have forgotten to close and reopen before I start I have to resave and rename and then delete the old file. This is utterly ridiculous. I have tried all the steps above, numerous times. It has not resolved the issue.

    I absolutely despise Word 2013. It was a waste of my money.

  • I solved it. Do the un-check boxes as mentioned above. But then afterwards, go into WORD 2013 Trust Center. Click the Trust Center Settings button. Select TRUSTED LOCATIONS in the left hand listings. (Be sure box at bottom is checked for "Allow Trusted Locations on my Network"). Now click the "Add New Locations" button. Now you click BROWSE, and navigate to your network drive or your primary folder with all your older documents. (Only drill down as far as you want to go to include all of your documents you wish to have open normally in Word 2013). For instance, on my personal PC all my WORD docs are under MY DOCUMENTS and I have more docs under MY PICTURES, as I built narrative for some picture albums. So I browsed to each of those two folders and added them both to TRUSTED LOCATIONS, Now all my documents open up normally.

  • Thank you SO much for the simple, well explained solution to a MOST annoying problem created by Microsoft.
    You are a star!

  • Thank you. Your well explained steps really helped me out.

  • Here's my weird thing. I've got four documents I need to edit. They're all saved to the same directory in my C drive, and I was the original author of them. Last night, I was editing two of them -- call them A and B. Today, A is opening in protected mode, and not even allowing me the option of turning on editing. Document B is happy. Document C, which I didn't touch yesterday, is behaving like document A while document D is happy. This is ridiculous.

  • Great, many thanks for this. In addition to the issues people were having above, I also noted that Excel 365 (Win 8.1) in protected mode became extremely slow and unresponsive. This prevented me accessing other Excel files that I was working on as well as consuming nearly 50% of my CPU resources.

    See the reasoning behind the idea, but seems crazy that any file you receive and often those from your own machine are protected. Surely you should be able to keep an ongoing white list of trusted sources.

    Anyway, turned off for now.

  • I cannot get a document to just Open in 2013, I always get the saved dialog box. Any remedy for this? I've spent hours searching, and found nothing.

  • VG

    ^^ Did you try to repair Office 2013 using Control Panel -> Programs and Features?

  • thanks.. it worked.

  • Thanks. Plain and simple cure for a very annoying "default" feature!
    Now if you could just tell me how to stop IE from asking me every 5 minutes if I want it to be my default browser I'd be eternally grateful!

  • I m very glad to open the file. Thank you very much.

  • Scott, thanks for your suggestions. I am using a network computer as well. I tried all of what you said, but my files still open in read-only view. I cannot even delete this file in Windows Explore. Irritating. Please help. Thanks.

  • Thank U so, so much, 4 this tutorial! This problem was so annoying, and U've explained in a very simple way how to remove it :D

  • GOD Bless

  • Thank you so much, for the help and guidance. It really helped for me. Thanks

  • Thanks! It's really helpful.

  • Thanks! This is very helpful!

  • thanks @Scott

  • Thank you very much....

  • thanks it was very helpfull

  • Followed suggested options and STILL DOES NOT WORK.

  • @Calli Arcale
    Solved. Follow Scott way into the trusted location, then browse to all the local disks (like E:\, D:\ etc.). When the browse window open, remember to check the box say "subfolders of this location are also trusted". That worked for me.
    Best of luck

  • thanks was very helpful for me

  • Thanks while I disabled protected view it opens all the document that I want to see.
    Thanks man!!!

  • Thank you a lot, it saved mine time as well as resources.

  • thank you.,..

  • Works like a charm... Thanks mate

  • Thank you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • thanks...

  • Fantastic information very clearly and concisely presented. I'm not a IT guru and I was able to take care of the situation immediately.

    This is just another one of those times where Microsoft had an answer to a question that no one was asking.

    Very irritating to say the least, and in my view of the world, completely and totally unnecessary.

  • Thanks a lot.

  • Thanks a lot......It saved my time...

  • Doesn't explain why when I click the 'enable editing' on a document that has opened in 'Protected view' the document immediately becomes 'read only'. That's a loop that needs eliminating.

  • Scott, you are a start. Thanks for your instruction. That works for my cases.

  • It is not working for me too

  • How protect excel file, that it should not open in read only also ?
    It should be viewable.
    plzz do reply

  • I did as your suggestion however I could not open. When I open it run as in protected view. My computer is using Win 8. It also can not open by read only.
    Thanks please reply.

  • hey....was really mine is a new pc...wasnt able to open any file downloaded from internet......

  • thank you very much

  • Hi,
    am happy to have been assisted now i am able to meet my deadline. Thank you very much.

  • thank you it's work, I can do my task

  • Thanks a lot! It works now :)

  • You are awesome... thanks

  • it's really magically..... good job.. I needed those slides for my exams and it wasn't opening

  • Thanks! It works now

  • It still does NOT work, I have included trusted locations and disabled protected view but I am still not able to open excel-sheet with macros downloaded from the internet.

    Why would Microsoft call it an advanced version and not inform us of the advanced challenges it comes with.

    Now am gonna have to go back to using Office07.
    Microsoft needs to rectify this if they want the customer to continue enjoying the program.

  • This finally did the trick:

    Open word and select File/Options/General. Deselect “Open e-mail attachments and other uneditable files in reading view,” then select OK

  • bless this post!

  • Wow! Av always believed there's always a solution in the web, great, it worked, this is it!

  • mmmmm, love is in the air...

    thank you...

  • Microsoft Access has not been changed with no warning and the network trusted locations are all disabled and cannot be recreated. I have users with problems that were all set before MS did their latest upgrade and we cannot figure it out.



  • Thanks for such a great help. I was fed-up from this notifications finally by seeing your post gets the solution.

  • Thanks for the the guidance.

  • Any advice for mac users? Same problem, no Trusted anything in options.

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