Fix: Word Cannot Open the Document: User Does Not Have Access Privileges

Microsoft Word is a word processor developed by Microsoft which was initially released in 1983. It is one of the most used word processors in the world with its users continuously growing each day. Microsoft constantly updates Word every once in a while with major improvements and improved accessibility.

Word Cannot Open the Document: User Does Not Have Access Privileges
Word Cannot Open the Document: User Does Not Have Access Privileges Error Fix

Many users face a problem where they cannot access a word file. The error states that they don’t have enough privileges to view the content. This error can pop up on a number of occasions; when you transfer files from another computer, when you update your Word client, or when you encrypt files.

Solution 1: Changing File Permissions

In most cases, the file doesn’t have ownership for your account to view or read it. We can try adding the owner to your account by accessing the file security settings and changing the permissions.

  1. Right-click on the word document and select Properties.
  2. Once in the Properties window, navigate to the Security tab. If you see a line stating “You must have Read permissions to view the properties of this object”, it means that your account doesn’t have sufficient authorization to view this file. Click on Advanced present at the bottom of the screen.

  1. If you another window with the button “Continue” with an administrator logo right beside it, click it so you can access the new window. Once in the permissions tab, click on “Add”.

  1. Once in the Permission Entry window, click on “select a principal” present on top of the window.

  1. You might not know the exact name of the user you are trying to add so click on “Advanced” at the bottom left of the screen so we can add the user from the list.

  1. Now we can start searching for our user/group and select it to grant the permission accordingly. Click “Find New” and the list of all users will populate in the space (at the bottom).
  2. Search the list for “Authenticated Users” and after selecting it, press Ok.

  1. Now the user/group will be populated automatically in the object namespace. Press Ok to proceed.

  1. Make sure that all the checkboxes are checked (all the permissions are granted [Full control, modify, read and execute, read and write etc.)

  1. Press Ok and Apply in the permission windows to apply the changes and exit. Now try opening the file by double-clicking it. Hopefully, it will open without any problems.

Solution 2: Changing Deny Permissions

It is also possible that the file you are trying to access has its control denied to all users in its security properties. This usually happens when you transfer files in bulk from one computer to another.

  1. Right-click on the word document and select Properties.
  2. Once in the Properties window, navigate to the Security tab.

  1. If you have a tick present in front of every user, it means that access is not granted to all the groups.
  2. Click on the “Edit” button to change the permissions.

  1. Once in the permissions tab, click on the “Allow” button present on Full Control. Now all the Deny will be automatically removed. Press Apply to save changes and exit.

  1. Try running the word document again. It is possible that you require a restart.

Solution 3: Removing Properties and Personal Information

Word tends to automatically save personal information in the file information section such as authors name, date modified etc. There were many cases where the users reported that removing this information solved the problem for them and they were able to successfully open the file.

  1. Right-click on the word document and select Properties.
  2. Navigate to the details tab and click the option which states “Remove Properties and Personal Information”.

  1. Check the option which says “Create a copy with all possible properties removed” and press Ok.

This will automatically create a copy in the current directory of the computer with all the attributes removed. You can also select all the files at once and perform this operating by opening properties and selecting Details tab.

Solution 4: Checking Anti-Virus Exceptions

Many Anti-Virus have a feature where they automatically protect folders (such as my documents) and cause access problems like the one we are facing. You should head over to your anti-virus settings and check the protected list if the file you are accessing is in a folder which protected.

All anti-virus are different so we cannot list all the methods right here. For example Panda Cloud Antivirus has a data protection where folders tend to be added to the “Protected” list automatically. Make sure that the folder isn’t protected, restart your computer and try accessing the document again.

Solution 5: Copying all the Documents to Another Drive

You can also try copying all the existing documents to another hard drive altogether and check if the problem still persists. In many cases the document couldn’t be opened when it was on a hard drive/SSD but it opened perfectly when it was copied to another drive or the computer.

Open the external/hard drive and manually select all the files to be copied to another location. Right-click and select Copy. Now navigate to your computer and in an accessible location, create a new folder and paste all the contents.

Solution 6: Changing “Inherit from parent entries” Option

Inherit from parent entries is an option available on Microsoft which is ready enabled from the very start. It helps in ease of access and makes a lot of things simpler if you are working regularly with Word. However, this might prove to be a problem like cause the problem we were facing. We can try disabling it and check if this brings any change.

  1. Right-click on the word document and select Properties.
  2. Select the Security tab and click on “Advanced” present at the near bottom of the screen.
  3. At the near bottom of the screen which states “Disable inheritance”. Click it.

  1. Press Apply to save changes and exit. Now try accessing the file again.

Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.