Disable Protected Mode in Office 2016

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When you open an Office document from an alternative source (such as Outlook), it opens in “Protected Mode.” You aren’t  allowed to edit the document until you activate the “Enable Editing” button of the Information bar.

You can disable Protected Mode, but be careful when opening documents. Be confident they are safe because Office documents can contain malicious macros.

Protected Mode is configured within the Trust Center of any Microsoft Office application.  I’ll be using Microsoft Outlook 2016 to configure Protected Mode.

To disable Protected Mode:

  1. Open Outlook 2016 
  2. Open Office backstage (ALT-F)
  3. Navigate with DOWN ARROW and activate “Options”

This opens the Options dialog of the Office application. The dialog is split into two sections:

  • A list of property sheets is on the left
  • The options associated with the focused property sheet are on the right

Navigate among the property sheets in a couple of ways:

  • UP  and DOWN ARROW
  • CTRL-TAB and CTRL-SHIFT-TAB

Focus on the “Trust Center” property sheet.  Within the property sheet, navigate to and activate “Trust Center Settings.” This opens an additional dialog with Trust Center configurations.

The Trust Center Settings dialog is also divided into two sections. 

  • A list of property sheets is on the left
  • The options associated with the focused property sheet are on the right

Within the dialog, focus on the “Attachment Handling” property sheet.

Within this property sheet, is a checkbox labelled, “Turn off attachment preview.” Toggle this checkbox off to  disable protected mode when opening email attachments.

You can now close the three dialogs:

  • Activate the OK button of the Trust Center Settings dialog to close the dialog and save the settings
  • Activate the OK button of the Trust Center dialog
  • Activate the OK button of Outlook Settings

When you open attached Office documents in Outlook 2016, they will no longer open in Protected Mode.