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Error message when you try to edit documents in Office XP or in Office 2003: "This command is not available because the document is locked for editing"

Support for Office 2003 has ended

Microsoft ended support for Office 2003 on April 8, 2014. This change has affected your software updates and security options. Learn what this means for you and how to stay protected.

This article has been archived. It is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.
This article is intended for a beginning to intermediate computer user.
Symptoms of the problem
When you try to edit a Microsoft Office document, you may receive an error message that resembles the following error message:
This command is not available because the document is locked for editing.
You cannot create any new documents and you cannot save documents. Additionally, you may notice that menu commands are unavailable (appear dimmed).
Steps to resolve the problem
This problem occurs if your copy of Office is not activated, or if you did not restart the Office program after you activated it. To resolve this problem, follow these steps.

Step 1: Close and then restart the Office program

After you restart the Office program, open the Office document again. If the problem is resolved, you are finished. If you still experience the problem, try Step 2.

Step 2: Activate the Office program

Product activation is quick and easy. It also helps protect your privacy. To activate the Office program, you can use the Internet or a telephone. The Activation wizard will guide you through the activation process, step-by-step. To start the Activation wizard, follow these steps:
  1. On the Help menu, click Activate Product.
  2. Follow the instructions that appear on the screen.
  3. Close and then restart the Office program. Then, open the Office document again.
For more information about how to activate Office programs, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
828958 How to activate a license in Office programs


Your Office program should operate correctly. If you continue to experience this problem, try the solutions in "Similar problems and solutions."

Article ID: 930698 - Last Review: 01/14/2015 11:10:00 - Revision: 1.3

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