Using IRM to protect ‘ranges’ in a Word document. Uhhh…Yes, we can!

One thing I know alot about is the inner working of RMS. I know how to deploy it, make it work in strange situations, it's quirks, what causes it to be cranky etc. It's a marriage. Something that I don't spend a 'huge' amount of time on is tracking down some of the finer grain details within the Office products. There are still things that I don't know about IRM integration within those products, mainly because I use them for basic needs, and frankly no-one ever asks me. I'm not someone who worries about protecting individual cells in Excel, or ranges in Word, and unless a customer asks me if it's possible, I've got enough work to keep me busy. Way back during the Office 4.3 days, when I use to actually support Excel and Word I knew alot about them, but now days I'm lucky if I can figure out where Help>About is in the new ribbon design.

This was an interesting note about IRM protection on Word documents that I recently saw on an internal thread here, so I thought I would share it for all you people that wanted to know about range protection in Word. I've recently heard that our competitors say this was something we could not do, when trying to sell their solution over RMS, but apparently they just didn't know where to look.

Here was the quote.

“Word’s Range Permissions feature does integrate with IRM.  If you use IRM to restrict access to your document with certain users given 'change' permission, you can give those users explicit editing permissions to particular ranges in the document.  To do this:

1)      Bring up the Document Protection task pane (Tools | Protect Document in Office 2003; Developer | Protect Document | Restrict Formatting and Editing in Office 2007).

2)      Check “Allow only this type of editing in the document”

3)      Select “No changes (Read only) in the drop down.

Users given Change access will appear in the Individuals listbox.  Select any ranges you want to give a user access to and check the box by their name to explicitly allow them access to that range.  Then when you start enforcing protection, the document will be locked to everyone except for those designated ranges.”

So now if you ever happen to be in the middle of an IPP sales pitch where the vendor claims Microsoft doesn't offer this solution with IRM, but *they* do, you can show them how to do it, so they can 'correct' their info.

Man...I'm such a trouble maker. <g>

Thanks to Jamie Campbell and Chris Vincent some of our Office product group members for posting this info.


Comments (4)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Try re-downloading the SDK. I believe that the temporary cert that was in the old SDK was in fact expired, and they had to replace it recently with one that is good until 2016 or something.

  2. Anonymous says:

    If the Developer tab is not visible in the Office 2007 Ribbon, click the Office Button in the left upper corner and click on "Word Options". In the "Popular" section, mark the checkbox "Show Developer tab in the Ribbon".

  3. Anonymous says:

    You can download the RMS SDK. they have quite a few samples. I did the same but so far I have not been able to get the sample working.Some of them work and some of them throw errors which I am trying to resolve.


    I went to all your posts. I really appreciate your effort in maintaining this blog. You resolved most of errors. However, I have some questions for you:

    1. I am using the offline publishing sample. It keeps throwing me the error code 0x8004cf19 which means the Certificate used to generate the Manifest is expired. I am generating the Manifest as you have described in one of your earlier posts. Any suggestions as to what I should do to resolve this problem?



  4. Anonymous says:


    Can you tell me where can i find some examples written in C# about how to handle this IRM / RMS stuff?

    Best regards.

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