Word 2003 closely resembles Word 2002, with most of the changes related to new XML support and therefore situated beneath the surface. Microsoft has expanded its use of the task pane that made its debut in the previous Office release, using the pane to present users with research sources and to expose more of Words feature set. Word now enables document creators to control the sorts of changes that users may make to documents and to control which users and changes are allowed. This is useful for keeping large, collaboratively produced documents in check or for documents that must retain certain design elements from version to version. In tests, we could restrict formatting to a list of approved styles and set a document as read-only, comment-only or open only to forms input. We could also enforce tracked changes. Once we applied restrictions to our document, we could set exceptions for specific users and ranges of the document.
All these settings were accessible through a Protect Document task pane in Word, which we found very easy to use. However, all it takes to bypass these restrictions is opening the protected document in an earlier version of Office, which does not support these controls.