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Word Cannot Complete the Save Due to a File Permission Error Mac/Windows 10

The Word cannot complete the save due to a file permission error that may occur while saving files in Microsoft Word. There are several ways you can try to fix Word cannot save problem. Also, learn how to recover unsaved and deleted Word documents.

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Table of Contents

User problem: Word cannot complete the save due to a file permission error on Mac.

"Hi, all. I encountered a tricky problem. When I try to save a Word 2010 document on my iMac, I get 'Word cannot complete the save due to a file permission error'. I've tried open Word into Safe Mode and got the same error response. What does it mean? How to fix Word cannot save because of permission error?"  - A real user problem from answers.microsoft.com

word cannot complete the save due to a file permission error

Word cannot complete the save due to a file permission error that can appear on Mac or Windows computer randomly or under specific circumstances. Why is Word document not saving? The main reasons for this problem are but are not limited to the following points.

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Open Word in Safe Mode Try every USB port available; Determine you\'re using USB 2.0 or 3.0...Full steps
Get Ownership of the Word Find the Word file, right-click on it and select "Properties". Click "Security"...Full steps
Repair Microsoft Office Suit Right-click the Windows Start button, open Control Panel. Click "Programs and Features"...Full steps
Disable Antivirus Software In this case, you can temporarily turn off the anti-virus software to see if Word...Full steps
Update Microsoft Office Open the Word application. Click "File" > "Account" > "Product Information"...Full steps

Word Cannot Complete The Save Due to a File Permission Error Causes

  • The filename has been taken or the file name isn't corrected or allowed.
  • The add-ins in the configuration prevent you from saving Word files.
  • You haven't obtained full ownership of the computer.
  • Antivirus software tries to protect your computer and prevents files from being saved.
  • Issues with Office and operating systems make Word cannot save files.

If you face a Word file permission error when saving a Word document, first check whether the file has the same name or whether the file name is wrong. Use the "Save As" instead of the "Save" option. If these two tips do not solve the problem, try the following fixes to troubleshoot Word cannot complete the save due to a file permission error Windows 10.

Fix 1. Open Word in Safe Mode and Disable Add-ins

The Safe Mode disables all the add-ins loaded and starts the Word with a minimal set of drivers. You can start Word in Safe mode to confirm whether the plug-in is the problem.

Open Word in Safe Mode

Press Windows key + R to open the Run utility. Type word /safe. Click "OK" to run Word in the Safe Mode.

Disable Word add-ins

If Word opens correctly in safe mode, it may be some plugins that are causing the problem. You can troubleshoot by disabling add-ins.

Disable Add-ins in Word

Step 1. Open the Word file. Click "File" > "Options" > "Add-ins".

find add-ins in word

Step 2. Select "COM Add-ins", and click "Go". Turn off all the add-ins, and click "OK". Then restart Word to make sure you can save it without permission issue.

disable add-ins word

Fix 2. Get Ownership of the Word File in Windows 10

When access denied issue occurs when opening, editing, copying, or saving files, then the reason for the problem may be that you don't have the full permission to save the file to location for the user account.

Take the steps below to obtain ownership of the Word files.

Step 1. Find the Word file, right-click on it and select "Properties".

Step 2. Click "Security" > "Advanced", and then find the "Owner" option.

Step 3. Click "Change". on the popped-up window, enter your user name under "Enter the object name to select". Then, click the "Check Names". If all goes well, the user will change. Click "OK" to save changes.

destination folder access denied

Step 4. The owner section will now change. Check "Replace owner on subcontainters and objects" and click "Apply" and "OK" to save changes. Or you can check the "Replace all child object permission entries" option. 

take ownership for word file

After this process, try to save your Word again and see if the file permission error disappears.

Fix 3. Repair Microsoft Office Suit

If there is something wrong with the Microsoft Office application, you may have a file permission issue when saving Word documents. Fix Microsoft Office Word to resolve the problem.

Step 1. Right-click the Windows Start button, open Control Panel. Click "Programs and Features".

Step 2. Click "Microsoft Office" and click the "Change" tab.

Locate Office in programs and features

Step 3. Click "Repair" and then click "Continue" on the installation repair windows. 

Repair Office installation

Step 4. Wait for the repair process to finish. Then, restart your computer and Word to check if you can save it now. 

Fix 4. Disable Antivirus Software Temporarily

Some users have reported that some anti-virus software can cause problems with permissions missing. This antivirus software attempts to protect your personal files and folders to ensure that they are not changed by other software or users.

In this case, you can temporarily turn off the anti-virus software to see if Word cannot complete the save due to a file permission error still exists. However, Microsoft does not recommend that users close anti-virus software because it can make your computer vulnerable. Therefore, once the problem is solved, you need to turn on the anti-virus software in time.

Fix 5. Update Microsoft Office to the Latest Version

Another effective way to solve Word cannot save problem is updating the Office to the recent version. 

Step 1. Open the Word application. Click "File" > "Account" > "Product Information" > "Update Options" .

Step 2. Click "Enable Update" and then select "Update Now".

Check Office update

Fix Word Cannot Complete The Save Due to a File Permission Error on Mac

The ways to fix Word 2010/2013/2016/2019 cannot complete the save due to a file permission error on Mac are the same as those on Windows computer.

  • Restart your Mac and Word.
  • Uninstall and reinstall Microsoft Office Word for Mac.
  • Gain or change the ownership on your Mac.
  • Open Word in Safe Mode and turn off add-ins.
  • Make sure that the Microsoft Office applications and the macOS are updated.

How to Recover Unsaved Word Document on Windows 10 and Mac

If Word cannot complete the save due to a file permission error still exists after these attempts and you lose your unsaved Word document for uncertain causes, you can learn how to recover your unsaved Word document in Windows 10 and Mac.

Word offers the autosave function to keep your Word while you are working, remember to turn on autosave to protect your files. 

Recover Unsaved Word in Windows 10

Step 1. Open your Word on Windows 10/8/7. Choose "File" > "Open" > "Recover Unsaved Workbooks".

recover unsaved excel from autorecover - 1

Step 2. Select the unsaved Word file from the list. Then, click "Open" and save the file to a secure place.  

recover unsaved excel from autorecover - 2

Restore Unsaved Word on Mac

Step 1. Open "Finder" on your Mac, then go to "Go" > "Go to Folder".

Step 2. Type~/Library/Containers/com.microsoft.Word/Data/Library/Preferences/AutoRecovery and click "Go".

Step 3. Find the unsaved Word document in the AutoRecovery folder. Rename the file, then add the ".doc" filename extension to save your Word file.

Recover unsaved Word documents from AutoRecovery folder

Additional Tip: How to Recover Deleted Word Document on Mac and Windows 10/8/7

Word document loss happens frequently due to because of human or other reasons, such as unintentional deletion, computer crash, storage device formatting, and more. To recover deleted, formatted, or corrupted Word documents on Mac or Windows devices, you can use EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard.

 Download for Win Recovery Rate 99.7%
 Download for Mac Trustpilot Rating 4.4

Being one of the best data recovery software, EaseUS file recovery tool not only supports data recovery in comprehensive data loss scenarios, but still allows you to repair corrupted Word, Excel, PPT, PDF, photos, and videos.

Follow the steps below to recover lost Word documents with ease.

Step 1. Choose the Word file location

Choose the drive or a specific folder and click the "Scan" button.

select a location and click scan

Step 2. Locate your Word files

The software will start immediately scanning all lost data on the selected drive. After the scan, click the "Documents" option in the left panel. Choose "Word" from the category bar. Then, click "Preview".

scan word files

Step 3. Recover Word files

After previewing the lost Word files, select the desired Word files and click "Recover". Then, select a folder to store the Word files.

select word documents and recover

Final Verdicts

This complete guide covers useful solutions to fixing Word cannot complete the save due to a file permission error on Mac and Windows 10. You can fix it by starting Word in Safe Mode, disabling add-ins and antivirus software, gaining file ownership, etc.

Besides, more tutorials on how to recover unsaved Word documents and how to restore deleted Word files with EaseUS data recovery are demonstrated. Hope you can find all answers here.

 Download for Win Recovery Rate 99.7%
 Download for Mac Trustpilot Rating 4.4

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Updated by Brithny

Brithny is a technology enthusiast, aiming to make readers' tech life easy and enjoyable. She loves exploring new technologies and writing technical how-to tips. On her spare time, she loves sharing things about her favorite singer - Taylor Swift on her Facebook or Twitter.

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Written by Cedric

Cedric Grantham is one of the senior editors of EaseUS who lives and works in Chengdu, China. He mainly writes articles about data recovery tutorials on PC and Mac and how-to tips for partition management. He always keeps an eye on new releases and likes various electronic products.

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