"Help! I tried to open a Word document but it told me that 'Word cannot open the document: user does not have access privileges'. How do I fix this issue on my computer?"

Stay calm if you are having a similar error on your Windows or Mac computers. Follow this page, you'll learn how to fix this 'Windows cannot open the document' error, making your Word file openable again immediately. 

Error: "Word cannot open the document: user does not have access privileges." What Does This Mean

When you open a Word document but the application warns that 'Word cannot open the document: user does not have access privileges', it means that the current user on your computer doesn't own the permission of reading and writing this file.

Error: Word cannot open the document

Why can't I access my Word documents?

Here is a list of all possible reasons that blocks you from entering a Word file:

  • You don't have enough privileges to view the content.
  • Files cannot be opened during transferring.
  • File is unopenable while updating Word client.
  • You set a password to protect the files.

What do you do when it says the word cannot open the document?

So how do I fix the Word cannot open the document access privileges error on Windows or macOS? Here is what to do when this error occurs to you:

  • Complete the file transferring if you are doing so.
  • Update Word application to the latest edition.
  • Stop using the Word document.
  • Follow the respective solutions to fix Word won't open error on Windows or Mac.

 In the next two parts, we'll show you the respective methods of making Word that won't open to accessible again.

Fix Word Cannot Open the Document: User Does Not Have Access Privileges in Windows

Here, we collected 4 practical solutions that will be able to help you fix this issue immediately:

  1. #1. Get All Permissions
  2. #2. Remove Properties and Personal Information
  3. #3. Copy Word Document to Another Location
  4. #4. Recover and Repair Unopenable Word File 

Remember to follow the methods one-by-one, and stop when the error gets resolved. Let's start now.

Fix 1. Get All Permissions to Access Word Files

Step 1. Right-click a Word file that won't open and select "Properties".

Gain permissions

Step 2. Go to the Security tab, and click "Advanced".

Step 3. Click "Add" on the next window and click "Select a principal".

set to gain permission to Word

Step 4. Click "Advanced" and click "Find Now".

Step 5. Select "Authenticated Users", and click "OK".

Select authenticated user to give permission of accessing Word file

Step 6. Click "OK" to confirm, and check "Full Control", click "OK".

Take full control of accessing and opening Word file

Step 7. Click "Apply" and "OK".

After this, restart your computer and you can retry to open the Word file on your computer by then. If you still cannot open the Word document, continue with Fix 2.

Fix 2. Remove Properties and Personal Information

Step 1. Right-click the Word file that cannot open and select "Properties".

Step 2. Go to the Details tab, click "Remove Properties and Personal Information".

Remove Properties and personal information

Step 3. Check "Create a copy with all possible properties removed" and click "OK".

Select to copy with all possible properties removed

After this, restart your PC and re-try to open the Word file. 

Fix 3. Copy Word Document to Another Location

If you finished Fix 1 and Fix 2, but the Word application still pops up 'Word cannot open the document: user does not have access privileges' error message, don't worry. You can switch the user account and try to open the document in another location.

Here are the steps:

Step 1. Copy the unopenable Word document file to an external storage device, like a USB flash drive.

Step 2. Click the Windows icon and the Users icon.

Step 3. Select to log in as administrator and type password if necessary.

Switch User account

Step 4. Copy the Word document to the desktop and double-click to see if you can open it.

If yes, congratulations. The Word cannot open error is resolved. If not, follow the next method for help.

Fix 4. Recover and Repair Unopenable Word with File Repair Software

The last method that we suggest you try is turning to the Word repair tool for help. Here, EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard with its file repair feature allows you to scan and repair the unopenable Word file immediately.

EaseUS file repair software

  • Fix Word error with unreadable content
  • Recover and repair Word documents, Excel files, and PPT opened with random codes
  • Support fixing damaged PDF and recovering text, hyperlinks, forms, headers, footers, etc.
  • Repair corrupted files saved on various storage media like USB, SD card, pen drive, etc.
 Download for Win Recovery Rate 99.7%
 Download for Mac Trustpilot Rating 4.6

Now, free download this file repair tool to scan and repair corrupted  Word documents efficiently. 

Step 1. Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, and then scan disk with corrupted documents. This software enables you to fix damaged Word, Excel, PPT, and PDF files in same steps. 

select the disk with corrupted documents

Step 2. EaseUS data recovery and repair tool will scan for all lost and corrupted files. You can find the target files by file type or type the file name in the search box. 

find corrupted documents

Step 3. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard can repair your damaged documents automatically. After file preview, you can click "Recover" to save the repaired Word, Excel, and PDF document files to a safe location.

repair corrrupt documents

Fix "Cannot Open the Document: User Does Not Have Acess Privileges" on Mac

So how do you fix the "Word cannot open the document: user does not have access privileges" error on Mac? Here are three fixes that we collected from answers.microsoft.com and hope that will be helpful for you:

  1. #1. Reset User Home Folder Permissions and ACLs via Terminal
  2. #2. Repair Permissions via Disk Utility
  3. #3. Create A New User Account and Open Word in the New User Account 

Let's see how to fix Word won't open error on your computer now. 

Fix 1. Reset User Home Folder Permissions and ACLs via Terminal

Step 1. Boot Mac from the recovery partition and open Terminal Utility.

Step 2. Type resetpassword and hit Return.

Reset password

Step 3. Restart Mac computer and retry to open the Word file.

If this fix works, congratulations. You can stop here. If not, continue trying the next fix.

Fix 2. Repair Permissions via Disk Utility

Step 1. Quit all applications on your Mac computer.

Step 2. Restart the Mac computer and hold the Shift key.

Step 3. When you see the Progress Bar, release the Shift key.

Load Mac

Step 4. Sign in with your account and wait for the loading to complete.

Step 5. Restart Mac and retry to open the Word document.

If it works, stop here and make use of your Word files then. If not, try the next fix.

Fix 3. Create A New User Account and Open Word in the New User Account 

Step 1. Click the Apple menu, select "Preferences" and click "Users & Groups".

Open users and groups settings

Step 2. Click the Add button, and click "New Account" on the pop-up menu.

Step 3. Choose a type of user - "Administrator", "Standard", or "Share Only". (Administrator is recommended here.)

Chose user account type

Step 4. Enter a user name, password, and click "Create User". 

Create a new user account

Step 5. Restart Mac and sign in to the original user account. Copy the unopenable Word file to an external storage device.

Step 6. Restart Mac and try to open the Word file in the new User Account.

Note that if the above 3 methods all failed to resolve your problem, please try to contact the support team of Microsoft Office. They'll get your problem resolved as soon as possible.

Word Can't Open the Document Error Is Fixable, Go and Make Your Word File Work Now

On this page, we explained that does it mean when the Word application says "Word cannot open the document: user does not have access privileges". 

Remember, when this error happens, stop using the problematic file and quite all your background running programs. Then you can follow the respective solutions as shown above to fix this error.

If you lost or missing Word files during the process, don't hesitate to take EaseUS file recovery software to scan and restore all the Word files. 

 Download for Win Recovery Rate 99.7%
 Download for Mac Trustpilot Rating 4.6

Remember, you can fix the Word cannot open document error. Take action to make your files work normally now.

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Updated 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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Approved by Evan Galasso

Evan Galasso is a digital forensics and data recovery engineer with over 10 years of experience in the field. He presents opinions on the current state of storage media, reverse engineering of storage systems and firmware, and electro-mechanical systems of SSDs and HDDs.

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