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"

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Article ID: 930698 - View products that this article applies to.
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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."

Similar problems and solutions

Why is my Word document locked?
Accessibility tutorials for Word 2002: Activating your copy of Office
About product activation in Microsoft Office System products


Article ID: 930698 - Last Review: January 14, 2015 - Revision: 1.3
  • Microsoft Office XP Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Access 2002 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Office Excel 2003
  • Microsoft Excel 2002 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft FrontPage 2002 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 2000 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Office Word 2003
  • Microsoft Word 2002
  • Microsoft Office FrontPage 2003
  • Microsoft Office Outlook 2003
  • Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2003
  • Microsoft Office Publisher 2003
  • Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003
  • Microsoft Office Standard Edition 2003
  • Microsoft Office Students and Teachers Edition 2003
  • Microsoft Office Small Business Edition 2003
  • Microsoft Office Basic Edition 2003
  • Microsoft Office Access 2003
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