Document Protection Options on the Shared Drive

Document Protection Options on the Shared Drive

For documents where data needs to be on the shared drive but not altered there are a few options to setting restrictions. Users can mark the document as final, set read-only access, set a password restriction.

Mark as FinalWord_Mark as Final

The “Mark as Final” command, available in Microsoft Office, signifies that the user is opening a completed and final version of a document. This also prevents users from making inadvertent changes to the document. The “Mark as Final” command is not a security feature. Any user who receives an electronic copy of a document that has been marked as final can edit that document by removing the “Mark as Final” status. Documents that have been marked as final in Microsoft Office system program will not be read-only if they are opened in earlier versions of Microsoft Office programs.

 Read-Only Access

In earlier versions of Microsoft Office, documents settings can be applied to make a document have read-only access. The read-only access feature should be applied if an author does not want users to accidentally edit or modify a document. A read-only document can only be read or copied. Only the author can make changes to the original document by de-activating the read-only protection. If changes to a read-only file are not made by the original author, the changes can be saved by giving the file a new name.

Read-only access can be applied in two ways.

The first is through the “General Options” dialogue box when saving a file. The following are directions on how to do this.

  1. Click the Microsoft Office Ribbon Button, and then click “Save As.”
  2. Click “Tools”; then click “General Options,” which will open the “General Options” dialogue box.
  3. In the “General Options” dialogue box, check the “Read-only recommended” check box.
  4. Click OK to exit the “General Options” dialogue box.
  5. Make sure to locate the appropriate file folder and type a name for the document. When finished, click “Save.”

 Explorer_Read-Only Document PropertiesThe second option is to activate the read-only through the document properties window. Find the document in Windows Explorer and right click on the document. Choose “Properties” from the context menu. This will open the “Document Properties” dialogue window. Check the box next to “Read-only” under the “Attributes” section.

 Password Protection

In Microsoft Office, document settings can be applied to make a document password protected and/ or restrict options. Password access should be applied if an author does not want users to access a document for confidentially or security reasons. A password-protected file can only be accessed or modified by users who know the password. If password protection is no longer necessary, usually the original author must deactivate. Note: If the password is lost or forgotten, the document can not be opened and must be deleted.Office_Password Protection Wizard

To activate password protection, go through the Protect Document wizard. The Protect Document tool icon is located as the last icon under the Review tab ribbon. Click on the Protect Document icon and the wizard will open in a sidebar to the right of the document. The user may customize each editing option for a document by clicking in the check box next to the first two options. Once finished, simply click in the “x” in the upper right hand corner of the wizard.

To learn how to organize electronic files on the shared drive, download the report How to Organize Electronic Documents on Shared Drive Networks. Or you are welcome to contact us and we can assist you.

Renaming Multiple Documents in the Shared Drive

In Windows Explorer you can rename multiple files at one time, however it will the same file name with a sequential number at the end. To do this highlight or select all the files you want to rename in Windows Explorer, then right-click the first one and select Rename. Type your desired base file name and press Enter. All the files that were highlighted will be renamed to that exact same file name with a sequential number at the end. This is useful especially if you have pictures or graphics that are similar.  Here are more details to do this function that applies to Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 and 8,  How to Rename Multiple Documents in Windows XP.

All File Renamer, File Renamer and Rename are free renamerapplications that allow renaming of files, folders and documents in a batch mode and offer a lot more functionality. These tools actually allow you to change multiple files with only a partial change and not a full change. For instance, let’s say you have a client file and want to add to all the documents, the client name in the name of the document without changing the original file names, these utilities will do it.

To learn how to organize electronic files on the shared drive, download the report How to Organize Electronic Documents on Shared Drive Networks. Or you are welcome to contact us and we can assist you.

Developing Responsibility to Maintain Organization on the Shared Drive

Responsibility Road SignOnce you get the shared drive reorganized it is important to establish accountability and responsibility to help maintain file structure and organization. As organizations evolve and change, so do file structures and record guidelines. It is essential for a person or department be accountable for the documents, records, and knowledge of the organization to maintain good record keeping. This can be the IT department or a person can be identified in each department or area of the company or organization. This person could have a title called ‘Organization Record Manager’, ‘Department Shared Drive Manager’ or ‘Electronic Record Coordinator’.

The following is a list of possible duties that this person would be responsible for as it relates to documents and records on the Shared Drive network:

  • Planning and coordinating annual review and purge of the shared drive with their respective department or area
  • Updating the shared drive guidelines and/or policy
  • Periodic check and review of the file structure on the shared drive to ensure it is in accordance with the guidelines
  • If unknown or unauthorized files are found, investigate ownership and accountability
  • Providing training for new hires, including contractors or employees, on the shared drive structure and guidelines
  • Authorize user permissions for restricted files within the respective department or area

It is also important to establish end-user and staff accountability. The responsibility for managing individual files or documents should reside with the author, team, or department who created the original file. The document originator or end-user should be responsible for:

  • Managing owner or authored files and documents on the shared drive
  • Ensure the file and its contents are in accordance with the file structure and document naming conventions
  • Removing the file and/or document contents, per the retention guidelines

Establishing this accountability will help an organization to maintain good structure and organization on the shared drive as well as create accountability for all staff to be responsible for good record and file keeping for the organization.

To learn how to organize electronic files on the shared drive, download the report How to Organize Electronic Documents on Shared Drive Networks. Or you are welcome to contact us and we can assist you.

Project Management Support for Reorganization of the Shared Drive

Depositphotos_1306891_xsTaking on the task of reorganization and structure of the shared drive can be daunting. It is important to choose the right internal person to assist and manage this type of project. This type of project requires someone or a team to create user-friendly, standardized, comprehensive, and extensive file structure, taxonomy and data/record management guidelines.

Sometimes an organization delegates the project to entry level or administrative staff. However, with limited decision-making authority, these individuals are often hesitant to change, alter, move, or remove files and documents from the shared drive network. Further, without buy-in from all employees, revised structures developed by one staff often can end up to be a short-term solution and not long lasting.

It is important for organizations to train internal personnel, engage a team, or hire consultants who have IT knowledge and understanding along with a clear process of how to facilitate groups to develop guidelines and an electronic file structure that can last into the future. These project managers or consultants are essentially in organizing the project, facilitating the process and providing counsel on data management best practices.

It is recommended in choosing internal personnel as project managers or project team participants to have the following skills;

  • A good understanding of server Happy team. Isolated.systems and shared drive networks
  • Excellent group facilitation skills; with the ability to foster dialogue and gain group consensus
  • Strong organizational skills and the ability to create file hierarchical systems and taxonomy
  • Strong skill in navigating and using functions and tools in Microsoft Office, and in particular Windows Explorer
  • Good knowledge of file extensions.

Information management, technology and professional organizing consultants can provide the service that offers the expertise needed to develop shared electronic file guidelines and structure. To learn how to organize electronic files on the shared drive, download the report How to Organize Electronic Documents on Shared Drive Networks. Or you are welcome to contact us and we can assist you.

Electronic Document Naming Conventions: Versioning

It is important to track various versions of documents when there have been significant and substantial changes in the context, format, or edit of a document. Usually version numbers are used to denote various versions of documents. A small “v” should be used with a sequential number following. Example: Document Naming Guidelines_v1. When creating multiple versions, make sure to use the same document name and title for all versions. A significant date can be added to the document name before the version number and/or if relevant to the new version.

It can also be helpful if there are multiple reviewers to add the initials or team name after the version number of the person who conducted those revisions. For a person’s name, use the first name initial and last name.

When multiple versions of a particular document have been finalized the word “FINAL” in capital letters is recommended to be used at the end of the document name. This is helpful to quickly identify the final version of all the prior versions. If there is another version after the “final” has been released, then the previous final should be renamed to the next version number and the new final version should be renamed “FINAL.”

To learn more how to organize computer documents, download the free report How to Organize Your Computer Documents.