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

Written By Ashwani Tiwari
Anuraag Singh
Approved By Anuraag Singh
Published On December 17th, 2018
Reading Time 5 Minutes Reading

“Hey, Guys!! Please help! As my PC was working too slow, I reformatted the system, which is using Windows 8. After which, it is working fine, but somehow I am not able to access one of my Word files. Before formatting, I’ve encrypted a few files because of which somewhere I might have given a wrong input in the Security tab. Whenever I try to access the file, a prompt message states that “Word cannot open the document: User does not have access privileges.” How can I resolve this issue, any advice please?”

“Being working as an HR Manager, there are numerous Word document files loaded in my system, which is saved on My Documents. Yesterday, while trying to open the files, I received a pop-up message stating, “Word cannot open the document: User does not have access privileges.” It seems that my Word document has got corrupted. Could anyone help me out to fix this up?”

Microsoft Office offers a bundle of programs, which includes text editor, spreadsheet, PowerPoint Presentation and so much more. Out of the various programs, MS Word or text editor is one of the widely used application. However, at times there are chance for the Word file getting corrupt, which can cause a worse instance like data loss. When any such corruption occurs, MS Word file fails to open, in which the user cannot access the file. It prompts the error message as,

“MS Word cannot open the document: User does not have access privileges.”

So folks, you are lucky indeed to reach out this blog where we will discuss the best methods to resolve this error. So let’s directly jump into the solutions without wasting any time!

Top 5 Solution to Fix When Microsoft Word Cannot be Opened

MS Word Error Message

Solution 1: Change the File Permission

  1. Firstly, right-click the Word File and select Properties
  2. Under the Properties window, choose Security tab, in which you may see a message stating, “You must have Read permissions to view the properties of this object.” and click Advanced. It means the user does not have enough rights to view the file.
  3. From the next dialog box, click Add in which Permissions window will be opened, from where you need to click select a principal option
  4. Now, click on Advanced>> Find New>> Authenticated Users to select the users so that they can access the file
  5. Then, the user/group will be reflected automatically in the object name space and click OK
  6. After this, make sure that you have checked all the check boxes like Modify, Read & Execute, Write, etc, so that all kinds of permissions are granted to the respective users
  7. At last, press OK to apply these permissions and rights to the user. Try to open the Word file to check whether it is now opening or not

Solution 2: Open the Word File in Draft Mode

It is observed that when this “Word cannot open the document: User does not have access privileges” error occurs. It is basically the corruption that is causing this error. So, when this damaged Word document is opened in Draft mode without updating the links. It will somehow help to sort this ‘user does not have access privileges’ error.

Solution 3: Fix the Corrupt Word File Using Inbuilt Utility

If the aforesaid methods do not help you to fix this error? Even if the issue is fixed and you can access the file, unfortunately you may not be able to read some text. If you face any such uncertainties, then immediately troubleshoot it using “Open and Repair”, which is a utility by Microsoft that will help to resolve the error so that users can easily access the Word document.

Open and Repair Option

Solution 4: Verify Anti-virus Exceptions

There is some anti-virus, which has the feature to protect the files and folders automatically. Thus, it may lead to “Word cannot open the document: User does not have access privileges” issue. In which, a user tries to open the file where the access is denied to open. Under such, situation, it is suggested to check the anti-virus settings and check the protected list. This will ensure that the Word file which you are trying to access is protected or not. Moreover, all the anti-virus does not have this property to protect the folder. Hence, if you find the files are protected and not the folder protected, then restart the system to files.

Solution 5: Make Use of Top-Notch Software for Instant Recovery

Are you fed up trying all the alternatives to fix “MS Word cannot open the document: User does not have access privileges” issue? Then, do not lose your hope, there is always a solution if you have the audacity to resolve. Thus, we have come up with the ultimate solution to troubleshoot this instance effectively. For that, simply make use of Docx Repair tool. It is an amazing tool loaded with impressive features so as to repair the Word file in no time. It allows to repair the Word file consisting of multiple pages. It can efficiently work to resolve this issue by repairing the corrupted Docx file altogether at once. It is also capable to repair the Word file with Macro and restricted editing files. Furthermore, it does not require MS Office installation to repair and recover corrupted Docx files. So readers, make the best use of this utility that will help to resolve this error message.

Let’s Sum Up

When a user ends up with this error message i.e., “MS Word cannot open the document: User does not have access privileges.” Then, one can try the aforementioned workarounds, however, the best and cost-effective solution is by using the automated approach. This is because it consists of endless features to recover the damaged Word file within a short files.


By Ashwani Tiwari

Being a Chief Technical Analyst, I am aware of the technicalities faced by the user while working with multiple technologies. So, through my blogs and articles, I love to help all the users who face various challenges while dealing with technology.