How to Fix Word File Permission Error on Mac

Microsoft Word icon

Looking for a way to fix the Word file permission error on your Mac?

You’re working on a Word document on your Mac, but you can’t seem to save the file. Then, you try to access other Microsoft Word files on your computer and unfortunately, you see the same file permission error. What should you do? 

First things first, don’t panic. A file permission error isn’t a critical issue. It just lets you know that you don’t have permission to access or save Word files. Usually, this issue occurs when you don’t have privileges to write on a specific volume or folder on your Mac. Other culprits could be “Read Only” files or third-party fonts installed in your MS Word. 

Today, we’ll help you get back to writing documents without a glitch. We’ve listed seven potential solutions. Here’s how to fix the Word file permission error on Mac.

Let’s get to it! 

1. Update Your macOS and Microsoft Office. 

Before anything else, check if your macOS and Microsoft Office are up-to-date. You can resolve some minor issues with an OS or app update. After all, system updates often come with patches and new features that can address different software issues. 

Here’s how to check for macOS updates:

  1. On your Mac, click the Apple menu. 
  2. Then, select System Preferences.
  3. Now, click Software Updates.
  4. If there’s an available update, click Upgrade Now.
upgrade macOS

Here’s how to update your Microsoft Office:

  1. First, open Microsoft Word. If that isn’t possible, open any Microsoft Office application. 
  2. Next, click Help on the menu bar.
  3. Select Check for Updates.
  4. On the next window, click the Update button next to Microsoft Word.
update Microsoft Office
  1. Lastly, restart your computer.

2. Restart Word and Mac to Fix File Permission Error on Mac.

One good workaround for any software issues is to restart the computer and app. Doing so can help eliminate any garbage memory or random bugs that led to the Word file permission error on your Mac. Give it a try, and this might be the fix for you.

Here’s how to perform this troubleshooting method:

  1. First, close the Word file that showed the File Permission Error.
word file permission error on mac
  1. Wait for around 30 seconds. Then, open it again.
  2. If the issue persists, restart your computer.
  3. Open the Word file once your Mac is back on. See if you still encounter the problem.

Do you need another way to fix the Word file permission error? Browse through below.

3. Change the Word File Permission to Fix Error on Mac.

As the error suggests, you need permission to access or save a Word file. The problematic file probably may have a “Read only” setting. Fortunately, you can resolve it by changing the Word file’s privilege settings from “Read only” to “Read & Write.”

Here are the steps on how to change the Word file permission:

  1. Start by selecting the folder that contains the file.
  2. Next, right-click on the folder and select the Get Info option.
  3. The info dialogue box will appear. Look for the Sharing and Permissions tab and click the drop-down arrow beside it. 
  4. You will then see the existing users and privileges. You’ll also see a small lock icon at the bottom of the dialogue box. Click on that icon.
  5. Now, type the administrator credentials.
  6. At this point, you’ll see an enabled Privilege button (an up and down arrow). Look for your name in the user list. If the privilege setting for your name is set to “Read only,” click the Privilege button and pick “Read & Write” instead.
word file permission error on Mac
  1. Once you’ve finished all of that, click the ring icon with three dots at the bottom of the info dialogue box. Then, select Apply to the Enclosed Items.

4. Remove the Normal.dotm File to Fix Word File Permission Error on Mac.

If changing privilege settings didn’t work, try deleting the Normal.dotm file on your Mac. This file is the default template that Word uses whenever it needs to create a new document. There could be random bugs or malware that has corrupted this file. 

It’s safe to delete the Normal.dotm file, so don’t worry. Microsoft Word can regenerate one the next time it creates a new document. Many users have reported that deleting the Normal.dotm file helped them fix the Word file permission error.

Here’s how to implement this fix:

  1. First, quit Word if you still haven’t closed the app.
  2. Next, press these keys: Command + Shift + G. Then, hit Enter.
  3. The Go to Folder will open. Type the following on the folder path:
~/Library/Group Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/User Content/Templates
  1. Find the Normal.dotm file and delete it.
remove normal.dotm file
  1. Lastly, open the Word file again and see if you can now write without a hitch.

Do you still encounter the file permission error? It’s time to explore other culprits.

5. Disable Third-Party Fonts on Your Mac.

Third-party fonts installed in your Microsoft Word can also cause a file permission error. It pays to disable these fonts and see if the issue no longer persists. 

Here’s how to disable third-party fonts:

  1. On your Mac, launch the Finder app. 
  2. Then, click Applications on the left-side menu. 
  3. Next, locate the Font Book app. 
  4. Select the third-party fonts or font families. Then, click Edit on the menu bar. Then, select Disable “Font Name/Family” on the drop-down menu.
disable third-party fonts
  1. Click Disable to confirm the action.
  2. Lastly, open the problematic Word file and see if you can write and save it successfully.

6. Delete Microsoft Office Caches and Preference Files.

Other than third-party fonts, caches and preference files are possible culprits, too. These are temporary Microsoft Office files that might be causing your Word to fail. It’s best to locate and delete them. That way, your Word and Mac will run more efficiently.

Here’s how to delete Microsoft Office caches:

  1. First, quit Word and other Microsoft Office apps if they are open. 
  2. Then, launch Finder. Select Applications on the left-side menu.
  3. Next, click Utilities. Then, locate and open the Keychain.
keychain app
  1. In the Keychain window, look for the search field. Type “adal.” 
  2. Look through the results and delete all the entries that begin with “com.microsoft” (Example: com.microsoft.adalcache).
  3. Lastly, exit Keychain. Then, don’t forget to delete preference files, too. 

Here’s how to delete preference files:

  1. Go back to Finder.
  2. Click Go. Then, select Go to Folder
  3. Type the following on the search field:
~/Library/Containers/com.microsoft.Word/Data/Library/Preferences/
  1. The Preferences folder will open. Locate this file name and delete it:
com.microsoft.Word.securebookmarks.plist
  1. Finally, restart your Mac.

This fix should do the trick. But if you still encounter the Word file permission error, we still have one last potential solution for you. Check it out below.

7. Change Home Folder Permission Settings.

If none of the solutions above worked, try changing the Home Folder permission settings. This method will unlock all user files and restore their ownership and control to the default. You’ll have to recreate any custom settings you’ve set on those files.

This method won’t affect your system files. Again, it’ll only unlock all the user files on your Mac. Still, it’s best to back up your files, especially those with custom attributes.

Here’s how to perform this fix:

  1. First, click the Apple logo at the top-left corner of your Mac. 
  2. Select Restart. Then, quickly hold down the Command + R keys to enter the Recovery Mode. 
  3. The macOS Utilities window will appear. Click Utilities from the menu on top. 
fix word file permission error on mac
  1. Next, select Terminal.
  2. In the Terminal window, type this command and then hit Enter:
resetpassword
  1. A Reset Password window will appear. Don’t change any password settings. Instead, scroll down to look for the Reset Home Folder Permissions and ACLS section. There’s a Reset button on this section. Click on that button.
  2. When asked, enter your password. Then, your Mac will restart.
  3. Once your computer is back on, try to access any Word file.

That’s it. Hopefully, one or, at least, the last method has worked for you. Let us know your experience. And if you have more Mac-related issues, don’t hesitate to tell us. We’ll do our best to address them in the comment section or on our next how-to post. 

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