How to Fix the “Word Cannot Complete The Save Due to a File Permission Error” Issue on Windows

Image Credit: huangyailah488 /
Image Credit: huangyailah488 /

If Word struggles to save your files, don’t worry just yet. Here’s how to fix the issue on Windows and save your files again.

Microsoft Word is a very popular word processor, but while saving a Word file, you might encounter an error that says, “Word cannot complete the save due to a file permission error.” The issue mainly appears when you try to save a file copied from an external source.

It may sound scary at first, especially if you have saved progress on the line. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to get rid of the error message. Try the below fixes to eliminate the problem for good.

What Causes the “Word Cannot Complete the Save Due to a File Permission Error” Issue?

As aforementioned, the error mainly appears when you try to save a file that doesn’t belong to your system or has been copied from an external source. But there are many more reasons that can be responsible for the problem. Let’s check them out.

  1. The error message will appear if you try to save a file that has been previously saved as “read-only.”
  2. If your user account doesn’t have the proper permission to access the file or the directory where you want to save the file, you will most likely face the issue.
  3. The problem can also result from third-party antivirus programs installed on the system.

Now that you know what causes the issue, let’s check out all the potential fixes.

1. Try Saving the File With a Different Name and to a Different Location

Before getting into technical fixes, try to save the file with a different name at a different location. As it turns out, if the file has been copied from an external source, Word will not be able to save it with its original name on your system.

So, to fix the issue, consider changing the file name and saving it in a different location. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Click on File at the top bar.
  2. Choose Save As from the left pane.
  3. Choose a different location this time and give the file a different name.
  4. Click on Save.

2. Turn Off Your Antivirus Program

Antivirus programs have a long history of interfering with applications’ performance and functions. And from what it looks like, the error in the question can appear due to interference from the third-party antivirus program. So, consider disabling the antivirus and check if it fixes the problem.

You can disable a third-party antivirus program by right-clicking on its icon in the system tray and choosing to disable protection from the context menu. If you use Microsoft Defender, follow the below steps to disable Microsoft Defender on Windows 11.

  1. Open the Start Menu, type Windows Security and press Enter.
  2. Choose Virus & threat protection from the left pane.
  3. Click on Manage settings.
  4. Disable the toggle under Real-time protection.

That’s it. Try to save the file again and check if the problem continues.

3. Take Ownership of the File

The error message will appear if you don’t have full access to the file. This will happen often when the file has come from an external source.

As a solution, you can try taking full ownership of the file. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Right-click on the File and choose Properties from the context menu.
  2. Switch to the Security tab and select the Advanced option.
  3. Click on Change next to the Owner description.
  4. Select the Advanced option from the prompt that appears.
  5. Click on Find now.
  6. Choose the user to whom you want to grant full access to the selected file and click on OK.
  7. Close all the windows.
  8. Right-click on the File again and choose Properties, and then Security.
  9. Click on Advanced option > Add.
  10. Choose Select a principal next to the Principal description.
  11. Click on Advanced > Find now.
  12. Select the account and click on OK.
  13. Checkmark Full control.
  14. Click on OK > Apply > OK.

4. Repair Microsoft Office

MS Word will be unable to save the file due to any corruption in Microsoft Office. You can get rid of these corrupt files by using the Office repair feature. Here’s how.

  1. Open Settings using Win + I hotkeys.
  2. Choose Apps from the left pane.
  3. Click on Apps & features.
  4. Click on the three dots next to Microsoft Office and choose Modify.
  5. Choose Online Repair.
  6. Click on Repair > Repair.

Microsoft Office will now look for and resolve any corruption present in the suite.

5. Launch Word in Safe Mode

The next solution to try is to launch Microsoft Word in safe mode and disable all the extensions. You can do it by following the below steps.

  1. Open the Run dialogue box using one of the many ways to open the run dialogue box.
  2. Type winword /safe and press Enter.
  3. Click on File > More > Options.
  4. Choose Add-ins from the left pane.
  5. Click on the drop-down icon next to Manage and choose COM Add-ins.
  6. Click on Go.
  7. Select all the unnecessary extensions and choose Remove.

Relaunch Word and try to save the document.

8 . Update Microsoft Word

If you are using an outdated version of Microsoft Word, you’re likely to face the Word cannot complete the save due to a file permission error. You will have to update Microsoft Word to fix the problem. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Open Word > File.
  2. Choose Account from the left pane.
  3. Click on Update Options before Office Updates.
  4. From the context menu, select Update Now.

Once the update process is complete, reboot the system and check for the problem.

9. Download the Latest Windows Update

Microsoft releases new updates for Windows to fix minor issues and improve overall system performance. So, downloading the latest Windows update can be an effective way to resolve the error.

You can update the OS like so:

  1. Open Settings using Win + I.
  2. Choose Windows Update from the left pane.
  3. Click on Check for Updates.

Windows will now look for and download all the pending updates.

Save Word Files Without Any Issue

If you have all the required permissions, it’s very easy to save and manage files on Microsoft Word. But if you cannot save the file due to a permission error, try the above solutions to resolve the problem.

All Rights Reserved for Aman Kumar

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