Windows from the Keyboard Tips, Outlook – Protected Email Attachments, July 22, 2020

Hello. This is Gerry Chevalier from the GTT Edmonton Chapter. This weekly blog provides tips that I find useful as a keyboard user of Windows. The information is for Windows10 and Office 365, although many tips still apply to older versions. The tips do not require a screen reader unless specifically noted. Thus, the tips apply whether you are a keyboard user or low vision mouse user. Here is this week’s tip.
Outlook – Protected Documents on Email Attachments
By default, Windows will protect Office documents that originate from the Internet such as downloaded documents or documents attached to emails. You have probably received an email with an attached Word or Excel document. After saving the attached document and opening it, you notice it has opened in protected view. With a screen reader, you can verify the protected view by reading the screen title line when the document is open. Windows automatically protects documents that originate from the Internet to inhibit malware macros that could be present in the document. However, protecting the document prevents you from editing it, and it may also cause some accessibility issues with screen readers even if you just want to read the document.
If you trust the sender of the document, you can easily turn off the document’s protection.
• With the document open, press Alt+F. This will bring up the list of categories in the document Backstage view. Sometimes, my screen reader tells me the protected document is not open and it is unresponsive to my keyboard. If I Alt+TAB away from the document and Alt+Tab back to it then it unlocks, and I can press Alt+F.
• Arrow down to the Info category of the Backstage view which gives access to the document properties.
• TAB repeatedly through the document properties of the Info category until you reach the “Enable editing” button and press the space bar. This turns off the document’s protected mode so you can edit it.
• Note: If you Tab beyond the Enable Editing button you will find a link to take you to the Trust Centre where you can modify the global protection settings. For example, you could prevent future documents received from the Internet from being automatically protected. However, for safety, I recommend leaving the global protection settings unchanged because it’s safer to have Internet documents protected by default.