Fix “Word Cannot Save Due to A File Permission Error” on Mac OS X (Big Sur, Catalina, Mojave)

Microsoft cannot complete the save file permission error on Mac, to be clear this is not a critical error and, there is no reason to panic. A few troubleshooting methods will fix the error. However, in most rare case scenarios, there is a possibility that your MS Word document is damaged. Even before trying to fix the error, it is better for you to know the reasons for these errors.

Reasons for Microsoft cannot complete the save file permission error on Mac (2016, 2013, 2010)

The first thing you have to understand is, it is not a complicated error. As the error suggests that, you just don’t have permission to save the word files. Generally, this error is caused when

  • You don’t have privileges to write on to a volume or folder on Mac
  • If the file privileges are set to read-only
  • Damaged template or damaged word file

Accordingly, there are few methods to fix the file permission error on Microsoft Word Mac. Before proceeding any further, if you feel that your Word Doc is damaged, you can easily fix it using Remo Repair Word.

Download Word File Repair tool for free

How do I fix permissions in Word for Mac?

According to Apple, a Word file permission error on Mac will occur when folder privileges are restricted to read-only. As a Mac user, you might have already known that on iOS you can set specific privileges for the folder, volume, and disks. To fix the file Permission in Word error on  Mac, you just have to change the privileges.

Following are the steps on how to change.

  • Select the folder or volume or disk where the word file is residing
  • Right-click on the folder and select the get info option
  • At the bottom of the Info dialogue box, you will see sharing and permissions tab with a drop-down arrow
  • Click on it to see the existing users and privileges. As per my experience, it must be set to read-only
  • At the bottom right corner of the info dialogue box, you will see a small lock icon
  • Click on the lock icon and enter the administrator credentials
  • Now the privilege button will be enabled, click on the button and change the it to read and write
  • At the bottom of the info screen, there is an action pop-up menu button or a ring icon with 3 dots. Click on it and select apply to the enclosed items

Change the Word file Permission to Read and Write

Similar to a folder, even Word files can be restricted with read-only attributes. In such cases, you can open the word document and read it. But, when you try to make some changes and try to save the file, you will see a pop-up error saying Microsoft cannot complete the save file permission error.

In such cases, you have to change the read-only attribute to read and write. Fortunately, the process of changing file privileges remains the same as the folder. Hence please refer to the above section for a detailed explanation on how to fix Word file permission on Mac.

Use Save As Option to Your Advantage to Fix Word file Permission Error on Mac - Trick

Generally, when the file is write-protected, it will only restrict to save the recent changes. However, you can use the save as option in the file menu to create a new file in a different location on Mac. Most importantly, the save as option is easiest and you can avoid going through all those complicated steps to change the privileges on Mac.

Here is how you do it.

  • After making the required changes on the word file, go to File in the Menu bar.
  • From the File menu, select the Save As option
  • Select the location to save the file and give different file name

This method might fix the error yet, there is a huge drawback. For example, if you are editing a long document, you cannot wait till you complete editing to save the file. Because editing a long Word Doc might take a long time. Practically, you cannot keep a word document open for a long duration. Because you might accidentally close the Word file without saving or the Word might crash before you save the file.

This can be catastrophic, to avoid such accidents, you can use save as option even before start editing.

However, in case if the read-only mode is enabled for the entire Mac hard disk, you will now be able to save the file on the local Mac disk. In such cases, you can connect a pen drive to Mac, use Save as option and store files in external storage drive.

The perfect method to avoid complicated processes.

How to Fix the Word File Permission Error on Mac Due to Damaged Templet?

This really is a rare scenario, yet you can still fix the word file. Since this error occurs while you are saving the file, the easiest way to fix it is by transferring the entire contents of the Word file to another. In the case of small documents it's easy, you just copy and paste. But, in case of large documents, with over 100 pages or in some cases over 500 pages, things can get complicated.

Because a typical word file has, custom margin, custom font, document styling, H tags, paragraph gaps, different items such as images, and in some cases few users even make sure that the image has specific pixel density.

In a small document, it is easy to replicate such changes, in case of large documents, it's impossible. Fortunately, for such users, there is an efficient tool known as Remo Repair Word. A technically advanced tool that can fix any error on a Word file. further it is quite easy to use.

The entire repair process is limited to 3 steps.

  • Download and install the Remo Repair Word
  • Open the tool and click on the browse button to select the word file with error
  • Click on repair, that is your Word file permission error if fixed in 3 simple clicks.
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Molly Owen

Molly is the Lead Technical Specialist with distinguished knowledge and understanding of Mac computers and operating systems. Being a veteran photographer and video recovery specialist, Molly’s expertise on video formats and file repair has helped restore a lot of videos and cherished memories of users.

As a technical specialist she also believes in learning and spreading knowledge about the current and trending aspects of various media formats, Adobe Photoshop and macOS troubleshooting. A full-fledged learner, caffeine-lover and a firm-believer that technology would make the world a better place.

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