What do you do when you have a template file or files that you want users to edit, such as company forms created in Word but you don’t want everyone to be opening up the online version and start modifying the live templates? Let’s look at some options using the URL of the file.

The first instinct might be to make the document read only…. sure, this makes sure no one can modify the template file but it then means that no one can fill in the form as it’s in read-only mode!

The second instinct might be to tell users to click on “Download a copy” from within the online browser after opening the link… sure, because every user listens to what you ask them to do, right? I mean, surely they do?

The third instinct would be to force a copy of the file to be downloaded which the user can then fill in and do with it as they wish! To set this up we just need to create the URL with the format shown below:

note: include the subsite address if the file is within a sub site or a new sitecollection, or direct it to the main site collection


Now this link will automatically download the document on to the persons computer.