I have a document library that stores Word and Excel files that are used by several people in our company. They access them from a link list. The documents are fillable forms so I have set the permission level to Contribute so they can fill the forms out. The problem is that I don't want them to save back to the SharePoint copy. I want it to always be blank when the next person opens it. I want to force them to "Save As" to their personal folder if they need to Save their copy. Is this possible?
Change the general permissions from 'contribute' to 'read' on your list, then everyone should be able to open the documents, but not write back to the server. They don't need to contribute to open the form, just to write back to the server (which seems to be what you don't want them to do!)
Use content types with document/excel template. You can see how to create a content type with a document template at https://stackoverflow.com/questions/9175300/excel-template-in-sharepoint-how-to-open-as-a-new-file-from-template.
The steps are straightforward: a) create a new content type, derived from document content type and add the document template b) Add the new content type to the list and disable any other content types.
In that way, document templates won't be changed by the users and you can always update them!