Password protect and encrypt Microsoft Office files

NOTE: Encryption is best used in situations when you share information with external recipients.

To share files with internal recipients, restrict access using the instructions on the following web page:

Password protect and encrypt your Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files to ensure your privacy, protect your data, and secure intellectual or sensitive information. It is used to protect documents in transit (i.e. sent via email) and at rest (i.e. stored on a disk or in the cloud) from being accessed by unauthorized users. When you encrypt sensitive data, you severely decrease the risk of having it leaked. A hacker will not be able to make sense of your files. This is the best method when sharing files with external recipients.

IMPORTANT: Store this password in a safe place and remember that it is case sensitive. If you have forgotten or lost this password it cannot be recovered, and you will not be able to view your file.
  1. Open the file you want to password protect and encrypt.
  2. Click File.
    click file
  3. Click Info.
    click info
  4. Click Protect Document.
    click protect document
  5. Click Encrypt with Password.
    click encrypt with password
  6. Enter the password that you will use to open this file in the future, and then click OK.
    enter your password and click ok
  7. Reenter the password, and then click OK.
    reenter your password and click ok

    The file is now encrypted and requires this password to open it.
    document is now protected

  8. NOTE:
    • Save this password in a safe place and securely communicate this to any recipients of this file.
    • Do not send the file and the password in the same email. Find some other way to communicate the password to recipients.


Remove a password from your protected and encrypted file

  1. Locate the file where you want to remove a password.
  2. Enter the specific password to open this file, and then click OK.
    enter your password and click ok
  3. Click File.
    click file
  4. Click Info.
    click info
  5. Click Protect Document.
    document is now protected
  6. Click Encrypt with Password.
    click encrypt with password
  7. Delete the password, and then click OK.
    remove password and click ok
  8. The file is no longer protected. Save the file so that the password will no longer be required to open the document, spreadsheet, or PowerPoint.
    the document is no longer protected

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