How to Password Protect Documents and PDFs with Microsoft Office - - Windows Tips and Tricks with Geek

Thursday, February 24, 2022

How to Password Protect Documents and PDFs with Microsoft Office


How to Password Protect an Office Document

To password protect an Office document, first open it in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or Access. Click the “File” menu at the top-left corner of the screen. On the Info pane, click the “Protect Document” button and select “Encrypt with Password.”

The button is only named “Protect Document” in Microsoft Word, but it’s named something similar in other apps. Look for “Protect Workbook” in Microsoft Excel and “Protect Presentation” in Microsoft PowerPoint. In Microsoft Access, you’ll just see a an “Encrypt with Password” button on the Info tab. The steps will otherwise work the same.

NOTE: If you only want to restrict editing of the document, you can choose “Restrict Editing” here, but as we said, that is not very secure and can easily be bypassed. You’re better off encrypting the entire document, if you can.

Enter the password you want to encrypt the document with. You’ll want to choose a good password here. Weak passwords can be easily guessed by cracking software if someone gains access to the document.

Warning: You’ll lose access to the document if you ever forget your password, so keep it safe! Microsoft advises you write down the name of the document and its password and keep it in a safe place.

When a document is encrypted, you’ll see the “A password is required to open this document” message on the Info screen.

The next time you open the document, you’ll see an “Enter password to open file” box. If you don’t enter the correct password, you won’t be able to view the document at all.

To remove the password protection from a document, click the “Protect Document” button and select “Encrypt with Password” again. Enter a blank password and click “OK.” Office will remove the password from the document.

How to Create a Password Protected PDF File

You can also export an Office document to a PDF file and password protect that PDF file. The PDF document will be encrypted with the password you provide. This works in Microsoft Word but not Excel, for some reason.

To do this, open the document in Microsoft Word, click the “File” menu button, and select “Export.” Click the “Create PDF/XPS” button to export the document as a PDF file.

Click the “Options” button at the bottom of the save dialog window that appears. At the bottom of the options window, enable the “Encrypt the document with a password” option and click “OK.”

Enter the password you want to encrypt the PDF file with and then click “OK.”

When you’re done, enter a name for the PDF file and click the “Publish” button. Office will export the document to a password-protected PDF file.

Warning: You won’t be able to view the PDF file if you forget the password. Be sure to keep track of it or you’ll lose access to your PDF file.

You’ll have to enter the PDF file’s password when you open it. For example, if you open the PDF file in Microsoft Edge–Windows 10’s default PDF viewer–you’ll be asked to enter the password before you can view it. This also works in other PDF readers.

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