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Published On: April 26, 2021 by Blake Schwank

How to Password Protect Word Documents

Does your office workflow involve storing client-sensitive information on Microsoft Apps or other Office apps? You might opt to consider using passwords to protect your documents, especially when you keep such documents in public folders. It would be best to password-protect these files and share the password with people who need access to these documents in such cases.

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Microsoft Word Password Protection

When working on critical office documents, word encryption capabilities provide an added security layer to your work. Password-protecting your word documents ensures that unauthorized users can’t access your critical documents. You need the latest version of Microsoft Word to protect your word documents successfully. If you’re using Microsoft 365, then you do have the newest version of Word.

Word versions like Word 2010, 2013, and 2016 offer different options for securing your documents, including password protection, enforcing editing restrictions, read-only mode, and digital signatures.

Encrypt a document on Windows

When you open Word, click on the file button in the top corner to open the File menu. Under file, select Info, then hit password protect, and select encrypt. A drop-down menu will appear below the document’s name.

Selecting these items allows you to add a password to your document. Type the password into the “Password” text field in the window that pops up. You’ll need to re-enter the password for confirmation before clicking OK.

Once you close this document, no one will have access to it without keying in the correct password. However, you can delete the document without entering the password or opening it.

Remember that passwords are case-sensitive and need to be a maximum of 15 characters long. Create a strong password that is easy to remember.
Ensure that you read the fine print on the password pop-up. The fine print says that you won’t recover the document if you lose or forget the password. It is a good idea to keep a list of your passwords and document names in a secure place.

Once you complete this process, Microsoft Word indicates that the document is secure. Whenever you need to access the document, Word will require you to enter your password to access its contents.

Encrypt a document on Mac

When using a Mac device, the password-protection process may be slightly different. You’ll need to launch Microsoft Word on your device and open a new document. Hit review on the ribbon up top. This step prompts a toolbar to appear below the document’s name.  Select protect document under this toolbar for a pop-up window to appear.
Next, you’ll need to set your preferred password to secure the document, then click ‘OK.’ You’ll also need to re-enter the password to confirm. You could also choose to set a password to modify the document.

Removing the Password Protection

To remove the password, you’ll need to open the document and enter the correct password. Select the File menu and navigate to Info. Select the ‘Protect Document’ option before clicking on ‘Encrypt with Password.’ Delete the obscured password that is present on the window that pops up. Click ‘OK,’ then resave and close the document. The next time you open it, you won’t need a password to access its contents.

Password Reset for IT Admins

Are you concerned that end-users in your organization may lose access to password-protected Office documents? You can deploy the DocRecrypt tool. Ensure that you adopt this tool before affecting password protection on any of your Office documents. DocRecrypt won’t help recover files that were password protected before you deployed the tool.

Do you need further assistance boosting your company’s security efforts? Contact Colorado Computer Support to find help in securing business-critical information.

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