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How to protect your Office documents against curious intruders

Password protection in Microsoft Office had a pretty bad reputation once upon a time. It was weak and easy to crack, but modern versions of Office use secure encryption that you can trust, provided you choose a strong password and save in the modern docx format.

So if you have documents that you don’t want anyone to be able to read, you can fix that pretty easily. It is even possible to use Office to encrypt PDF files that you save with the program.

We show how both Office documents and PDFs can be password protected in Word 2016. However, it works similarly in previous Office versions and in addition to Word also with Excel, Powerpoint and Access.

As always, remember to use difficult passwords. If you want to remove the password protection, redo the procedure and choose an empty password.

1. Choose

Create or open a document as usual in Word, Excel, Powerpoint or Access. With your document open, click File. click Protect documents and then on Encrypt with password.


2. Encrypt

Type a password in the Encrypt document window and click OK. You will be prompted to type the password again. Then it’s done and if you forget your password, you will never access the document again.


3. Pdf

If you would rather save as a pdf, click on File and then on Export. click Create PDF/XPS. When the standard Save dialog box opens, click Alternative.


4. Password protect

Tick ​​for Encrypt the document with a password and click on OK. Type your password twice and click OK. click Publish. Clear.

Password protect

About the guide

This is what you need:

  • Microsoft Office, 2007 or later

This is what you will learn:

  • Protecting your documents with encryption.

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