While most of us already have login passwords on our PC, at times it’s necessary to go one step further. As well as encrypting individual files, you can use Microsoft Office to password protect an Excel file Word Document, PDF, and more.

When you password protect documents with modern versions of Office, they’re typically encrypted. This means that anybody who tries to read them that doesn’t have your password will just see random strings of letters and numbers. This persists even if you send the document to another person.

Today we’re going to show you how to password protect Excel, Word, or PowerPoint, and then move on to PDF password protection. Let’s get started:

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How to Password Protect a Word Document, Excel File, or PowerPoint Presentation

Microsoft makes password protection in its Office apps extremely simple and quite uniform across versions. The instructions below should be similar on all modern versions of the productivity suite. Once you have your files ready, proceed with the steps below to password protect the documents.

  1. Click ‘File’


    You probably know where this is by now, but if not: it’s in the top left-corner, above the ribbon. In this case, we’ll be showing you how to password protect a Word document, but the process should be exactly the same in other Office apps.

  2. Encrypt your document with a password


    Click “Info” in the side panel, then press the “Protect Document” button and choose “Encrypt with Password”.

  3. Enter a secure password


    Make sure it’s something memorable or that you save it a password manager, otherwise you’ll risk permanently losing access to the document. Press “OK” when you’re done.

  4. Enter the password again


    Microsoft will ask you to type the password again, just to verify that you haven’t mistyped it. Press “OK” again when you’re done.

  5. Try to open your password protected Word document


    Verify that the password entry box below appears and enter your password to ensure you can access it when you need to.

How to Create a Password Protected PDF File with Microsoft Office

Now that you’ve encrypted your document, you may be wondering how to password protect a PDF file. The process to do so in Office is slightly different to a regular document.

  1. Click ‘File’


  2. Export a PDF


    Click “Export” in the sidebar, then “Create PDF/XPS Document”.

  3. Open Export options


    Before you save your file, look towards the bottom of the File Explorer window for an “Options…” button. Click it.

  4. Tick ‘Encrypt the document with a password’


    This feature should be in a square checkbox at the very bottom of the options window. Once you have it ticked, press “OK”.

  5. Enter your PDF password twice


    Make sure it’s secure – pet names, children’s names, dates of birth etc. are all inherently insecure. Once you’re happy, press “OK”.

  6. Try to open your password protected PDF


    If you see the text “Please enter a password”, you’ve successfully encrypted your PDF file. Type your password in the box just to verify that you know it, then press “OK”.

If you found this tutorial useful, you may also want to know how to encrypt your entire hard drive or remove password protection from a PDF. If you ran into any problems, let us know below.

 
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