How to Encrypt a Word Document

If you have sensitive data in Microsoft Office documents it’s a good idea to password protect them to avoid unauthorized people from accessing and editing your files. While it’s a seems like a good idea to store your word documents in a secured network drive, they are still vulnerable to attacks. Also, backed up copies of your word documents can be at risk when your computer gets infected with viruses or when you loss your password and unable to access your computer.

When encrypting your word documents you need to be aware of the following situations that are likely to happen. For example, if you lose your password, you will not be able to recover your document. Thus, it’s a good idea to always store your password in a safe place. Secondly, it’s is recommended that you only open the document when you need to access it and close the document when you are done viewing or editing it. Finally, if you are working in a group on an encrypted document, make sure you share the password securely.

With the above tips, you can protect a document by using a password to help prevent unauthorized access by people, viruses, and attackers until opened using the correct password. In this article I will show you how to encrypt a Word file with a password so that it requires a password to open or edit it in both Windows PC and Mac.

Read: 10 best encryption software tools for Windows and Mac.

How to password protect and encrypt word files in Microsoft Office 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016

One of the best features of Microsoft Office is that it lets you encrypt your Office documents, allowing no one access to even view the file unless they have the password. Here are simple steps on how to password protect a Word document in Windows PC.

  1. Open your Word document that you want to secure.
  2. Click the File tab on the menu bar.
  3. Select the Info tab.
  4. Then click Protect Document.
  5. Select Encrypt with password.
  6. Type a password in the Encrypted document box, and click OK.
  7. Re-enter the password in the confirm password dialog, and click OK.
  8. Click Save to save your changes.

Now your Word document is encrypted with password. Anyone trying to open the document will be prompted to enter the right password. To decrypt your word document, follow these steps.

  1. Click the file tab on the menu bar.
  2. Select the info tab.
  3. Then click protect document.
  4. Clear the password in the password box.
  5. Then click OK.

Password protecting a word document in General options

If you feel the first method is not working for you, you should try the second option which also accomplishes the same purpose.

  1. Open the document you want to encrypt.
  2. Click the file tab on the menu bar.
  3. Click save as option.
  4. Click browser to select the location where you want to save your document.
  5. In the save as dialog, type a file name.
  6. Then, click the tools list.
  7. Select General options.
  8. In the general options dialog , type a password in the box next to password to open and click OK.
  9. To prevent people from changing the protection settings, type a password in the password to modify box.
  10. Type the password and click OK again to confirm.

How to encrypt word files using Microsoft word in Mac OS X

  1. Open the document you want to encrypt.
  2. From the word tab select preferences.
  3. From the word preferences dialogue box, click on the security icon under the personal settings options.
  4. From the security dialogue box, enter your desired password in the passphrase to open field.
  5. Once finished, click OK.
  6. Confirm your passphrase by re-entering it.
  7. Then, click OK.

How to password protect and encrypt word files in Microsoft Office 365

  1. Open the document you want to encrypt.
  2. Click the file tab.
  3. Click the info tab.
  4. Click protect document, and then click encrypt with password.
  5. In the encrypt document box, type a password, and then click OK.
  6. In the confirm password box, type the password again, and then click OK.

How to protect your documents from being opened or edited in new versions of Microsoft Office

  1. Open the document you would like to protect.
  2. Click review and then select protect document.
  3. Under security, select whether to enter a password to open the document, modify the document, or both.
  4. Enter each password again to confirm.
  5. Click OK.

With the new versions of Office you also have an option to protect your documents before sending them out for review. To do this, click on review tab, them select protect document option. Under protection, select protect document for any of the following options.

To Do this:
Keep Tracked Changes on. Click Tracked changes
Allow people to add comments. Click Comments
Prevent people from making changes. Click Read only
Restrict changes to forms, so people can fill out the form without accidentally changing the form itself. Click Forms

To prevent people from changing the protection settings, type a password in the password box. Finally. Click OK.

How to decrypt a word document if you forgot or don’t know its password

It can be extremely hard to recover the password if you forget or lose it. Unfortunately, Office does not have a feature to recover lost passwords. Thus, it can be a nightmare if you lose your password and as a result unable to access your important data. But there is still hope. With the help of a password recovery tool you can easily find the passphrase you used to lock a document.

One such tool is Word Password Refixer, a great tool that helps you recover the lost or unknown password for Word documents. It uses a brute force recovery method but can also use a dictionary attack if you have a dictionary file. Here are steps to recover your lost password.

  1. Install the word password refixer on your computer.
  2. After installation is complete, launch the application.
  3. Click on the open to import the file you want to recover password for.
  4. Select the attack types and configure the relevant settings.
  5. Click start button, and wait until the password is found and displayed.
  6. Use the password discovered to open the encrypted word document.

There you have it. With just simple steps you can easily protect your word documents in Windows and Mac. If you are stuck at any step let me know in the comments below.



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