This guide covers how to password protect your files in Microsoft Office.

Password protection

Password protection, or encrypting your files with a password, is a method of securing your documents to make sure that only you and those who have been provided the password are able to view or edit a document. When a password protected document or file is opened, you must enter in a password in order to view or edit the document.

Some important things to note when password protecting a file:

  • You will want to choose a secure password, using multiple characters and a mix of upper and lowercase letters and numbers.
  • You will want to choose a password you can remember. If you forget the password to the document, there is no way to recover the password or otherwise open the file. Information Technology will not be able to help you get into a file where the password does not work.
  • Password protection does not prevent a file from being moved, copied, renamed, or deleted, only from being viewed or edited.

Microsoft Office 2013 and 2016

Microsoft Office programs all have the ability to encrypt a file with a password for protection.


  1. To password protect your file, first open it, and then click the File tab and then click Info.
    1. In Microsoft Excel, click Protect Workbook and then choose Encrypt with Password
    2. In Microsoft Word, click Protect Document and then click Encrypt with Password.
    3. In Microsoft PowerPoint, click Protect Presentation and then choose Encrypt with Password.


2.  The Encrypt Document window appears. Enter your password, and then reenter it in the next screen. Again, it is important to remember that if you lose or forget the password, it cannot be recovered. Passwords are case-sensitive.
Encrypt document

3.  The info section will now show that a password is required to open the file.
Permissions

4.  When you try to open the password protected file, a password window will appear.

5.  To remove the password from a file, follow the same steps as above, and when prompted to enter the password in the Encrypt Document window, remove the password and click OK.