Protecting a file with a password can provide an extra layer of security for sensitive business documents. Learn how to password-protect your files in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
This can come in handy if you want to, for example, email a report that contains your company’s sales figures or bring it along on a business trip.
Three Microsoft Office apps — Word, Excel, and PowerPoint — offer the ability to password-protect files. As Table 1 shows, this feature is available in nearly all supported versions.
Table 1: Microsoft Office Apps in Which You Can Password-Protect Files
|Word for Office 365*||Excel for Office 365*||PowerPoint for Office 365*|
|Word 2019*||Excel 2019*||PowerPoint 2019*|
|Word 2016*||Excel 2016*||PowerPoint 2016*|
|Word 2013**||Excel 2013**||PowerPoint 2013**|
|Word 2010**||Excel 2010**||PowerPoint 2010**|
| * Uses 256-bit AES encryption
** Uses 128-bit AES encryption
Before you protect a file, though, you should take the time to come up with a unique, strong password for it. Otherwise, it might be easy for someone to guess or crack it. And if you tend to forget credentials, you might want to keep a copy of the file’s password in a safe location. While not ideal, it beats not being able to open and use the file ever again. The apps do not have the ability to recover or reset a forgotten password.
How to Password Protect a File
Protecting files with a password is a straightforward process. Plus, the steps are easy to remember, as they are basically the same no matter whether your password-protecting a Word document, Excel workbook, or PowerPoint presentation.
To password protect a file, open it in the appropriate app and follow these steps:
When you later open the file, you will be prompted to enter the password you selected.
How to Remove Password Protection
You can remove a file’s password protection at any time. To do so, open the file in the appropriate app and follow these steps:
You will no longer have to enter the password to open the file.