Password protecting Microsoft Word and Excel documents

Microsoft ExcelThe following steps give users of Microsoft Word and Excel instructions on password protecting their documents. One should be note that it's generally a good idea to create a backup copy of your file without a password in the event that you forget it. Should you choose to do so, it is best not to store the unprotected file locally, but rather on a USB stick.

Word & Excel 2010 and later

  1. Open Microsoft Word or Excel and the document or spreadsheet you want to put a password on.
  2. Click on the File tab.
  3. Click the Info option.
  4. Click the Protect Document option.
  5. Click either the Encrypt with Password option to require a password to open the document or the Restrict Editing option to limit or block other users from making edits to the document.
  6. Type a password in the Password text field and click OK.
  7. Type a password again in the Reenter password text field and click OK.
  8. Save the file to save the new password.

Word & Excel 2007

  1. Open Microsoft Word or Excel and the document or spreadsheet you want to put a password on.
  2. In the top left-hand corner of the screen, Click the Microsoft Office Button.
  3. In the dropdown menu that appears, move your mouse cursor over Prepare and click Encrypt Document.
  4. Once you have selected a password, type it in the Password text field, then click OK.
  5. Type the password again in the Reenter Password text field and click OK.
  6. Save the file to save the new password.

Password to open - Entering a password for this option makes the file only readable by users who know the password.

Password to modify - Similar to read-only, this option allows the file to be viewed, but only users with the password may edit and save the file. Keep in mind, however, that a user could open the file then copy its contents to their own document.

Removing a password - To remove the password from a protected document, follow the steps in the previous section, but delete the characters entered in the Password fields.