Securing your Excel and Word files with passwords

Securing your Excel and Word files with passwords

If you deal with sensitive information or Protected Health Information, you need to be very cautious with your data. Microsoft Office has a solution for those dealing with sensitive data. If you have an Excel file, PowerPoint presentation, or Word Document with sensitive information, you should encrypt the file with a secure password. I’ve already blogged about Creating Secure Passwords. This post deals with how to secure your Microsoft Office files with passwords that have sensitive information.

Sensitive information would include:

  • home addresses of employees
  • images of employees
  • social security numbers (SSN)
  • date of birth
  • vehicle information
  • full names
  • hourly pay
  • cell phone numbers

The list above is just a short list of sensitive information.

Fictitious names password

Steps to Encrypt a Microsoft Office Excel workbook with a password

  1. In an open worksheet, click File > Info > Protect Workbook.
  2. Click Encrypt with Password
  3. Type the password and press ENTER
  4. Type the password a second time and press ENTER. The two passwords must match.
  5. Close the file and re-open to test.

Other Microsoft Programs

The steps above apply to Excel 2016, Word 2016, PowerPoint 2016, Excel 2013, Word 2013, PowerPoint 2013, Excel 2010, Word 2010, and PowerPoint 2010. Microsoft Access 2010, 2013, and 2016 is the same steps but you need to open the database exclusively first. In the video below I open an Access database in exclusive mode at 00:59.

Chris Menard tip

When I encrypt a file with a password, I usually save the file in a folder or drive that only I can access or only people that should access to that file. Ideally, don’t put your encrypted files in a drive or folder that everyone can access.

Video of protecting Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and Access files

Chris Menard

Chris is a Microsoft Office Master. He trains corporate clients in Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, Word, and Outlook. Menard is a speaker for the Georgia Society of CPAs and a senior lecturer at the University of Georgia Terry College of Business. Menard's YouTube channel has over 600 technology videos. Chris works full-time as a Training Specialist for a global law firm. His office is in midtown, Atlanta.