How to password protect each file

You never know when one of your files could reach someone, it was not meant to be reached – perhaps by forwarded email, a USB flash drive left on the desk, or perhaps even an unauthorized user who has access to your computer.

If this happens, password protection is everything that stands between your data and the people you don’t want to see. This is an extra layer of security that you can add to your most sensitive files without much trouble.

How you do this will depend on the software you use to create the file in the first place. Some applications have built-in password protection features, while in other cases you will need to lock your files differently.

Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint

Add a password to a Word document.

Microsoft Word through David Nild

In Word, Excel, or PowerPoint for Windows, open the file you want to password protect, and then select File and Information. You should see the Security option at the top of the following list: Click this button, select Password encryptionand enter your password.

Passwords can be up to 15 characters long and are case sensitive, so double check what you type. If you forget the password for a document, spreadsheet or presentation, you will not be able to return to them – you will have to start from scratch.

If you use Office on macOS, the process is a little different: Open Review tab in the menu bar at the top, then click Protect password entry button. (The button will be labeled a little differently depending on which program you’re in.)

Google Docs, Spreadsheets and Presentations

Share a document on Google Docs.

Google Docs via David Nild

Google Drive doesn’t have a password protection feature as such, as your files are already password protected: the password associated with your Google Account, which you use to sign in and view your documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.

If you choose to share a Google Docs, Spreadsheets or Presentations file, use the large one Title button in the upper right corner when working on something – you can either invite specific users to see it (via their email addresses) or generate a link that anyone can use.

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