One of the first things a cybercriminal seeks after hacking a device is to look for sensitive information that they exploit. While there are several mechanisms to protect files, hackers often find ways to breach and access some system information.
How to password protect a word document is the question that most individuals and enterprises ask to safeguard data. Fortunately, password-protecting a Windows document is less daunting than it seems.
How to password protect a Word Document?
The 7 steps to password-protect Microsoft Word document offer three options where the author can limit the access of the document. Using these settings while assigning a strong password can clarify how the document is accessed by for others. They are:
- Open – Here, the other users with whom the password is shared, can only open the word document
- Modify – With this option being selected, others will be able to open and edit the word document.
- Read-only – Just like the name suggests, the person accessing the word document with this restriction will only be able to read the document and not edit or make any file changes.
Microsoft says that passwords to use for protecting documents should not be more than 15 characters. Following the 7 steps How to password protect a word document will not only protect it from hackers but also from any unauthorized access within the organization.
How to password protect a word document is simpler than one might think. To set one on Windows, a user can follow these steps while keeping the document open:
Table of Content How to password protect a word document
- Go to File
- Click on Info
- Opt for Protect Document
- Click on Encrypt with Password
- Type a strong password in the password field
- The final step requires typing the password again. This helps in making sure that the user is clear about what they have typed is the same in both and hence it is correct.
- Finally, save the file.
Setting a password for a word document on macOS – newer
Encrypting a Word document on mac is easier than other options. It would not require all the 7 steps How to password protect a word document. Different passwords can be set for different options.
The user that must only open the document can be given that particular password. These are the 4 steps to encrypt a document on a macOS.
- Go to the Review option
- Click on Protect Document
- In the following window under Security, enter the password against the options that would require entering the password to either open the document or modify it, or both. This way, the author can decide if someone should only open it when they have the password or if they should be able to modify it too.
- Finally, click on OK to save the settings.
What if you forget the password?
If this password is forgotten or lost, Microsoft will not be able to recover it for its users. However, IT admins have a way of not losing access to password-protected Office files in case they lose the password.
Before setting the password, they will have to deploy the DOCRecrypt tool. When a user tries to open an encrypted or password-protected document, a prompt asking for the password will reflect on the screen.
Without it, they will not be able to access it. This makes it safer from cybercriminals who spy on systems, gain remote access, steal, and leak data on the dark web, and so on.
It is worth noting that the 7 steps How to password protect a word document are not applicable when the document is opened on the web.
Users cannot set a password if it is opened on the web browser. It would require to be opened in word by clicking on the file and choosing the ‘Open in Word’ option for it to allow setting a password and opening it.
Sharing a protected document
After securing data using the 7 steps How to password protect a word document, it is necessary to know how to share it with those who need to access it.
Sending password-protected documents requires sending the password also. This could be done safely by relaying it to them in person, making a telephone call after making sure that the call recording options are turned off, or sending an SMS where both the sender and receiver delete the SMS after punching in the password.