How to Secure Microsoft Office Files

Protect your data with a password

Man on the Phone at His Office.

Kathrin Ziegler / The Image Bank / Getty Images

Microsoft Office has built-in encryption options to help you safeguard your important documents, spreadsheets, and emails. Here's how to set up passwords for Word and Excel.

This guide applies to Word for Office 365, Word for Office 365 for Mac, Word for the web, Word 2019, Word 2019 for Mac, Word 2016, Word 2016 for Mac, Word 2013, Word for Mac 2011, Word 2010.

How to Secure Microsoft Word Docs

For Microsoft Word documents, you can choose a higher level of security when saving a file.

  1. Go to File > Info > Protect Document > Encrypt with Password.

    Screenshot of Word 365 encryption options
  2. Type in a password, then type it again to confirm it.

    Passwords are case-sensitive and can be a maximum of 15 characters long.

    Screenshot of the Encrypt Document window in Word 365
  3. Save your file so the password takes effect.

How to Secure Excel Files

The steps necessary to protect an Excel file are very similar to those used for Word.

These instructions apply to Excel for Office 365, Excel for Office 365 for Mac, Excel 2019, Excel 2019 for Mac, Excel 2016, Excel 2013, Excel 2010, Excel 2007, and Excel 2016 for Mac.

  1. Go to File > Info > Protect Workbook > Encrypt with Password.

    Screenshot of the Encrypt with Password option in Excel
  2. Enter a password and select OK.

  3. Reenter the password to confirm it and press OK again.