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How to password protect Microsoft Office documents

Although you probably already use a password to protect your Windows 10 account and files from unauthorized access, there are plenty of reasons you may also want to set a password to protect Word, Excel, or PowerPoint documents. For example, you might have to share a document with sensitive information and want to make sure that only one person has access to it. Maybe you usually save documents to OneDrive or another cloud storage service, and you want to add an extra layer of protection, in case the account gets compromised. Or perhaps you work in an environment where many people may have physical access to your computer, and you simply want to keep prying eyes out of certain data.

Whatever the reason, Office 365 as well as Office 2019, Office 2016, and older versions include settings to quickly encrypt a document using a password.

In this Windows 10 guide, we walk you through the steps to protect an Office document using a password. In addition, we' also outline the steps to remove the password protection as necessary.

How to set a password for an Office document

To add an encryption password to Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, use these steps:

  1. Open the Word (Excel or PowerPoint) document.
  2. Click on File.
  3. Click on Info.
  4. On the right side, click the Protect document menu.Note: In Excel, the option will appear as "Protect Workbook," and in PowerPoint, it'll be displayed as "Protect presentation."
  5. Select the Encrypt with Password option.

  1. Type a password to protect the document.

  1. Click the OK button.
  2. Retype the password.

  1. Click the OK button.

Once you complete these steps, every time you open the document, you'll be prompted to enter a password to decrypt its contents.

When setting up a password for an Excel, PowerPoint, or Word document, consider that without a password it'll be virtually impossible to open the document, so make sure to keep the password in a safe place.

How to remove a password from an Office document

To remove the password of an Office document (Word, Excel, or PowerPoint), use these steps:

  1. Open the Word (Excel or PowerPoint) document.
  2. Type the current password to access the file.

  1. Click the OK button.
  2. Click on File.
  3. Click on Info.
  4. On the right side, click the Protect document menu.
  5. Select the Encrypt with Password option.

  1. Clear the current password.

  1. Click the OK button.

After completing the steps, anyone without a password will be not able to open and edit the Office document.

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.

2 Comments
  • Password protecting a word/excel document is like keeping valuables in a portable safe.
  • Click the OK button. After completing the steps, anyone without a password will be not able to open and edit the Office document. Should read After completing the steps, anyone without a password will be able to open and edit the Office document.