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How to Password Protect and Encrypt Microsoft Office 2010 Documents

Encryption Features come built into all the Microsoft Office 2010 Suite of applications including Word 2010, Excel 2010, and Powerpoint 2010. This feature is a nice improvement over  since it is also password protected – but the new process for Office 2010 is consistent across the core Office suite (Word 2010, Excel 2010, PowerPoint 2010, etc.) I’ll demonstrate the process just once using Microsoft Word 2010.

Editor Update 7/25/2012 – I recently documented the same process here for Office 2013 users. Enjoy!

How To Password Protect A Word or Excel 2010 Document Using Built-in Office Encryption

 

Step 1 – Click the File tab, then Click Info.  On the menu to the right Click Protect Document and Click Encrypt with Password.

password protect an office 2010 document

 

Step 2 – The Encrypt Document dialog will appear, Type in a strong password and then Click OK to finish.

create a password for your office 2010 document

Please note – It’s critical to use a strong password or pass phrase step #2.  Yeah yeah… you don’t need to get crazy here with wild $ymb0ls and upper and lower case characters which you will forget in 10 minutes. However, using a simple dictionary word will allow anyone with a $100 password cracking app to gain access to your document.  Using a long passphrase, however (IE: my house is yellow) with 10 or more characters will significantly increase the encryption strength of the document. This method will decrease the likelihood that someone will be able to break the encryption and gain access to your document. I’ve written a detailed article on strong passwords and passphrases so be sure to check it out before you choose a password for step 2.

 

Select a password to protect your document!

the office 2010 document now requires a password to open

If you’re looking to password-protect your document for sharing purposes (Set a Password to Open or Password to Modify option), you will have to use the OLD Password Protection dialog used with previous versions of Office.  For that step-by-step, take a look at .

 

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91 Responses to How to Password Protect and Encrypt Microsoft Office 2010 Documents

  1. Amy November 26, 2009 at 11:03 am #

    I'm really liking office 2010 however so far I can't say I would pay for the upgrade yet.

    Thnx for the recent articles on 2010 tho. Would Luke to see more for outlook tho.

  2. Kym September 1, 2010 at 4:24 pm #

    Sorry, but the above password protection is not available on Outlook 10 without special keys, etc. Any other ideas?

    • MrGroove September 26, 2010 at 6:12 pm #

      Outlook 2010? Are you trying to encrypt emails before sending them?

      • krunal September 29, 2011 at 1:56 am #

        i have office2010 strat…. 1 que how to proctect my word fiels min ( password my word file)

        • LAURA KELLY STRAIT November 11, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

          insert resume i would like to do

          • Ann December 9, 2011 at 6:55 am #

            I recently got a new computer and it has office 10. I use win-zip to pw protect all attachments in my out going mail. I have installed the new win-zip but the pw protctions doesnt work. Ihave a 64 something or another and it only works with a 32. As you con tell I am not and IT person. Do you have another suggested for pw proctecting this data before sedning? It can be an word doc, exl doc of even a PDF doc.
            Thanks for your help.

  3. Robert September 29, 2010 at 1:00 pm #

    I’ve encrypted an Excel Workbook in Excel 2010 and wonder how to un-encrypt or un-protect it. My intent was to email a document and have it password protected like in Excel 2003. I don’t want the users to have to provide a password to open the document, just not be able to make changes to it.

    How do I get rid of the encrypted / protected status I already have? Providing the password just allows me to open the document…not get rid of the protection status.

    • Steve Krause June 20, 2012 at 11:09 am #

      There should be an option when you add the password to either password protect it to open or modify.

  4. Alok ranjan October 12, 2010 at 1:31 am #

    how to open the password protected word 2007 file in word 2010 software

    • MrGroove October 12, 2010 at 10:27 am #

      Should be pretty straight forward. Just open it and use the password. Do you have the password?

      • Nikunj April 11, 2013 at 3:41 am #

        What is the problem with this??? I look at my schools computer it has this encrypt password feature i learned it from my computers teacher i was studying it at home but my word doccument wont even have this feature can you please telll me if it doesnt have the protect doccument feature how else i can save the password i may ask?

  5. craig87 December 15, 2010 at 12:57 pm #

    I’ve found a soft called Winsesame it’s a encryption software wich work with all sorts of files (doc, xls, pdf, jpg, avi ..) and even folders. It seems to be ok with office documents. http://www.winsesame.com

    • MrGroove July 8, 2011 at 10:04 pm #

      Is there a reason you don’t want to use the built-in encryption with Office 2010?

      • Rick May 1, 2012 at 3:11 pm #

        Is there a way to password protect an entire folder rather than individual files?

        • Steve Krause May 1, 2012 at 10:27 pm #

          Hi Rick — There is however it all depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. Using Office 2010 you cannot however. It’s single file specific. What you can do however is use EFS encryption to encrypt both files and folders. Here’s an article I wrote that takes you through the step-by-step: http://gpo.st/1rg (yes, that’s a safe link).

          Just remember, the difference between DISK encryption like EFS and FILE encryption like Office 2010 is with Disk encryption, as soon as you copy the file off the disk and into Email for example, the file is no longer encrypted. With Office 2010 and 2007 however, when you put a password on the file the encryption will follow the file so no one can open it without the password. That being said, with EFS as explained in my article, it will encrypt ALL files if you choose.

          A last option would be to use something like 7ZIP or WinZip and compress an entire folder then put a password on the file. http://gpo.st/25g

          That’s another option that will let you encrypt a lot of data and email it or copy it to someone. Just give them the password and they can decrypt it.

          It really just depends what you want to do.

          • Reezna May 13, 2012 at 9:37 pm #

            Hi Steve,

            Can you help me, i have opened the new workbook and i want to save the file with the password. but when i click general option, the button password to open was grey (disable) the option for setting a password for modifying it is still there

            Then i’ve to try to click file >> info >> protect workbook but there is no option Encrypt document.

            Any ideas ?

  6. kim27 January 4, 2011 at 3:57 am #

    To decrypt, go back into the File tab > Info > Permissions and click on Encrypt with Password. Then delete the password that has been automatically filled in, click OK. That should remove the encryption. Thanks!

    • stevetaormina October 13, 2011 at 7:33 pm #

      Thanks, kim27. That worked for me. I wanted to lock the data and formulas from any changes, not require a password to open the dern thing. Didn’t know how to un-encrypt until reading your reply. Thanks again.

  7. Jess March 11, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

    i dont have that option on mine. it does say ‘protect document’
    so i cant password my file.

    • MrGroove July 8, 2011 at 10:06 pm #

      Hi Jess,

      Check to make sure your running the latest copy of Office 2010. I think I remember the BETA version had the options to “Protect” vs. the steps I showed in this tutorial.

  8. Alan August 28, 2011 at 11:36 am #

    Is there a way to lock a page so that I can fill in blanks and not affect the basic page?

    • MrGroove August 28, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

      I think your talking about Templates?

      Create a template / form and let others just fill in those areas of the form right?

  9. AC August 29, 2011 at 10:05 pm #

    have an wxcel 2007 password protected file. opened it once on my new macbook with office 2010. the same file when trying to open in ms excel 2007 at office says “the encryption type used is not avaible”. i never encrypted the file in 2010 jut using the same old 2007 password .. pl help

  10. Debra Cardosi August 30, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

    Thanks…I don’t think I’ve ever spend less time finding the answer to my question and executing the command. So very grateful for your help.

  11. Carol September 19, 2011 at 10:33 am #

    I have frequent problems with the encryption function in office 2010. I get a message at the point of saving changes that says that the current encryption is not available or something like that. Sometimes it works–in fact I’ve encrypted hundreds of docs but again today I have that message. Is it a version issue? Do I need to save my doc in word97-2003 or whatever that ancient thing is. What’s the problem?

  12. Kris September 24, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

    I just upgraded from MS Office 2007 to 2010, and now one of my password protected documents will not open in MS Word 2010. After I enter the password click OK, I get the following message: “Word cannot open this file. The encryption type used is not available, contact the author of the file. More encryption types are available using the High Encryption Pack”. I’ve tried everything I know to correct this, but still no go. Any ideas?

    • Kris October 29, 2011 at 5:31 am #

      Still hoping that you or someone else here can provide a possible solution. Looks like there are a few others that are experiencing this exact problem.

  13. Carol September 25, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

    I have the same problem. My solution–totally unsatisfactory to me–is to revert my files to 97-2003 versions and then encrypt. Works fine. But the process shown above does not work for me either.

    • Steve Krause June 20, 2012 at 10:36 am #

      @12dd1ec3263baaf7c3a7296af643fa2d:disqus be sure to save the document in Office 2010 format first. Then add the passwords.

  14. Stephen Hart September 27, 2011 at 2:45 pm #

    Thanks – couldn’t find it for looking! Slightly embarrassed that it was right in front of my nose the whole time!!

    Thanks for a clear article.

    Regards

    Stephen

    • Steve Krause June 20, 2012 at 10:36 am #

      You bet @085f97fdf7d5bb573b9649bd9054e778:disqus ! Welcome to groovyPost.

  15. Bill October 4, 2011 at 1:31 pm #

    Hi,
    I also all of a sudden out of the blue have “Word cannot open this file. The encryption type used is not available, contact the author of the file. More encryption types are available using the High Encryption Pack”. showing when I try to open a file I have opened dozens if not hundreds of times before with no problem.

    I haven’t been able to do anything with it in terms of reverting to 2003… as it says it is a 2003 word doc. Any ideas?

    • Milan October 25, 2011 at 1:25 am #

      I have the same problem: password protected document in Office 2007, cannot be open under Office 2010… 🙁

  16. DrScott November 2, 2011 at 1:36 pm #

    What file tab? I don’t have one, now what?

  17. Lisa Hochhauser November 6, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

    Do you have any suggestions for setting passwords on multiple files in a folder? I have a requirement to set passwords on 20 or 30 files containing review data and I am looking to avoid having to set the password on each individually.

  18. Dana November 21, 2011 at 8:14 am #

    I am wondering if i can password protect only a embedded excel workbook inside the word document. Many people can view the word doc, its not an issue. But only a select group should be able to view the excel doc, which could contain sensitive information.

    • Steve Krause June 20, 2012 at 11:08 am #

      Sure – You should encrypt the excel workbook first using the steps in this article then just embed it into the word document. Should not be a problem.

  19. Emmy November 27, 2011 at 6:48 pm #

    For some reason, after I put the encryption, then save the document, then reopen it, there’s no password box? does that mean it’s not encrypted? Because I rechecked the encryption and then it was gone….I’m confused

    • Benjamin February 16, 2012 at 7:00 am #

      @Emmy
      I had the same problem and realized that I was trying to put a password on an older microsoft word document format. Look at the top of your document window where the title of your document should be to see if it says [Compatibility Mode] anywhere. That will indicate that Word 2010 is dealing with an older word document version, thus it can’t encrypt it.
      Just create a new Word 2010 document and copy and paste everything from your old document to this new one. Then you should be able to put a password on it just like described here.

      • amit March 17, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

        i forgot my password for one of my Msword 2010 doc..is there is any solution to crack it or to recover the password…

        pls reply

        • Steve Krause August 1, 2012 at 9:25 am #

          There are several apps out there that can break password encryption on Office Documents IF (big if) you used a weak password.

          If you used a long and strong password with special characters, it will be very difficult to brute-force your way into the office document Amit.

  20. Hanna December 5, 2011 at 1:05 am #

    Hi,

    I have a new computer with office 2010. One of my very old files has an encrypted password. I know the password and I can open the document, but I’m working now on that story and I want to cancel the encryption. I can’t find anywhere instructions as how to cancel it…

    Hanna

    • Lisa December 5, 2011 at 2:48 am #

      Fastest Solution…. copy the text into a new document.

      Word 2010
      1 Open the document and enter its encryption password.

      2 Click “File” to view a menu.

      3 Click “Info” from the “File” menu list.

      4 Choose “Encrypt with password” from the “Permissions” section of the resulting “Info” menu. A dialog box appears.

      5 Highlight the placeholder text in the “Password” field and delete it. Leave the field blank.

      6 Select “OK” to finish removing the encryption.

    • Steve Krause August 1, 2012 at 9:24 am #

      Hi @1ecaf2dd8bc8efb94690bc1295d0b987:disqus — To remove the password, just follow the steps above and in Step 2, just delete the password and click OK with no password. That will remove the password from the document and you will be good to go.

  21. VJ December 13, 2011 at 8:53 am #

    Hi,

    Is there a way to just password protect an embedded word document which lies in a word document. I want to let people open the main word document, but restrict opening the embeded word doc by password which I will share with select people. Thanks for your help

    • Steve Krause June 20, 2012 at 10:34 am #

      You should be able to encrypt the word document first before you embed it yes. Should not be a problem to do that.

  22. Jennifer January 14, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

    What do I do if I forget my password to it? I encrypted a document that is really important but I forgot what I used as my password, what should I do?

    • Steve Krause June 20, 2012 at 11:05 am #

      The options are very limited @f11e7641083e87c8f5ce06b85dee185f:disqus There are a few sites that sell software to break into Microsoft Office documents but if you used a STRONG password, you probably won’t get in. If you used a simple password or dictionary word then the chances are good that you can get in. I’ve used lostpassword.com in the past. You could try them but it’s not cheap.

  23. Casie Viebrock February 29, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

    I have find out some great stuff here. Undoubtedly worth bookmarking for revisiting. I’m amazed just how much effort you put to deliver a great helpful site.

  24. a'marie March 1, 2012 at 11:13 am #

    i’m trying to encrypt a document but for some unknown reason i can’t seen to find my “picture tools”button.help please!!

  25. jqg March 16, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    I’m using excel 2010. I can see File/Info, then Protect Workbook, not Protect Document. the trouble is Encrypt with password is gray and I can’t set up a password. what should I do?

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