Encrypting Microsoft Office Documents and PDFs 

 

When sharing files containing confidential information via email, those files must be encrypted. This is relatively easy to do in Microsoft office or adobe reader. 

Important: When sharing the password you've chosen with the intended recipient, it should never be done via email since that would allow someone who gained access to your email account to unencrypt the document. Use a different communication method such as phone, text, or some other secure messaging client. 

If you find that you need to do this frequently, please contact the Office of Information Security for alternative solutions. 

Here's how to encrypt documents based on your system: 

Windows - Office 2010 

  1. Click the File tab, then click Info. On the menu to the right, click on Protect Document, and choose Encrypt with Password. 
     

    Office 2010 img

  2. The Encryption dialog will now appear. Please enter a strong password and press OK. 

Windows - Office 2013/2016 

  1. Click the File tab, then click Info. On the menu to the right, click on Protect Document, and choose Encrypt with Password. 

    Office 2013/2016 img

  2. The Encryption dialog will now appear. Please enter a strong password and press OK. 

Office for Mac 2013/2016 

  1. Click the Review tab, then select Protect Document. 

    Office Mac img

  2. Enter a password to open the document, and optionally set a different password to modify the document. NOTE: If you only set a modify password, the document will NOT be encrypted. The document is only encrypted if you specify an open password. 

    Office Mac img 2

Adobe Reader (PDFs) 

  1. Open the PDF and choose Tools > Protect > Encrypt > Encrypt with Password. 

  2. If you receive a prompt, click Yes to change the security. 

  3. Select Require A Password to Open the Document, then type the password in the corresponding field. For each keystroke, the password strength meter evaluates your password and indicates the password strength. 
    Adobe img

  4. Select "Acrobat 7.0 and later" for compatibility, and "Encrypt all document contents". 
    Adobe img 2

  5. Click OK. At the prompt to confirm the password, retype the appropriate password in the box and click OK. 

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