Encrypting Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel files

To help keep your information secure, you can protect Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel files with a password or passphrase.

In Microsoft Office 2010:

  • Open your file in Word, PowerPoint or Excel as appropriate
  • Click the File menu and choose Info from the drop down menu
  • Click on Protect Presentation (or Protect Document or Protect Workbook) and choose Encrypt with Password from the drop down list
    Screen shot showing File > Info menu
  • Enter a password, or better still a passphrase, in the dialog box and click OK
  • Re-enter the same password or phrase in the new dialog box and click OK
  • Save your file as normal

When you next try to open the file, you'll be prompted for the password you set. Enter it and click OK to open your file.

For instructions in other versions of Office, search the Microsoft Office Support site


  1. Choose a memorable password or passphrase, but something that is not easily guessable.
  2. Stick to the same password/passphrase within your team so that if you have to open a file months after you have saved it encrypted you will still know ‘the key’ with which to open it.
  3. When you email the encrypted file to someone inform the recipient in person, by telephone or text what the password or passphrase is.  Do not send it by email!