Use password so that nobody reads documents and spreadsheets

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We normally use tools to encrypt PDF files that we want to send and that we do not want to be edited, modified or even read without our permission. But there are also other tools that allow us to put passwords to Word documents, Excel sheets or any Office file.

Add password

We can protect any document with password in Word or any other of the Office programs. Regardless of the program you use, the steps are the same, although it will vary if you do it from Windows, from Mac versions or from the web version of Microsoft Office that allows us to edit documents from the browser.

On windows

The steps if you have the Microsoft operating system are the following:

  • Open the Word document you want to protect
  • Go to the upper left corner and tap on “File”
  • In the menu, choose the section “Information
  • Once here, at the top, choose “Protect document”

When clicking on this option, in the arrow, we will see that some options open:

  • Always open as read-only
  • Encrypt with password
  • Restrict editing
  • Restrict access
  • Add a digital signature
  • Mark as final

to protect

The one that interests us is the second: Encrypt with password. Touch on this option and we will have to enter a password that you will have to remember whenever you want to open the document so it is recommended that you do not lose it under any circumstances.


In Excel the steps are exactly the same so we can follow these previous steps in any Program that we have Office installed on the computer.

  • We open the file in Excel.
  • Click on the File menu option.
  • Next we select the Information option.
  • Now we display the tab that appears next to the Protect book option.
  • We select the Encrypt with password option, which is the option that allows us to establish a key to open the file.
  • We enter the key.
  • We click OK.
  • We repeat the same password again.
  • We click on Accept.


On Mac

There are two options to protect a document with a password on Mac and it will depend on the computer you have and the year of it. But we explain both to you.

In current versions the steps are as follows:

  • Open the Review tab at the top of the screen
  • Choose the option “Protect document” with the document icon and padlock
  • Once we have touched here, a window will open

Mac protection

In the window we will see “Password protection”And a series of fields that we must fill in. At the top you will see “Security” and we have to choose a password. We can choose a key to open the document and a different key that allows us to modify the document. You will have to enter both passwords.

At the bottom, mark “To accept”. Although in this window we can also choose a series of options such as when to protect the document: for comments, to track changes, read-only, forms … And we can choose a password here so that no one can access without our permission.

If you have a Mac from 2011 or earlier, the steps are different but we can also configure a password in any Office document.

  • Let’s go to Word or whatever program
  • We click on “Preferences”
  • We go to the Personal Configuration section
  • We tap on the padlock icon that appears on the screen
  • We go to the box “Opening password”
  • We choose a password and confirm with “Accept”
  • We repeat the password we have chosen again
  • We mark again “Accept”
  • Confirm with “Save”

Online version

Office also has an online version of all or almost all of its programs and allows us to edit content, for example, or open .doc files without the need to install anything and directly from the browser. But we cannot encrypt documents from this version but we can create or edit them and then take them to the desktop.

If you want to protect documents of the online version on your computer so that another person with access does not enter, you can configure the protection options or password of the computer itself by creating different sessions or using specific tools.

Remove password

Yeah I know we don’t need to have the password, we can remove it. If you no longer need the document, just throw it in the recycle bin or not open it again. But you may not want to delete it or you will use it later. In that case, we can remove the password from the Office document to freely access it or send it to someone.

The steps are similar to the previous ones but with the opposite direction:

  • Open the corresponding document
  • Enter your password to access
  • Go to the top of the page
  • Open “File”
  • Go to the Information section
  • Open the section “To protect document
  • Choose the option “Encrypt with password”
  • Deactivate the password by clicking on the corresponding box
  • Confirm the process with “Accept”

Other security measures

We can also add other security measures or restrict editing in Word to control what other users can access when they have that document at hand. The same happens in Word as in any other program in the Office suite. We can choose what they will use or what they will be able to do and what not.

We simply have to go to:

  • File
  • We choose the section “Information
  • Let’s go back to “Protect document”
  • We choose the option “Editing restrictions”

Once we have touched here, several different options will appear on the right side of the document, through a column available in it.

  • Format restrictions
  • Editing restrictions
  • Start applying

protection activate

As its name indicates, format restriction allows us to choose how the changes should be made so that nothing modifies the original document. There is a selection of styles that must be maintained and that we can configure from this option. For its part, edit restriction allows us to choose if we want the people who use the document to be able to edit or simply to read. It gives us three options: revision marks, comments, filling in forms or “no changes”. We can choose what level of permission we give to that person to whom we are going to send it.

Once we have chosen these protection options or configurations, we have to confirm with the button that we will see on the right: “yes, apply the protection”.

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