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Add Security to Your Important Documents in Office 2010

Sometimes you need to keep your important documents secure so only certain individuals can read and edit them. Here we take a look at how to restrict editing and encrypt your documents in Office 2010.

With the ability to share MS Office documents online via Web Apps, you might want to make sure and add extra security to them. Even if you’re sharing them through your companies network, it might be prudent to add security to documents that only certain department heads need to access.

In this example we’re using a Word document, but the process of encryption is the same in Excel and PowerPoint. However, enabling Restricted Editing is only available in Word & Excel.

Restrict Editing Access

If you’re document needs to be in a certain format and you don’t want people making incorrect edits, you can control the types of changes people can make. Open your document and click on the file tab to access Backstage View, click on Info, Protect Document, and select Restrict Editing.

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The Restrict Formatting and Editing menu will display on the right side of the document and here you can limit formatting and selection types.

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Click on the Settings link to really drill down exactly what can and can’t be edited in the document.

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Now you can select the users on your domain who can edit the document.

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After you’ve selected your editing restrictions click on Yes, Start Enforcing Protection.

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Now enter in an optional password for the editing enforcements.

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We set restrictions to the point where if a user wants to access the document online it’s essentially “read only”. If they try to edit it in their browser…

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They’ll be presented with the following message and need to open it in their local Word app.

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When the restricted document is opened, only the options you allowed will be available from the Ribbon…everything else will be grayed out.

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If a user tries to stop the editing protection, they’ll be prompted for the password you created when you started enforcing protection.

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Encrypt Your Documents

Now we’ll take a look at how to encrypt a Word document with a password. Click on the file tab to access Backstage View, click on Info, Protect Document, and select Encrypt with Password.

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Enter in a password to encrypt the document…

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Then confirm the password making sure they match then click OK.

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After the encryption password has been entered, you’ll see a Permissions message that a password is required to open the document.

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Now when you or someone else tries to open the document, the correct password will need to be entered to access it.

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Also, encrypted documents cannot be opened in Web Apps. They will need to be opened in a local version of Word and the correct password entered in.

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Conclusion

If you have important documents that you don’t want just anyone to be able to edit or access, combining both Editing Enforcement and Encryption are nice tools that will let you protect them. If you’re using Office 2007, check out our article on how to encrypt a Word 2007 document.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 07/14/10

Comments (1)

  1. jayanta dey

    It is really very useful information…thanx a lot…

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