How to password protect all your files

How to password protect all your files

Hopefully we don’t have to tell you how sensitive your online files are. After all, you never know when they might fall into the wrong hands. Just clicking on the wrong email, or a dodgy URL can leave your most important data exposed to hackers. Should that happen, a password is a handy tool.

A password is a useful extra layer of security that you can add to your most sensitive files without too much trouble. How you go about this depends primarily on the software you use to create and save a file.

Built-in security

Some programs actually have built-in password protection features, while others require you to perform a little more steps. We’ll explain how to add a password for each program.

hacker passwordsCyber security. (Image: Pexels)

Setting a password on Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint

In Word, Excel or PowerPoint, open the file you want to password protect and select ‘file’ and ‘info’. Then click ‘secure document’ and select ‘encrypt with password’.

If you’re using Office on macOS, the process is slightly different. Then open the ‘control’ tab at the top and click ‘secure’ to set a password. Note that the options may be labeled differently depending on which program you are using.

A password can be up to 15 characters long and is case sensitive. Therefore, carefully check and remember the password you type in. In fact, if you forget the password, you will not be able to get back into the document and you will have to start all over again.

Google Documents, Spreadsheets and Presentations

Google Drive does not have its own password protection feature. This is because all your files are naturally already protected by your Google account password. If you want to share files with others, you can invite specific users to view them or generate a link. You do this by pressing the share button on the top right. Here you will find both options listed.

We recommend the first option (invite individual users) for maximum security. This means that the users must first sign in with the password of their own Google account. Only then can they view the file.

Setting a password on Apple Pages, Numbers and Keynote

If you use the Apple Office applications, adding a password is tremendously easy. First, open the file in Pages, Numbers or Keynote and select ‘file’. Then choose ‘set password’.

We have the same warning for you as with Microsoft Office: if you can’t remember a password, you can’t get back into the document. So always remember well what letter and number combination you have chosen.

Secure other files

Of course, we can’t cover all the programs in this article, but if you poke around in the ones you use, you will undoubtedly come across the option. If not, you still have a few options.

Keeping files in cloud storage vaults (like Google Drive) is a good example. Sharing files on these services often requires a username and password to log in, so your files are kept safe that way.

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