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How To Password Protect MS Word or Excel Files

Password protect word and excel filesSecure Your Documents & Spreadsheets

I wouldn’t rely on a Word or Excel password to protect highly sensitive information but it certainly performs a sufficient job to thwart the majority of nosey folks trying to get a peak at your data.

I’m sure the Wikileaks folks wouldn’t have a problem cracking a Word or Excel password though, especially if it contained some juicy government secret!

In this article, I’ll give you the quick few steps it takes to enable password protection for all flavors of Word & Excel from 2002 up to 2010!

Word & Excel 2002 & 2003

  1. With your document open, click Tools menu > Options > Security tab
  2. Two options now –
    • Password to open
    • Password to modify
  3. Enter a password and repeat when prompted

Word & Excel 2007 & 2010

To prevent opening:

  1. With your document open, click the Microsoft Button > Publish > Encrypt Document
  2. Enter your password when prompted
  3. Repeat password when prompted

To prevent modifying (but allow opening):

  1. With your document open, click the Microsoft Button > Save As
  2. At the bottom of the Save As dialog box, click Tools > General Options
  3. Click File Sharing tab
  4. Enter Password to modify > click OK
  5. Repeat password when prompted


Wow, 4 Comments! We've got a conversation going now. Join the discussion below!

  1. KP says:

    Hello Ross,

    After protecting the file with the password, I have put this file in netwrok drive, and I am unable to get the same documnet open from a different system.

    Could you help me in that case.

    1. Rosco says:

      Hi KP,

      What’s the file type? (Excel, word, etc?)
      Operating system(s)?
      Any errors?
      Can you copy the file from the network drive to desktop and open it?
      Can you copy file to a thumb drive or email it and open on another PC?


  2. Samuel says:

    Windows 2007 premium

    I have a exel file that is password protected, however I would like to change the password. How do I do this so that before the file acutally opens I can enter in my new password? Thank you

  3. joem says:

    What up why i can type password on excel 2002?

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