How to Password Protect Word in Windows and Mac?

In our earlier article, we have explained how to password protect Excel workbook and cells. Similar to Excel, Word also has few options to password protect the document. In this article, we will explore how to protect your documents using passwords.

Different Ways of Protecting Document

Microsoft allows you to restrict the Word document with the following options:

  • Completely protect the document with a password. You need a password to view the content.
  • Restrict editing by other users.
  • Make the document read-only.
  • Grant permissions to different users.
  • Add digital signature.

Let us explain these options.

Password Protect Word Document in Windows 10

If you want to prevent any user to open your document, you can setup a password for it. This protects your document from unauthorized access.

  • First, open the document that you want to set password.
  • Go to the backstage view using the menu “File > Info”.
  • Click on the “Protect Document” button.
  • Select the option “Encrypt with Password”.
Encrypt with Password in Word
Encrypt with Password in Word
  • Enter a password in the input box. Confirm the password with “OK”.
Type Password
Type Password
  • In order to reduce the risk of mistyping, Word will ask you to enter the password for a second time. Type the password correctly and confirm again with “OK”.
  • Now you can see the color of the “Protect Document” section is change to light yellow. It will also indicate that you need a password to open the document.
Password Protected Word Document
Password Protected Word Document

Whenever you or any other user open the document, Word will prompt you to enter the password like below.

Enter Password to Open Word
Enter Password to Open Word

Related: How to password protect folders in Windows 10?

Mark as Final

Passwords are case sensitive and there is no way to recover the password if you forget. Therefore, we strongly recommend using “Mark as Final” option without any password. This option will allow you to mark the document as final version and prevent users from editing the content.

Final Document
Final Document

Word will show a notification on the top status bar indicating the document is marked as final. However, user can still click on the “Edit Anyway” button to edit the document.

Marked as Final Warning
Marked as Final Warning

Restrict Editing

The “Restrict Editing” option is useful when multiple authors are needed to update the same document. This will open the “Restrict Editing” pane on the document and allow you to setup formatting and editing restrictions. You can also restrict editing from the “Review” menu under “Protect” group.

Restrict Editing in Word
Restrict Editing in Word

Formatting Restrictions

Select the “Limit formatting to a selection of style:” checkbox and click on the “Settings…” link. It will open the “Formatting Restrictions” dialog box.

Limiting Formatting Styles
Limiting Formatting Styles

You can limit different styles by selecting the corresponding checkboxes including theme, Quick Style and Scheme switching. There is also an option for “Recommended Minimum” to limit the recommended options by Word.

Related: How to password protect Google Chrome?

Editing Restrictions

You can enable the following editing restrictions from the dropdown after selecting the checkbox.

  • Tracked changes
  • Comments
  • Filling in forms
  • No changes (Read only)

Choose the required option suitable for your document.

Exceptions and Enforcement

After setting up formatting and editing restrictions, you can select the content from the document and provide exception for editing to the available groups or users. This is suitable when multiple authors are working on a same document with different sections. Finally, click on the “Yes, Start Enforcing Protection” button to apply the restrictions.

Password for Edit Restriction
Password for Edit Restriction

Enter the password to enforce the protection. You can use “User authentication” if you have Information Rights Management installed with your Office package. It will allow the authenticated users to remove the protection and edit the content.

When user opens the restricted document, Word will show a sidebar pane indicating the available permissions.

Content Edit Restriction
Content Edit Restriction

Restricting Access

In order to use this protection method also you need Information Rights Management. This will allow you to provide access to different users to view the document without editing permissions.

Digital Signature

When you have a digital signature, you can use this option to insert on your document invisibly. When you insert the digital signature, Word will automatically mark the document as final. Any modification will delete the signature and you need to insert again. You can use the signature for approval purposes rather than protection of document.

Removing Password Protection

At any point of time, if you do not need password protect document, you can easily remove the password. However, the person who has setup the password can only do this.

  • Open the document and enter the password to view the content.
  • Go to “File > Info” menu and click on the “Protect Document” button.
  • Select the option “Encrypt with Password” again.
  • Now you can enter another password or completely remove the existing one. For this, simply delete the characters in the input box.
  • Click the “OK” button.
  • Do not forget to save so that the change becomes active.

Password Protect Word Document in Mac

Word Office 365 in Mac also allows you to setup password with limited options. Open your document and go to “Review > Protect” menu. Select, “Protect Document” option.

Protect Document Option in Word Mac
Protect Document Option in Word Mac

On the pop-up, you have the following options:

Password Protect Mac Word Document
Password Protect Mac Word Document
  • Security – type the password to protect the entire document.
  • Protection – protect document from tracked changes, comments, read only or forms. You can also optionally setup password for this protection.
  • Privacy – remove personal information from the document.

When you open the password protect document, Word will prompt you to enter the password like below:

Enter Password to Open
Enter Password to Open

Similar to Windows, there are no ways to retrieve your password protected documents on Mac Word if you forget the password.

Editorial Staff at WebNots are team members who love to build websites and share the learning with webmasters community. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Leave a Comment