Microsoft Word is easily the most popular word processing program on the market today. Of course, with that popularity comes some security concerns, as well. Luckily, Microsoft has gone out of their way to include features that address those specific concerns. And if you’re lucky enough to be using the latest version of Word, you’ll notice that those security measures are all the more enhanced than in previous incarnations.
Here’s a look at two quick and simple tricks for keeping your documents protected with Word 2013:
Add a Password
One of the most obvious ways to protect anything online is with the addition of a personalized password. Word users have been able to password protect individual documents since the 2007 version, but Word 2013 seems to have streamlined the process somewhat.
Before adding a password to any Word files, keep in mind that as of right now, Microsoft offers absolutely no way to recover your password or any password-protected document should you lose or forget your code. If you’re the forgetful type, you might want to jot that information down someplace safe.
To add a password to any document on Word, start by clicking on the File tab. From there, click on Info and then the button labeled Protect Document. (It will be in the drop down menu that appears once you click on Info.)
From there, you will see the option to encrypt your document with a password. Following the prompts, you will be able to enter a password, similar to the way you do when choosing a password for a website or email address. From now on, you’ll need to enter this key every time you open the document.
Create a Read-Only Document
The 2013 version of Word comes with a read-only security feature. This allows you to create a version of your document that mimics the PDF format in that it can’t be changed or edited by anyone that happens to get it in front of them. Marking a file as “Final” in this way ensures that no one will be able to alter a document that you created, and might be a better alternative for some users that want to share their work, but don’t want anyone to be able to copy or change it.
Once you’ve created a document, you can turn it into a read-only file by clicking on the File tab and then heading back to the Protect Document drop down menu under the Info button again. This time, instead of following the encryption prompts, you need to select the Mark as Final button instead.
Once you confirm that you want to make this particular version of your document the final copy, you can click on OK to save the read-only version you’ve just created. You’ll then see a dialog box that outlines what a final version is, and informing you that no changes can be made to the document.
Of course, because you’re the author of the file, you are the only person that can still make alterations to it. Whenever you go to change something on the document, you’ll get an alert that reminds you that it’s been set as a final edition. By clicking on the option that says Edit Anyway, your new changes will be saved. If you want people to see these new changes, you’ll have to re-send them a copy of the updated document, because they will not have access to edit the file themselves.