How to encrypt your Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 files

So… you are sneaky.  You have some precious data you want to keep hidden.  Or your not so sneaky and just have some word documents that no one else should really see – for privacy or security or other reasons.  Well it might be a good idea to use the encryption built into Office 2007.

The encryption in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 basically turns your files into a mess that no one can read… unless they have the password.  In fact unless you get the password right, there is no chance you can even open the file.

Before I let you know how to do it, I will quickly let you know about how strong this encryption really is.  In Office 2007 they use something called AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) with a 128-bit key and SHA-1 hashing.  That probably sounds like a mouthful for most people, but let me put it into perspective.  This level of protection can be used to encrypt classified information up to the SECRET level in the US Government.  If it is that good, chances are your data will be safe (that is if you remember the password!)

To encrypt your document in Word 2007, Excel 2007, or PowerPoint 2007, it is really easy!

1) Click on the Office Orb
2) Go to the “Prepare” section
3) Click on “Encrypt Document”
4) Type in your secret password and click OK
5) Retype your secret password and click OK

I can not stress enough that you need to remember what that password is… because if you forget it, there is no chance you will ever open that document again – it is strong encryption!

’till next time!
TNP ;)

PS – if you want to read more about the level of encryption, check out this article on Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Encryption_Standard.  And if you really want to get into the nitty-gritty of Cryptography in Office 2007… visit David LeBlanc’s weblog, and in particular this article – http://blogs.msdn.com/david_leblanc/archive/2008/07/03/office-crypto-follies.aspx

10 thoughts on “How to encrypt your Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 files

  1. That’s the problem with it – you cannot re-save a file once encrypted as a normal non-encrypted file.

    Bummer!

  2. What in the world (being nice) is an office orb? I can’t use this because I can’t find the office orb. Any hints? It’s not under the MS Office tools.

  3. To remove encryption/password you just need to open the encrypted file, and remove the password, ie, leave the password field blank, that’s it.

  4. In office 2007, you go to the Windows Orbe drop down > Prepare > Encrypt Document > and delete the password > save file.

  5. If you have accessed the file as you know the password then to remove encryption;
    1) Click on the Office Orb
    2) Go to the “Prepare” section
    3) Click on “Encrypt Document”
    4) Delete the password and click OK
    Hope this is what you meant.

  6. what is meant by the orb is the button on the left hand corner of the quick access bar next to the home tab.

  7. Yes that is correct, the orb is the button on the left hand corner of the quick access bar next to the home tab.
    the one with the logo.

  8. Is there a way to tell whether or not the file is properly encrypted(other than having to enter password when opening)? I have encrypted and password protected a file but when I look at it in Windows Explorer (and added encryption status column) it doesn’t show it as being encrypted. Thanks

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