How to Make a Password Protected File

By Techwalla Computers Editor

Making files private and giving them a password is an easy thing to do. There are a couple of ways to do this depending on which operating system you use. There are also programs you can download to make this even easier.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Windows Vista
  • Windows XP
  • Mac
  • Microsoft Word
  • Download of encryption software

Step 1

Click "Start" and then select "Computer" in Windows Vista. From there find the file you want to password protect or encrypt and right click on it to open "Properties." On the "General" tab choose the "Advanced" button and pick "Encrypt Contents to Secure Data Option," and then select "OK."

Step 2

Select "Start," and then click on "All Programs" in Windows XP, and from there click "Accessories" and "Windows Explorer." Find the file you have chosen to encrypt and select "Properties," and then from the "General" tab, choose "Advanced" to find "Compress of Encrypt Attributes." From there choose, "Encrypt Contents to Secure Data," click on the box to put a check in it and then select "OK." If the file is in an unencrypted folder then a warning box will appear, because the program wants to know whether you are encrypting just the file or the whole folder. Choose the option you want and click "OK."

Step 3

Choose the Apple Menu in Mac and then "System Preferences," and then "Security." Select "Set Master Password," and enter a password and verify it in the "Verify" box, and then click "OK." Select "Turn on FileVault" and read the message about deleting your files. If you want to prevent anyone from reading deleted files then click "Use Secure Erase," and then click "Turn on FileVault" again or click "Cancel" to finish.

Step 4

Open Microsoft Word and then click on "Tools" and then the "Options" button which opens up a dialog box. From there click "Security," and then select "File Encryption Options" for this document. You can either select a "Password to Open" your file or "Password to Modify" your file here. For newer versions of Microsoft Word click the "Home" button and from the dialog box there, select the "Prepare" button and then "Encrypt Document" to set your password to protect all of your Microsoft Word documents.

Step 5

Click on "File" and then "Save As" in Excel to password protect your files. From there select "Tools," and then click on "General Options." Choose "Password to Open" or if you want a higher level of encryption for your file can select, "Advanced." There is also the option to select "Password to Modify" just like there was in Step One.

Step 6

Download a program that password protects files or folders on your computer. Most of these programs are easy for beginners to learn to use and some even have the option of protecting your files or folders when your computer is in "Safe Mode."

Tips & Warnings

  • Use "Password to Modify" in Microsoft Word and Excel, if you want to allow some to view your file and change it, but still restrict it from those whom you don't.

References & Resources