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How to Password Protect a Word Document

How to Password Protect a Word Document

 

There are several options to lock a Word document, limit permissions, and password protect your content. Most of these processes will work for versions of Microsoft Word 2010 and forward for both Windows and Mac; Word Online does not support password protected documents. The screen shots below apply to Microsoft Word for Windows users, with alternate paths detailed for Mac users as well.
Clicking File in your Word document will take you to the Info screen. Here you have a toolset called Protect Document which provides the dropdown menu with three options for adding a variety of password protections to your document.

Option 1: Mark as Final

Selecting Mark as Final will inform anyone opening the document that it is complete—and also protect it to be “Read Only” and not allow any editing. It will also hide any remaining editing marks, tracked changes, or comments. A banner will appear across the top of the document to inform readers of the status.
This is the least secure option because it still allows readers to click Edit Anyway and change the document. It simply provides a way to openly share content while easily letting other participants know that the document is complete. 

Option 2: Encrypt with Password

The second option in the Protect Document list in is Encrypt with Password. Clicking on this option will open the Encrypt Document window, allowing you to create a password for the document.

Note: Word for Mac 2011 users will need to use the path Word > Preferences > Personal Settings > Security > Password to Open. Word for Mac 2016 and Office 365 for Mac users will follow Review > Protect Document to access the Security menu to set a password.

The password feature does not include a recovery option, so losing the password will make it impossible to open the document. You will have to enter your chosen password twice to confirm it, and it will be required to open the document from that point forward. When a user opens the document they will be prompted to enter the password. Entering the correct password will enable reading and editing, unless the author has used additional protections.

Option 3: Restrict Editing

Selecting Restrict Editing provides authors with options to limit options within the document.

Note: This option can also be accessed through the Review tab in the Protect toolbox (Protection for Mac users).

Note: Word for Mac 2011 users will need to use the path Word > Preferences > Personal Settings > Security > Password to Modify. Word for Mac 2016 and Office 365 users will use the path Review > Protect Document to open the Protection window and then select options to Protect document for.

The most useful option is the second, Editing Restrictions. Checking the box under that option provides the ability to limit user editing to be one of four choices:
  1. Tracked Changes makes changes possible, but with mandatory tracking. 
  2. Comments let users place comments in the document, but not edit text. 
  3. Filling in Forms (Forms for Mac users) allows users to fill in pre-formatted areas only. 
  4. No Changes (Read Only for Mac users) prohibits all editing and comments. 
  5. In order for any of these changes to take effect the author must elect to Start Enforcement by clicking the “Yes, Start Enforcing Protection” button in the Restrict Editing toolbar in the Windows menu. Mac users will select OK. This will prompt you to create a password, which may be the same as a password to open the document or different.
     

Increased Security

Finally, these tools can be used in combination. For example, you can require a password to open the document, mark it as final, and restrict editing to read only—in case a reader decides to choose Edit Anyway even when the document was marked as final.

Removing Extra Breaks in Word Documents

It isn't uncommon to want to change the formatting of your Microsoft Word document after you've created it. Changing a document's formatting in Word is usually fairly easy. You simply select the text you'd like to change. Then you apply the new formatting.
However, you can run into complications. For example, you may not have used the formatting options to specify the spacing between paragraphs or lines of text. Instead, you may have inserted extra returns. Do you have to scroll through your document, removing the extra returns manually?
The process would be tedious. Fortunately, you don't have to delete the page there is an alternative. You can use Word's Find and Replace feature to remove the extra breaks.

Removing Extra Breaks

  1. Press Ctrl + H to open the Find and Replace dialog box. 
  2. In the first box, enter ^p^p (the "p" must be lower case). 
  3. In the second box, enter ^p. 
  4. Click Replace All.
Note: This will replace two paragraph breaks with one. You can specify other options, depending on the number of paragraph breaks you'd like between paragraphs. You can also replace a paragraph break with another character if you choose.

If you copied the text from the internet, this might not work for you. That's because there are different types of breaks in HTML files. Not to worry, there is a solution:
  1. Press Ctrl + H to open the Find and Replace dialog box. 
  2. In the first box, enter ^l (the "l" must be lower case). 
  3. In the second box, enter ^p. 
  4. Click Replace All.
     

Remove Extra Space Between Paragraphs in Word 2007

Word 2007 offers many improvements over previous versions of Word. But, the program still has its annoyances.
For example, Word 2007 will add a space between paragraphs by default. This space cannot be removed by using the backspace key. And, it can be difficult to find the option to remove the space.
If you don’t want Word to add the extra space, you can turn it off. However, you will need to turn it every time you open a new document unless you alter the Normal.dot template.
To turn off the space between paragraphs, follow these steps:
  1. On the Home ribbon, find the Paragraph section. 
  2. In the bottom right corner of the section, click the button to show the Paragraph dialog box. 
  3. Select “Don’t add space between paragraphs of the same style.” 
  4. Click OK. 
  5. You can remove the space between paragraphs you’ve already typed in your document. Simply select the paragraphs and then follow the above steps.
    How to Password Protect a Word Document

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