Password-protect a Word 2010 document in Windows 7

Little known is the fact that all Microsoft Office programs include a password protection mechanism built right in, and Word 2010 is no exception: you cannot "password protect" access to the Word application itself (except by locking your PC), but you can add a password to any document you like. This will prevent access to its content to all but the most knowledgeable hacker - in other words, 99% people won't be able to see the text inside that document unless you give them the password to open it.

Add a password to confidential Word documents

Launch Microsoft Word, and open the document you want to password protect (or use a blank one).


Removing password protection from your Word document

If you decide to make this document available to all, click on the "File" menu and select "Protect Document > Encrypt with Password". When the dialog opens, erase the current password and click "OK". Before you start worrying, Word allowed you do that because you had to know the password to get to that point. Follow this same procedure to change the Word document's password: erase the old password, enter a new one, hit Enter, and confirm the new one.

Tutorial last updated on December 15, 2011
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