Microsoft caters to security conscious users by including several options for protecting data. Most of these options, such as the full-drive encryption BitLocker utility or the individual Encrypting File System feature, are only available in the Professional or Enterprise editions of Windows 8. If you don’t have one of these versions, you’re not out of luck, because Microsoft also includes stout encryption in Word, Excel and PowerPoint in the Office 2010 and 2013 suites.
Encrypting a document, spreadsheet or presentation protects it behind your chosen password. If a user fails to enter this password, the document won’t open, and if someone attempts to use a different program, the data appears as a scrambled, undecipherable mess. Once you successfully enter the password, you can access and edit the document like you normally would. Just be sure you remember the password, because if you forget it, there’s no way to recover your data.
In this article, only Word 2013 screenshots are included. However, encryption works the same in Word, Excel and PowerPoint, so you can follow along regardless of which office product you use. In some cases, the dialogs offer additional options, but the encryption options remain the same.