How to password protect a Word document

Microsoft Word offers an often-overlooked feature that allows users to password protect sensitive documents. These documents are not only password protected, but encrypted, meaning even if someone else were to gain access it’s unlikely they could ever open the document. 

Encryption is a means of scrambling data so that only authorized parties can access the document. It converts plaintext – the letters and numbers you’re used to reading – into a ciphertext – a series of random letters, numbers, and characters unreadable without the encryption key. Once you input the password, MS Word automatically converts the document back to plaintext so you, or whomever you’re sending the document to, can read it.

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