Encrypting and password protecting Microsoft Word and Excel files is a simple matter. There are a couple of simple rules to remember, though.

  1. If you are emailing a password protected file, DO NOT send the password in the email along with the password protected file. Instead, have the recipient call you on the phone for it.
  2. DO NOT use a password you normally use – try to make up a new one each time. That way, everybody you email a file to won’t have your personal password(s).
  3. Finally, if you will be setting both an open and modify password, it is best to make them different. The point of setting a modify password is to keep people from changing the document/spreadsheet. If both protections are used, and both passwords are the same, when the password is entered to open the document, then it also becomes modifiable, thus defeating the purpose of setting a modify password.

The linked document explains how to easily encrypt your files – How to Password Protect Files with Encryption.