Secure your Word Documents with Microsoft Office 2013

In Word 2007, Microsoft added two new document-security features: digital-signing and encryption. With digital signing, you can add a signature field to any document. This loads the file for editing unless the digital signature is deleted. Although anyone can delete the signature to edit the file, signing the document provides your stamp of approval. You could think of digital signatures like a wax seal pressed with a signet ring on an envelope. Anyone could break the seal, open it then read the contents but they know that the sealing wax is marked with a particular signet ring that was pressed against it.

To add a digital signature, open or create a document, then click the Insert tab and select the Signature Line option on the far right. Click ok at the notice about certificates and fill in the name, title and email address for the signee, that’s you. You can also choose to add a date to the signature. Click ok. To sign the document, double-click the signature field. If the notice shows up again click ok to that and on the signature details window, type your name or click Select Image and select an image file of your real signature. Then click sign.

A digital signature protects a document from being edited and also authenticates it especially if you use an image of your real signature. But signed documents can still be opened, read, and redistributed. Because of this, Microsoft added AES (advanced encryption standard) on Word 2007 with a 128-bit key and SHA-1 hashing.

Note: If you sign a document digitally, Microsoft does not let you edit it even by adding a password; only unsigned documents can be password protected. A digitally signed document cannot be encrypted because editing it is prohibited but an encrypted file can still be digitally signed.

To encrypt a document, click the Office button on the upper left , then select Prepare > Encrypt Document. Type a password that is hard to guess. It is best to use a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols of at least eight characters for maximum protection. Click OK. Reenter the password. Now when anyone open the document they will have to type the password.

In Office 2013

  1. File
  2. Info
  3. Protect Document
  4. Encrypt with Password