There may be circumstances in which you need to share or email confidential files to recipients at UEA or external to UEA. OneDrive provides a quick and secure option for sharing files. Our OneDrive page gives a good introduction to sharing files securely via Office 365.

Files can also be encrypted. Microsoft Office enables you to use password encryption. This is standard functionality; no additional data encryption software is needed. The security of a password protected file depends on the strength of the encryption algorithm and the strength of the password. Office 365 by default uses Advanced Encyption Standard (AES)-256.

Please be aware that if the password has been lost or forgotten encrypted files can not be unlocked. IT Services are not able to unlock encrypted files.


Encrypt Individual Files

Encrypt Folders


Encrypt Individual Files

1. After opening the document you want to encrypt, click File in the top left-hand corner of the screen and select Info.


2. Select Protect Workbook and from the dropdown list select Encrypt with Password.


3. In the password popup type the password that you would like to encrypt the document with, and click OK. A new message box will appear and you will be asked to re-type the password.

Note: Passwords are case-sensitive.


Store your password in a safe place, such as a password manager; as the dialog box warns, if your password is lost, it cannot be recovered.

If you decide to change the password to something else, you can repeat the process at any time. The next time you or anyone else attempts to open the file, you will be prompted to enter the password to view the file.


4. To remove the encryption repeat steps 1 and 2. In the password popup delete the password from the password field and click OK.


Tips for creating strong passwords 

  • The password should include uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers and symbols 
  • Do not use a single word or combination of two words for your password, as these are susceptible to dictionary-based attacks 
  • Do not use your name, date of birth, name of your pet or anything which someone could easily guess or find out about you 
  • Do not use your UEA password


Encrypt Folders

1. Go into your file explorer and browse to the folder containing the files you wish to be encrypted.


2. Select all of the files you wish to encrypt, right click on them and select 7-Zip then Add to Archive...


3. An option box will appear. In the encryption section (bottom right-hand corner) enter a password.

Store your password in a safe place, such as a password manager; if your password is lost, it cannot be recovered.

Ensure the encryption method is AES-256 and that you click the option Encrypt file names.

A Zip file will now be created which can only be accessed with the use of the password you set.


4. To open the 7-Zip file right click on the file and select 7-Zip then Open archive...


5. You will then be prompted to input the password set when encrypting the folder.




Encrypt PDFs

1. Open the document, click the File menu button, and select Export. Click the Create PDF/XPS button to export the document as a PDF file.


2. Click the Options button at the bottom of the save dialog window that appears. At the bottom of the options window, enable the Encrypt the document with a password option and click OK.


3. Enter the password you want to encrypt the PDF file with and then click OK.

When you’re done, enter a name for the PDF file and click the Publish button. Office will export the document to a password-protected PDF file.

Warning: You won’t be able to view the PDF file if you forget the password. Be sure to keep track of it or you’ll lose access to your PDF file.


4. You’ll have to enter the PDF file’s password when you open it. For example, if you open the PDF file in Microsoft Edge–Windows 10’s default PDF viewer–you’ll be asked to enter the password before you can view it. This also works in other PDF readers.