Encrypt & Password Protect Documents

When sending and receiving documents with sensitive (SSNs or other personally identifiable information (PII)) outside of the Dartmouth email server, we encourage you (or whomever you are working with) to encrypt and password protect documents.

Once the document is encrypted, send document and password in separate emails. The first email should be provided to share the encrypted document and the second, separate email should be sent with the password to the encrypted document.

Encrypting an Adobe PDF Document

  1. Open the PDF and choose Tools > Protect > Encrypt > Encrypt with Password.
    • If you receive a prompt, click Yes to change the security.
  2. Select Require a Password to Open the Document, then type the password in the corresponding field. For each keystroke, the password strength meter evaluates your password and indicates the password strength.Create a password
  3. Select an Acrobat version from the Compatibility drop-down menu. Choose a version equal to or lower than the recipients’ version of Acrobat or Reader.
  4. The Compatibility option you choose determines the type of encryption used. It is important to choose a version compatible with the recipient's version of Acrobat or Reader. For example, Acrobat 7 cannot open a PDF encrypted for Acrobat X and later.
    • Acrobat 6.0 And Later (PDF 1.5) encrypts the document using 128-bit RC4.
    • Acrobat 7.0 And Later (PDF 1.6) encrypts the document using the AES encryption algorithm with a 128-bit key size.
    • Acrobat X And Later (PDF 1.7) encrypts the document using 256-bit AES. To apply 256-bit AES encryption to documents created in Acrobat 8 and 9, select Acrobat X And Later.
  5. Select Encrypt All Document ContentsChoose a version of Acrobat or Reader
  6. Click OK. At the prompt to confirm the password, retype the appropriate password in the box and click OK.

Please refer to Adobe Acrobat’s website for more details.

Encrypting a Microsoft Word Document

The procedure is standard for most Office applications, so for this example, we will use Microsoft Word 2016.

  1. First, open the Office document you would like to protect.
  2. Click the File menu, select the Info tab, and then select the Protect Document button.
  3. Click Encrypt with Password.Protect Document
  4. Enter your password then click OK.Create Password
  5. Enter the password again to confirm it and click OK.Verify your password
  6. Microsoft Word will now indicate the document is protected.

Encrypted with Password Each time you open the document, you will be prompted to enter your password to access its contents.
Please refer to Microsoft Office support website for more details.

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