This guide will cover how to password protect a Google Doc in detailed and easy-to-follow steps. But, if you have some experience with the program already, you might as well just skip to using an add-on that allows encryption. You just install your add-on of choice through the extensions menu.
If that sounds a little difficult, you can follow along with the guide instead. Read on to learn more.
Can You Password Protect a Google Doc?
First things first: can you add a password to a Google Doc? Currently, Google Docs does not allow you to add a password to Google Docs natively. However, you can use certain extensions to lock text in Google Docs. This means that you have to use a password to view the text.
If you wish to lock the entire file, you can download it onto your computer and protect it with a password. Once you password protect a Google Drive document, you can upload it. This will essentially add two layers of security where the first layer is your Google account while the second layer is the password you add.
Why Password Protect Google Docs?
There are several reasons why you may wish to secure Google Docs. Some of the reasons include the following:
- Sensitive Information: Some of your Google Docs documents may contain sensitive data, such as personal information or financial records, which you may want to protect even if your Google Account is compromised.
- Securing the Text: Using password protection can help you protect your document from unauthorized copying, editing, or sharing.
- Company Policies: Using Google Docs to keep your data can be unsafe as your password is the only gatekeeper between the data and unauthorized access. Some companies require you to protect certain docs using a password to comply with law or policy.
- Sharing With Others: Google Docs allows you to share the document with others. Using a password to protect the document only allows the users with the password to view and edit the locked data.
Related: How to Lock Cells in Google Sheets (or Lock Rows/Columns)
How to Encrypt Google Docs
Let’s take a look at the multiple ways in which you can password-protect a Google Document.
How to Password Protect Google Docs Using Addons
Google Docs has no built-in locking system that allows you to password-protect a Google Doc in 2023. However, Google has a feature that allows its users to add extensions that can add more functionality to Docs. You can use an extension to add this feature.
Here is how to download a Google Doc add-ons:
- Open a document in Docs. You can use an existing document or create a new one.
- Click on Extensions in the main top bar on the main document screen. This will show a dropdown menu.
- Here, click Addons in the menu and click Get addons.
- This will open the Google Workspace Marketplace window in the middle of the screen. Here, you can search for an addon you wish to install. For our example, we will use the DocSecrets extension to password protect a Google Doc. Simply type in the extension’s name in the search bar.
- Click on the extension’s name to go to the page.
- On the extension’s page, click on the blue Install button.
- A small window will open, asking for permission to install. Click the Continue button and sign into your Google account. The extension will install instantly.
Refresh the document to activate the addon. Here is how to lock a Google Doc using addons:
- Open the document you wish to encrypt the text in.
- In the main document screen, click on Extensions and then click on DocSecrets. In the small menu, click on Open.
- A sidebar will open towards the right side of the screen. Make sure your text cursor is in the position where you wish to enter the text. Now, click on the small textbox under Passphrase to enter the password for the text you want to hide.
- After entering the password, click on the blue Start button.
- Enter the text in the textbox under Insert or reveal and click the blue Insert button.
Any text added will show up in the sidebar. Hover over the desired text and click the Reveal button to reveal the text.
How to Protect a Google Doc Using Microsoft Office
Another way you can password-protect a Google Doc is by adding a password using Microsoft Office. We use the Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2021 edition in this example.
Before we encrypt the file in Microsoft Office, we need to download the file from Google Docs. To do this, open the document on Google Docs and click on File in the top bar. This will open a dropdown menu. Here, click on Download and then on Microsoft Word (.docx). This will download the file onto your computer.
Here is how to protect a Google Docs document in Microsoft Word:
- Open Microsoft Word on your desktop.
- In the main screen, click on Open and then on Browse. You can then locate the file using the file explorer in Windows. Double-click on the file, and it will open in Word.
- The file will open in Protected View by default. Click the Enable Editing button in the top ribbon to turn it off. Now you can make changes to the document.
- After making any changes, click on File in the main bar to open a new window.
- Here, click the Info button on the sidebar and click on the Protect Document button.
- You will be able to select the method using which you can protect the document in a dropdown menu. In this case, we selected the Encrypt with Password option.
- A small window will open, prompting you to enter the password. Once you enter the password, click the blue OK button. You will be prompted to enter the password again for confirmation.
Once you add the password, the file will be encrypted and locked. Then you just have to delete the original document from your Google Drive.
How to Password Protect Document Online
Another way to protect a document using a password is to convert it into a PDF and lock it. This is a better option if you don’t wish to make any further changes but wish to lock it.
First, we must download the document in PDF format to do this. Open the document on Google Docs and click on File in the top bar. There, click on Download and then on PDF Document (.PDF). This will download the file onto your computer.
You can Password protect a PDF using a free online tool offered by Adobe. On the website, click the Select a file button and upload the file. You can enter the password in the text boxes below with the file uploaded. After you add the password, click on the Set password button. After a few moments, the file will be ready to be downloaded. Click on the Download button to save the file on your computer.
Similar to locking your Google Docs, you can also lock Google Sheets. Learn how to do this by following our guide on how to password-protect Google sheets.
Tips for Google Doc Encryption
You should remember a few things when protecting your Google Docs using a password. Some of these are:
- Make sure to create a difficult password. Use a long password with at least eight or more characters, and make sure to use a complex combination of numbers, symbols, and letters to prevent the possibility of the password being guessed.
- Avoid relating the password with personal information. This includes names, phone numbers, or dates of birth, as they can easily be guessed or obtained through social engineering.
- Don’t use the same password as the Google account. If you use the same password as your Google account, the document will surely be compromised in case your Google account gets hacked, as all Google services are linked to your main Google account.
- Share the password with trusted people. When you password-protect the document, people with access to the document will require a password to be accessed, so make sure to share the password and the document to provide access. To ensure the document is safe, don’t send the document and the password in the same message. Instead, you can email the document and send the password through text message to ensure the document’s safety.
Related: How to Hide Columns in Google Sheets, Rows Too! (Easy Guide)
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Make a Google Doc Private?
You can make your Google Document private by changing the sharing settings. To do this, open the document and click the blue Share button towards the top right part of the window. Here, you can see the number of people accessing the document.
How Do I Know if My Google Doc Is Private?
In your document, click on the blue Share button. A window will open where you can see the people who can access the document. If you don’t wish to share the document with anyone else, then ensure only your name is on the list. Also, make sure that General access is set to Restricted.
Unfortunately, there is no native way to password protect a Google Doc. But there are a few workarounds, as we mentioned above. We’d recommend using an extension as it doesn’t require you to download the file, whereas the other options do. If you do opt to use one of the other ways, make sure you delete the original document from your Google Drive so it cannot be compromised.
If you found this article useful, you may want to check out our favorite G Suite courses so you can become a power user for the entire Google Suite.