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How to Password Protect PowerPoint (Step-by-Step)

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In this post you'll learn how to password protect PowerPoint presentations using two different password options.

Just keep in mind that if you lock PowerPoint with a password and then you forget your password, you too will not be able to unlock it.

So if you go this route, make sure you remember your password.

An alternative method of protecting your PowerPoint files without adding a password is to convert your presentation into the PDF file format, see our guide here for details.

Two PowerPoint Password Types

Before you add a password to your presentation, here’s a quick overview of the two types of passwords you can add to your presentation and some things to keep in mind.

#1: Password to open

Adding a password to open forces you (or whoever opens your presentation) to input a password option forces you to insert a password to open and see the contents of a PowerPoint Presentation.

If someone opens the file and does not know the password (or if they enter the wrong password) the presentation will not open. That isn’t the right password.

Example of the warning if you enter the wrong password when opening a protected presentation

#2: Password to modify (make PowerPoint read only)

Adding a password to modify allows someone to either:

  1. Enter the password as they open the presentation (allowing them to edit and modify the presentation as they normally would)

  2. Open your presentation in a Read Only format (the same as locking your presentation).

Opening a password protect presentation either as read only or entering the password to get full editing rights

In the Read Only version of your presentation, people can still print, save your file as a PDF and run your presentation in the Slideshow modes. To see all the slideshow shortcuts and technique, check out our ultimate slideshow guide here.

On top of that, all of your PowerPoint animations, effects, hyperlinks and movies will still work in the Read Only format.

Other than that though, people will NOT be able to edit, modify, copy & paste or save your protected presentation.

Password Protecting PowerPoint Pro Tip

Most people are not used to seeing the Password Dialog Box option open when they open PowerPoint.

That means that if you lock PowerPoint with a password, make sure to notify your colleagues. Otherwise they might not know that they can still open the presentation in the Read Only format, saving you a phone call.

Passwords are case sensitive

It’s important to remember when you password protect PowerPoint, your passwords are case sensitive.

That means that locking PowerPoint with the uppercase password ‘OPEN SESAME’ is treated differently than the lowercase password ‘open sesame.’

So make sure you remember exactly what your password is.

If in doubt, a clever password mechanic is to always use the first 4 letters of the presentation's title, and then add the word open.

For example, if your presentation is called Quarterly Report, you can just use the password ‘quar open.’

For more help developing a password naming convention that works for you, check out this post by GrowMap here.

Whatever you end up using, keep your passwords simple enough so that you can remember them. That way you won't lose all your hard work simply because you can't remember your own password (yikes!).

How to add a password to PowerPoint

To add a password to PowerPoint, from the save as dialog box, open the Tools and Generals options, enter your password twice and click OK

To add a password to your PowerPoint presentation:

  1. Hit F12 to Save As (or File tab and Save As)

  2. Open the Tools drop down

  3. Select General Options

  4. Enter a password for either to Open or To Modify

  5. Confirm Your Password (case sensitive)

  6. Rename your presentation (recommended)

  7. Click Save

Why you should rename your presentation.

When you lock PowerPoint with a password (either to Open or Modify), your file is considered a NEW document.

If you do not rename the presentation before saving it in the same folder, the NEW file will replace your existing file and it will forever have a password.

That’s why I recommend renaming your presentation to something else. You could additionally add the ‘ - Password’ qualifier to your file name. That way people know that you have password protected the file.

On top of that, if you ever do forget your password, you can always go and find the original, unlocked PowerPoint file.

How to remove a password from PowerPoint

To remove a password from PowerPoint, enter the the correct password then from the Tools General options remove the password and click ok

To remove a password from your PowerPoint presentation:

  1. Open the protected presentation
  2. Enter the correct password
  3. Hit F12 for Save As
  4. Open the Tools Options
  5. Select General Options
  6. Delete the password (either Open or Modify)
  7. Select Okay
  8. Select Cancel or Save operation

Simply deleting either the Open or Modify password and selecting okay removes the password from the presentation, thereby unlocking your file.

Another way you can protect your presentation without adding a password, is to turn your presentation into the PowerPoint picture presentation file format. For details, click here.

Conclusion

So those are the different ways to password protect PowerPoint.

You can add a password to open or a password to modify.

Just keep in mind (and I can't stress this enough) that if you forget your password, it is next to impossible to recover your presentation.

That's why if you are trying to protect your content, it's often easier to convert your presentation to the PDF file format.

If you enjoyed this article and want to learn more about our PowerPoint training products and services, visit us here.

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Updated on July 8, 2019

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