Password-Protected Files

Several of our clients use password-protection on various files, especially Word and Excel. Also, many of our clients have the Autosave feature turned on for these documents. This brings up several interesting questions when editing these files, and some interesting logistics when someone tries to open the file.

Let’s start with the call we received. A file that was definitely password protected showed that the last person in the file was  someone who should NOT have access; very concerning. Turns out that when someone tries to open a password protected file and does not have the password, but has Autosave turned on, they can’t get into the file, but it will show that person as the last one editing (Autosave was on). That doesn’t mean they got into the file.

The collaborate feature with Autosave is another interesting situation. If you un-protect a password protected file, it will Autosave right away making it technically available for others while you’re working on it. You would see them ’enter’ the file of course, but then it’s too late. We suggest you turn ‘off’ Autosave while working on the protected file so it’s not saved as ‘open’ while working.

One other fun fact: when working in the Web version of Excel, if a file is password protected, you can ‘unprotect for only your session,’ which unlocks it only for you. There’s a button that says ‘manage permissions’ and a ‘lock icon’ button that unlocks it for ‘my session.’ —CMW