Other Methods for Securing Documents

There are other options for securing Word documents, which depend on the features of the underlying operating system you are running. For example:

  • Files stored on Windows 2000 systems can be encrypted using Windows 2000's Encrypted File System (EFS).

  • Files stored on any Windows system can be hidden by setting their file attributes. In Windows 2000 or Windows XP, follow these steps:

    1. Open Windows Explorer.

    2. Select and right-click the file you want to hide. The shortcut menu appears.

    3. Choose Properties from the shortcut menu.

    4. In the General tab, check the Hidden box.

    5. Click OK.

If the file is still visible, this means you have changed your Windows Explorer folder options so that they display hidden files. To change them back, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Tools, Folder Options.

  2. Click the View tab.

  3. In the Advanced Settings scroll box, click the Do Not Show Hidden Files and Folders button.

  4. Click OK.

When a file is hidden in Windows Explorer, it is also hidden in Word's Open dialog box. However, you can open it by typing its filename in the Open dialog box.

To make Windows (and Word) show all your files, go into Windows Explorer and choose Show All Files in the View tab of the Folder Options dialog box.

Windows 2000/XP File-Level Security

If you maintain files on a network served by a Windows XP, Windows 2000 Server, or Windows 2000 Professional system that uses the NTFS file system, you have exceptional control over access to both folders and files.

Folder-level permissions include Full Control, Modify, Read and Execute, List Folder Contents, Read, and Write. Except for List Folder Contents, you can also set permissions for individual files stored on the NTFS partition.

In practice, this means that you can set general security for individual folders but tighten security beyond that for specific, sensitive files within those folders. (However, you cannot set tight security for a folder and loosen it for an individual file.)

File and Folder Level security are set from outside Word, using each file's and folder's Properties dialog box. (To control settings, right-click on the file or folder in Windows Explorer, choose Properties, and click the Security tab.)


Some security changes can be made only by individuals with administrator privileges.

    Part I: Word Basics: Get Productive Fast
    Part II: Building Slicker Documents Faster
    Part III: The Visual Word: Making Documents Look Great
    Part IV: Industrial-Strength Document Production Techniques
    Part VI: The Corporate Word