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Science and Engineering at The University of Edinburgh

School of GeoSciences

Information Technology Services

Encryption Guidelines for Individual Documents

To ensure that confidential files remain confidential, password protect them with a strong, long password. This can be achieved by the in-built functionality within the software you are using.

Microsoft Office provides password protection capabilities but Office 2003 encryption is regarded as very weak and should not be used if at all possible.  If Microsoft 2003 is being used , then you should ensure that Office 2003 Service Pack 3 is installed and the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack version 4 is also installed. This allows Office 2003 to use Office 2007 encryption, which is much more secure.  These fixes are NOT installed in the XP managed Desktop and need to be manually installed.  Contact ithelp for help in doing this on managed machines.  However, the best solution is to have your machine upgraded to Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010.  

Software for Encryption
Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft Word ( only save in Word 2007, Docx, format)
  • In Word 2003Save as type: Word 2007 Document (*.Docx) and

Save As/Tools/Security Options/Password to Open

Do NOT save as Word 2003 (*.Doc) format

  • In Word 2010Save as type: Word Document (*.Docx)
Save As/Tools/General Options/Password to Open


  • Microsoft Excel ( only save in Excel 2007 Workbook, xlsx, format)
  • In Excel 2003 Save as type: Excel 2007 Workbook, (*.xlsx)

Save As/Tools/General Options/Password to Open

Do NOT save as Excel 2003 (*.xls) format

  • In Excel 2010Save as type: Excel Workbook, (*.xlsx)

Save As/Tools/General Options/Password to Open

OpenOffice Save As/Save with Password
creating a PDF In OpenOffice Export to PDF/Security/Set Open Password
creating a PDF In Microsoft Office 2010
(Windows 7)
Save as PDF/Tools/General Options/Password to Open
see http://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/information-services/services/computing/desktop-personal/security/encryption/email )

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