How to remember your passwords

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Three places to save password information in MS Office.

Ideally each login to a computer or web site should have its own password but it’s a given that we all use the same passwords too often.

Remembering all those passwords is hard enough but you also have to remember the login name; was it your name, part of the name or one of your many email addresses?

If you have a place to store account numbers, logins and passwords you can be more confident about varying your passwords and login details for more secure personal computing.

Here are some suggestions for where to store all your login and password information. There are three options in Microsoft Office – Outlook, Word or OneNote.


Outlook

Our preferred option is a ‘Reference’ folder in Outlook. This is a new folder of Mail & Post Items that you can place anywhere in your Outlook folder list.

You can copy login & password notice/reminder emails to this folder or create notes (New | Post in this Folder) and enter any text you like.

Existing notes can be edited (eg when you change password) by opening the item then choosing Other Actions | Revise Contents.

We use an Outlook folder for various reasons:



  • Each web site / login is saved in a separate Outlook item with a clear heading (the Subject line).

  • It’s easy to make new items from incoming emails.

  • Outlook is open and running all the time so saving or finding login details is quick and painless.

  • The folder can be sorted by date or subject heading.

  • Each item is indexed and can be found quickly using Outlook search function (in Outlook 2007) or external desktop search system.

  • It can be accessed from anywhere you can reach your Outlook data. If you use Exchange or IMAP you can see your Reference folder from the web or mobile device as well as Outlook.

  • Moving to a new computer is easy – the reference folder comes along with all you other Outlook data.

The only major flaw is the lack of overall security. There’s no way to password protect an individual Outlook folder. If someone can access your Outlook data they can get to your passwords.


OneNote

OneNote sections can store your reference info and can be password protected.

Make a new section then right-click and choose Password Protect this section then choose a password.

The section will be unlocked for viewing and editing with the password. OneNote will automatically re-lock the section after an idle period.

Most people keep OneNote open all the time, much like Outlook, so it is also an easy place to place and find information you need.

Unlike the Outlook folder you can’t sort the details but the OneNote search feature can find an item quickly.


Word

Create a new Word document and save your reference information there.

Each item should have a heading formatted as a style like Heading 1. Using a Heading style means the Document Map view becomes a quick reference list or you could make a Table of Contents at the top.

Word - sample reference document.jpg image from How to remember your passwords at Office-Watch.com

Any Word document can be password protected.

A shortcut to the document can be placed on your desktop or start menu. Word 2007 can ‘pin’ a document onto the Recent Documents list.

You could do a similar thing with an Excel document, however the worksheet format is probably too constrained for this type of varying information.


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