You can secure cloud documents with a password but Microsoft makes them hard to use.
Password locking Office documents is one way to keep your OneDrive stored documents safe from prying eyes (e.g. hackers, Microsoft etc.). It’s a nice idea but Microsoft’s poor support for password protected documents makes that difficult in practice.
Only Office for Windows and Office for Mac can open password protected documents. None of the other Office variants for browser or mobile can handle them.
That’s a problem because Microsoft makes OneDrive or SharePoint compulsory for using Office Mobile apps. It would be good to secure those cloud stored documents from unwanted reading, but Microsoft won’t let customer do that.
It’s almost as if Microsoft wants OneDrive data stored only ways that they and their ‘team’ partners like the NSA can easily read, but that’s (hopefully) going too far.
Update: Office for iPad DOES open password protected documents … as it should.
Realistically, the lack of password support in Office Mobile and Office Web Apps is because Microsoft doesn’t want to spend the time and money necessary to make it happen.
Privacy and Security in Microsoft Office has a lot more on password protected documents and other ways to maintain email and document privacy.
Here’s what happens when you try to open a password protected document in various Office Mobile apps of Office Web Apps/Office Online. Notice the amazing lack of consistency in the error message wording. Each app has different phrases to describe the same failure.
Office Web Apps / Office Online
“Sorry, Word Online can’t open this document because it’s encrypted using a password”
Office Mobile for iPhone
“Word can’t open this document because it has been protected”
Office Mobile for Android
“Word can’t open files that are digitally protected”
Office Mobile for Windows Phone
“Password-protected files can’t be opened”
- Microsoft reads private email on Hotmail/Outlook.com
- Office for iPad – next week?
- Hidden document data saved by SkyDrive
- Microsoft and the NSA … a ‘team’ to get more information from us
- Privacy and Security in Microsoft Office