Encrypting Pages, Numbers and Keynote Documents

If you need to encrypt your documents for security or legal reasons, you can do this easily in Pages, Numbers and Keynotes with the Set Password option. It is important to remember your password or you will lose access to the document. You can also just opt to use File Vault to encrypt all of the data on your Mac.

Video Transcript
So an interesting question came up recently on the Forum and it was about encrypting data on your own Mac. Now the reason you might want to do this is to comply with local laws that say that if you have information about people, personal information like phone numbers and addresses and things like that, that you need to keep that data encrypted. So maybe if you keep a membership list for an organization you may want to do that. I'm not a lawyer so I don't know if this is technically needed but it is easy to technically encrypt data on your Mac.

One way to do it is simply to encrypt everything on your Mac. You may already have this turned on. If you go to System Preferences and go to Security & Privacy there's FileVault. If you turn on FileVault then everything on your Mac is encrypted. Without entering your user password all the data is encrypted. Entering your user password is going to use that as a key to decrypt data as you access it. So then all your data there is encrypted. Somebody getting hold of just your hard drive and the raw data on it is not going to be able to get anything from that because it's all encrypted data.

But if you're not using FileVault or you want an extra layer of encryption on top you can encrypt data that you store in Pages, Numbers, and Keynote pretty easily. So, for instance, here I am in Numbers and I have a list here of names and phone numbers. Let's say I want to store this in an encrypted manner. I can go to File and then Set Password. This will turn on encryption for this file. So I have to enter a password here, so I'll just create something here, verify it, and password hint.

Now it's important to realize that by encrypting this file you're not just locking the front door. You're actually encrypting all the data. Scrambling all of the data in the file. There's no way to get the data unless you have the password. So there's no back door. There's no way, you know, to kind of get around the password or something like that. It's important you write down or store in a password manager the password. If you forget it, it's like the file doesn't even exist to you. So you can use a password hint here if you like to give you an idea. Something only you would know to remember which password you're using here. It's probably best to actually make sure you write it down somewhere or store it in a safe place or several safe places.

Now if this is a file you access frequently you may just want to try to remember this password in my keychain. So if you're logged onto your Mac, you've entered your user password, so you have access to your keychain data. Then you won't have to remember the password. So for you access becomes easy. But somebody else who gets this file when you send it to them is not going to have your keychain. So they are going to need to know the password.

So we'll set the password here and now we'll save this file. Now if we want to open this file, I'll close it here, we can see the file icon now has a little padlock on it. We go to open it and it opens up automatically because of the keychain access. Let's change that. So we hit Change Password. Notice how it has the same menu item but it said Change Password. Oh, you have to enter the old password and the new password twice. Give a hint. I'm going to remove it from the keychain. Notice there was also a button for Remove Password there. So now I'll save this. Now when I go to open it, it's going to prompt me, as you can see here, for the password. At this point I can also say remember it in my keychain. So now it's an encrypted file and you need password access to get to it.

The process is the same for Pages and Keynote. So you go to File, Set Password. It looks exactly the same. Hit set password. When I save the file it will now become an encrypted file. You can see it has that same icon there. The padlock. I go to open it and it wants me to enter the password in order to get access to the file to decrypt it using that key.

Comments: 2 Responses to “Encrypting Pages, Numbers and Keynote Documents”

    Earl Campbell
    4/27/18 @ 2:25 pm

    Can you encrypt a file? Can you move a file to a encrypted page?

    4/27/18 @ 2:28 pm

    Earl: That’s what I’m showing in the tutorial. Do you mean something other than a Pages, Numbers or Keynote file? If so, what type of file, exactly? And what do you mean by “an encrypted page” — what do you mean by a “page?”

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