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PowerPoint Presentation Security: Encryption and Permissions

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  • 0:01 Why Permissions and Security?
  • 0:35 Encrypt with Password
  • 2:51 Mark as Final
  • 4:16 Inspect Presentation
  • 6:28 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Karen Sorensen

Karen has a Bachelors in Communications. She has 25 years of experience in Information Systems, Adult Learning and Virtual Training.

In this lesson, we will discuss security options for your PowerPoint documents. These options will help you avoid sharing private information and help prevent unauthorized changes to your presentation.

Why Permissions and Security?

At times, your PowerPoint presentation may have confidential content. For whatever reason, it is nice to know that you can add security to your presentation and protect it against unwanted access or even make changes to your slides.

If you open the File menu in PowerPoint and select Info, you will see three options:

  • Protect Presentation
  • Inspect Presentation
  • Versions

In this lesson, we will focus on the functions of the first two options.

Encrypt with Password

So, what does encryption actually mean? Well, simply put, it means to add security to a message or a document, which, in this case, is your PowerPoint presentation. Encryption adds a level of security to your document so that it can only be opened by your intended recipients. PowerPoint offers encryption by giving you the ability to add a password to your presentation. Only those with the password can open the document. Let's take a closer look and see how it's done.

With your PowerPoint document open, click on the File menu and select Info. To add your password to your presentation, click on Protect Presentation and choose Encrypt with Password.

PowerPoint will have you enter your password twice. So, enter your password, click OK, and then confirm your password by entering it again and clicking OK. And you're all set! Now any time you or someone else attempts to open the presentation, a password will be required. But it's important to note, however, the password protects against the document being opened, not against someone making changes to your presentation.

And a hint: The strength of the password is important and usually falls into three categories, such as weak, good and strong. It's a good idea to choose passwords that are not too simple. I have some examples here:

  • motorcycle - it's all lowercase, and this one is considered weak.
  • Motorcycle1 - has a 'M,' which is good, and a number on the end, the number 1. This is considered a good password.
  • MotorCycle#1 - Now, the last one is our strong password. This is MotorCycle#1, so it has a 'M' and a 'C.' It has a # sign, and it has a number, so this is a really good type of password to use.

With today's technology, we have passwords for nearly everything, from email accounts to financial information. Regardless if you are protecting your document or bank account, may I suggest that, at a minimum, your passwords fall into the 'good' category.

Mark as Final

Another command under the Protect Presentation option is Mark as Final. This helps to make sure no additional edits are made to your presentation. However, I caution you. This does not completely prevent edits. Someone who opens the file can reverse the Mark as Final status and edit the presentation. This option is more of a warning and hides any edit features and commands in the ribbon. Let me explain how this works.

Start by clicking on Protect Presentation and choose Mark as Final. You will receive two messages.

  • The first message is to confirm you want to complete the request and to let you know that the presentation will be marked as final and then saved.
  • The second message gives you a bit more information about the feature. You can choose to not see this message again. Just select 'Don't show this message again.'

Click OK to the second message, and notice that the 'Marked as Final' message has been added to the ribbon and all editing commands are hidden. You can see in the video (at 03:56), if we click on Edit Anyway, the editing commands re-appear. At this point, the 'Marked as Final' status is gone, and we're able to make changes to the presentation.

I like this option, but keep in mind that this is a deterrent from someone making a change. It really doesn't prevent them from reversing the 'Marked as Final' status.

Inspect Presentation

The next option under Protect Presentation is a group of commands that allow you to check for issues. We will focus on the option to inspect presentation. If you are going to share your presentation or maybe even post it to the web, it's a smart idea to first check your document for any personal or confidential information that might be stored with the document.

Let me explain. PowerPoint documents often contain hidden data that you don't want to be shared. One big contributor of confidential information is called metadata. This type of information is considered personally identifiable information, such as a company or email information, the author, the subject or the title. Here are some other examples of information you might want to remove:

  • Comments added during collaboration
  • Off-slide content (Sometimes, during the creation of a slide, content gets lost or dragged off the page. This command will help identify and remove that content.)
  • Presentation notes

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