Whether you’re dealing with sensitive client info, for-company-eyes-only internal data or a pitch deck that’s just too good to leak, sometimes it pays to protect PowerPoint presentations. Across PC, iOS and Google platforms, you can secure your work with simple password protection, which not only helps shield the presentation from prying eyes, but can also add an extra layer of protection before anyone — yourself included — can make edits.
Different platforms call for slightly different processes, but the payoff is the same across the tech spectrum: just a little extra peace of mind.
Password Protect PowerPoint on PC and Mac
To prevent your PowerPoint from being opened or modified without a password on desktop platforms, you’ll follow the same process whether you’re working on Windows or iOS. Per Microsoft, this straightforward security measure works across these versions of PowerPoint:
- PowerPoint for Microsoft 365
- PowerPoint for Microsoft 365 for Mac
- PowerPoint for the web
- PowerPoint 2021
- PowerPoint 2021 for Mac
- PowerPoint 2019
- PowerPoint 2019 for Mac
- PowerPoint 2016
- PowerPoint 2016 for Mac
- PowerPoint 2013
- PowerPoint for Mac 2011
- PowerPoint 2010
After you’ve created a PowerPoint presentation, first select “File,” then click “Info.” Choose “Protect Presentation” from the drop-down menu that appears, then “Encrypt with Password.” Type the password you’d like to use in the Password box, then hit “OK,” and you’re good to go.
Be sure to write down the password before you click “OK,” as PowerPoint does not offer password recovery options — if you lose the password, you’ll be out of luck. For co-work presentations, only the first person on a shared network to open the PowerPoint file and input the password will be able to edit it. If someone else attempts to open the password-protected PowerPoint presentation simultaneously, they’ll be able to view the file, but not edit it.
Protect a PowerPoint Presentation on Mobile Devices
When you’re working with the latest version of PowerPoint on the go, you’ll secure your presentations at the app level using the built-in features of Microsoft 365 Business Premium. To get started, you’ll need to log in to the Microsoft 365 admin center. Note that you will need admin privileges to implement these security measures.
First head to “Policies,” then choose the “Add policy” option. You’ll be prompted to enter a policy name (make sure it’s straightforward and easily identifiable, like “App Security”). Choose a policy type from the “Policy type” drop-down menu — this is where you’ll choose if you’re managing your policy for iOS, Android or Windows.
Now choose “Manage how users access Office files on mobile devices” and toggle the option to require a PIN or fingerprint by which to access Office apps. New options will appear, allowing you to customize not just how you protect PowerPoint presentations, but how you protect your entire Office suite. You can choose to reset the PIN when a login fails a certain number of times, require users to sign in again when Office has been idle for a specific number of minutes, deny access to work files on jailbroken or rooted devices or decide whether or not users can copy content from Office apps into their personal apps.
Finally, you can simply check or uncheck the boxes next to their respective icons to choose which apps will be protected, including Excel, OneDrive, OneNote, Outlook, Word, Skype for Business and of course, PowerPoint. You can also change the “Who will get these settings?” option from the default setting of all users to any security group you’ve previously created, or you can select “Restore default settings” if you no longer wish to use this added layer of security.
A Word on Encryption…
When you enable app security policies on Microsoft 365, you’ll see an additional menu titled “Protect work files when devices are lost or stolen.” Here, you can toggle the setting to encrypt work files on. Whether you want to protect PowerPoint presentations or just about any other type of file, encryption works hand-in-hand with password protection to serve as an absolutely vital security tool. This process scrambles plain text into virtually indecipherable code; only users with a key, such as a password, PIN or fingerprint ID, can unscramble that text. Ideally, even if the file is intercepted, encryption makes it unreadable to bad actors.
Unfortunately, encryption isn’t available everywhere. As PC Mag notes, the widely used Google Drive — the cloud-based home to the popular PowerPoint alternative, Google Slides — does not offer any sort of native encryption or password protection, potentially leaving the data of more than one billion users vulnerable.
…and How CapLinked Can Help
If you prefer Slides to PowerPoint or simply want a more secure solution that goes beyond adding a password protection to PowerPoint alone, CapLinked’s virtual data room has your back. With fewer than 10 minutes of setup, you can securely manage any type of Microsoft Office file, PDFs and other common file types across all of your teams and workspaces. If you prefer to keep your digital presentations on the cloud, CapLinked also works natively with Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive and Box.
Whether you’re working with a .PPTX, spreadsheets or a PDF, everything you share on CapLinked travels via a secure connection, with enterprise-grade security certified by EU-US Privacy Shield, FISMA, HIPAA and others. And even if you’re dealing with regular old business-grade M&As, you’re still covered by military-grade 256-bit encryption, because your data can never be too safe.
Dan is a small business owner and freelance writer based in Dallas, TX. In over a decade of experience, he’s been fortunate to write and collaborate with business-facing brands including The Motley Fool, Chron, Office Depot, Fortune and more.
The Leaders Council of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – Google Drive Has Over One Billion Users