How to password-protect a document with LibreOffice

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LibreOffice has been my office suite of choice for a very long time. And it’s not just because it’s readily available to the Linux operating system. LibreOffice offers tons of features, is compatible with MS Office documents, and rarely causes me the slightest headache.

One LibreOffice feature I’ve been using for some time makes it easy to password-protect a document so that only those with the set password can open it. 

This is a must-have feature for anyone who creates documents that contain sensitive information.

Whether it’s a business plan, client information, or your diary, you can protect the contents of that document without having to use a third-party application to encrypt your file.   

Also: Try these alternatives to common apps that you can use on Linux

Let me show you how this is done.


The only thing you’ll need for this is LibreOffice installed on your desktop or laptop. The password protection feature is built into LibreOffice, so there’s nothing extra to install and it doesn’t matter what operating system you use. I’ll demonstrate this with LibreOffice Although the feature has been around for some time, I would highly recommend you update LibreOffice to the latest version so all vulnerabilities are patched and you have access to any new features that have been added.

Once you have LibreOffice installed or upgraded, you’re ready to test-drive the password protection feature. Let’s see how it works.

How to password-protect a document with LibreOffice

Although you can password-protect any document, I would suggest trying it first with a new document so you can be certain the feature works as expected. You don’t want to experiment with requiring a password for an existing file and then not be able to access it later.

With that in mind, open LibreOffice and create a new text document.

Before you bother to type anything into the document, save it by clicking File > Save As. At the bottom left corner of the Save As window, click the checkbox for Save With Password. Give the file a name and then click Save at the top right of the window. 

The bottom left corner of the LibreOffice Save As window.

LibreOffice’s password protection option is found in the Save As dialog.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

After clicking Save, you’ll be prompted to type and verify the password for the document. Make sure to use a strong password, not a weak password that’s easy to guess. (And make sure you’ll remember it!) After adding the password, click OK. Save the document again and close it.

The LibreOffice Set Password dialog window.

Setting a password to protect a LibreOffice document.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

In that same window, you can expand the Options section and set a read-only password for file sharing. 

The File Sharing Password section of the Set Password dialog.

You can also set a read-only file sharing password.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

The next time you go to open the file, you’ll be prompted to type the password. Unless you type the correct password, the file will not open. (So don’t forget the password.) You can also password-protect a file on a shared drive and anyone who attempts to open it will also have to type the password. 

Also: You’re definitely not making the most of your password manager

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that if you save the file to a different directory or under a different name, you’ll need to go through the steps to password-protect it again. 

And that’s all there is to protecting a LibreOffice document with a password.

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