How to Encrypt Your Documents with LibreOffice

Encrypt Documents LibreOffice

It’s not too hard to see why you’d want to keep some of your documents secure and secret. Most people write important information down to preserve it. Businesses write sensitive information in their records. All of these scenarios should be better protected than just hoping that someone doesn’t get into your computer and view them.

LibreOffice offers support for document encryption out of the box. You can encrypt your important files using strong AES encryption effortlessly in the process of saving them.

Encrypt Your Document

LibreOffice makes encryption dead easy. There isn’t much additional work that goes into saving a document with encryption. Start by either creating a new blank document to save immediately, or you can write a document and save it after. You also have the option of opening an existing file and re-saving it with encryption.

Save As

LibreOffice File Menu

When you have a document that you want to encrypt, click “File” in the top menu of LibreOffice. In the drop-down select “Save As.”

LibreOffice Save As

A new window will open for you to choose a location for your file and to name it. Do both of those things like you normally would.

LibreOffice Save With Password

Shift your focus to the bottom of the window. You’ll see three checkboxes. Despite how it may look, you actually want the one labeled “Save with password.” Check that box. When you’re ready, press “Save.”

Choose Your Password

LibreOffice Choose Password

A new window will open up with a couple of input fields to enter a password for the file. If you’re good with things the way they are, you can stop there and click “Ok.” There is an option for a bit more security.

LibreOffice Set Edit Password

Click on “Options” below the password fields. That will extend the window to reveal the option to add an additional password for editing. So with the first password that you set above, someone can read the file but not edit it. The second password would be required for that. Check the box and provide a password to enable it.

Before you press “OK” you need remember your password(s). There’s no way to recover them, and there’s no way to get your documents back if you forget. After you press “OK,” your document will be encrypted.

Open Your Document

When the time comes to open your encrypted document again, go ahead and open LibreOffice. Click the icon to open a document like you normally would.

Locate your document in the browser window and select it. Open your document.

Open Encrypted File LibreOffice

LibreOffice will prompt you to enter your document’s password before letting you go any further. Enter the password that you set when encrypting the document.

After you successfully enter the password, LibreOffice will go to work opening it. Because of the encryption, it’ll take a few seconds longer than normal, but LibreOffice will open it.

From there, you can use your document like you normally would, saving with the regular “Save” button. Every time you open your document, you’ll be prompted for the password.

Nick Congleton Nick Congleton

Nick is a freelance tech. journalist, Linux enthusiast, and a long time PC gamer.


  1. This is something that has been needed for some time now. We all have personal data that needs protection just in case.
    This looks pretty simple and something I intend to use as a means to protect my data.
    Thanks for the info.

  2. Yes, more straight forward than your average Linux instructions,
    E.G. the first day leaning to drive in Linux speak would be, first
    you need to know how a centreless crank grinder works then
    how to cast a cylinder block. We then move on to ignition timing
    and valve overlap. The lady replies I only want to go down to
    Tesco for me shopping. The Linux guy would insist that this was
    essential. Hence not really a mass migration from windows.
    Regards Alan

  3. “So with the first password that you set above, someone can read the file but not edit it.”

    If someone can read an encrypted file, that’s a very strange kind of encryption.

    I guess you were probably referring to encryption of shared documents with people who have ‘read’ (but not ‘write’) access.

  4. mk77z – The first password encrypts the file so it cannot be opened at all. It is encrypted and unable to be opened to read.

    After an initial password is set, you may set an ADDITIONAL password to allow someone (IF they know the first password) to edit the document or to simply view it.

    Again, if they don’t know the first password, they cannot even open the document.

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