Can You Encrypt Your Documents Before Sending Them in Email? Yes!

So – you have a Word, Excel, or PDF document that you want to send via email, but it is sensitive in nature. Now you are wondering if there is a simple way to encrypt that document so that no one can open it, unless they have the password. The answer is YES, and you don’t have to buy an expensive program to accomplish this.

This article will describe how to encrypt your documents using either the 2011 or 2016/2019/Office 365 versions of Word and Excel, and also how to use Apple’s included Preview program to encrypt your PDFs.

Important note!: You should use some other form of technology to communicate the password to your receiver(s), such as a text message, a phone call, or snail-mail. Using email to communicate the password defeats the whole purpose!

Encrypting PDFs

Apple’s Preview app can encrypt any PDF file in preparation for emailing or any other file-transfer method.

  • Open your PDF in Preview and go to the File menu
  • Hold down the Option key and choose the “Save As…” option.
  • In the dialog window that opens, you’ll see a checkbox titled, “Encrypt”. Select that and also give your document a slightly different name.
  • After checking that box, you’ll see a Password and Verify field. Enter your password into each of these and click the “Save” button.
  • Your newly encrypted PDF file’s desktop icon will now look like this:

What about PDFs within Windows?

Lifewire has a great article about encrypting PDF documents in Windows, using a free utility, PDFMate PDF Converter.

Encrypting Microsoft Word Documents

The methods Microsoft uses for various versions of Word look different, but the result is the same. You get a password-protected document that is not openable without the password (even by Microsoft).

Word 2011

  • Open your .doc or .docx file in Word 2011.
  • Go to the menu File:Preferences and click on the Security icon.
  • You will be presented with a dialog box in which to enter your password. I recommend NOT entering the password in the “Password to modify” box.
  • Press the return key to accept your password, then enter it a second time.
  • Save your document.

Your new file’s desktop icon will look like this:

Word 2016/2019/Office 365

  • Open your document.
  • Click on the Review Tab
  • Click on the “Protect Document” icon
  • Enter your password in the “Password” field. I recommend NOT entering it into the “Set a password to modify this document” field.
  • Click the “OK” button and save your document.

Encrypting Microsoft Excel Documents

The methods Microsoft uses for various versions of Excel look different, but the result is the same. You get a password-protected document that is not openable without the password (even by Microsoft).

Excel 2011

  • Open your .xls or .xlsx document in Excel 2011
  • Click on the Review tab
  • Click on the “Passwords” icon
  • Enter your password in the Password box. I recommend NOT entering the password in the “Password to modify” box.
  • Enter your password in the “Reenter password to open” box.
  • Click on the “OK’ button and Save your document.

Excel 2016/2019/Office 365

  • Open your Excel document
  • Go to the menu File:Passwords…
  • Enter your password in the “Password to open” box. I recommend NOT entering the password in the “Password to modify” box.
  • Click on “OK” and reenter your password in the “Reenter your password to edit” box and click OK and Save your document.

What about everything else?

The simplest way to encrypt other documents is to use an app that can password-protect your compressed .zip file (which the Mac does not do natively).

Keka is free from their website, or $2.99 from the App Store. It is simple and easy to use. Make sure to review their Help menu to get started.
WINZip is free for a limited time, and although its interface feels complicated and dated, it does work.

Practice Makes Perfect

Once you’ve gone through these procedures once or twice they will probably feel much easier for you. But if not, Contact Us, and we will be happy to walk you through all of it!

MacOS Catalina – Should You Upgrade?

Catalina

(No, not yet!) Apple is slated to release the latest version of its Mac operating System, 10.15 Catalina in September of 2019. As with many major operating system updates from Apple, this version introduces some huge changes under the hood. Because this new system runs in 64-bit, all the apps that you’ve been using for years may no longer work in Catalina.

Unless you have a pressing reason to upgrade right away, we recommend waiting to upgrade, perhaps until 10.15.1 or even 10.15.2 is released later in the year. In the meantime, there are some things you can do to prepare for that day. Educating yourself is the best thing to help you with that.

What is new in Catalina?

Catalina has more major new features than we’ve seen in past macOS upgrades. There are a few new apps, and several other apps with major new features. Performance has been improved and usability has been increased. Here’s a quick list of some of the new features and apps:

  • Project Catalyst: iPad apps that have been brought over to the Mac
  • Music, Podcasts, and Apple TV apps that replace the iTunes app
  • Improvements to the Photos and Notes apps
  • Three new features in Apple Mail: mute a thread, block a sender, and unsubscribe
  • Safari updates
  • A redesigned Reminders app
  • A new Find My app that combines the features of Find My iPhone and Find My Friends
  • Screen Time for Mac
  • Sidecar, for using an iPad as an external display
  • Voice Control

What’s Different about Catalina?

Apple has announced that macOS 10.14 Mojave will be the last version capable of running 32-bit applications.

You’ve probably been seeing alerts like this one:

App not optimized dialog box

As Apple finalizes its transition to all-64-bit code, Mojave and High Sierra present an alert like this when you launch a 32-bit application. While it’s not a crisis now, you’ll need to upgrade or replace those applications before you update to macOS 10.15 Catalina later this year.

St. Claire Software has created a very handy and free utility, Go64 that will show you what apps are still 32-bit and which ones will NOT work under Catalina. If you run this utility and find that you have mission-critical apps that are 32-bit, do NOT upgrade to Catalina until you find an upgrade or a replacement. Downgrading from Catalina backwards to Mojave is a non-trivial and complicated action that I do not recommend. You will want to do this homework so that you don’t find yourself stuck in a big mess.

RoaringApps has a site with listings of which apps are compatible with which operating systems.

MacUpdater is a free utility that you can run and it will give you a listing of what needs updating, plus 10 free in-line updates.

What About iTunes?

You may have heard that Apple is discontinuing iTunes and is instead releasing three separate apps to handle what iTunes previously did. Before you take the Catalina plunge, you should consolidate your iTunes library so that nothing gets lost in translation.

Consolidation means making sure that all your audio files are in one place. It means that whatever you or iTunes has ever done with any of your media, you can straighten it out now.

It’s possible, for instance, to have media that is listed in your iTunes library but actually, physically resides somewhere else. But exactly where? We’re talking a decade and a half of using iTunes; nobody remembers this stuff.

Yet if you don’t check it, you could end up discovering that these other files were not copied. 

So in iTunes on your Mac, go to the Files menu, choose Library and then Organize Library. Click the box marked Consolidate files and then OK.

Get iTunes to organize all of your media into one place

If you have any media listed in iTunes but is actually somewhere else, this will bring it all in to iTunes. What it really does is copy any such file. It places the copy within the iTunes Media Folder and updates the iTunes library to say where it is now.

Your files will be specifically copied; not moved. So at the end of this process, you will have two copies of any such media. You could delete the original that’s outside the iTunes library, but make sure you’ve got a backup of the iTunes one first.

What About Microsoft Office 2011?

The 2011 version of Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint (as well as Outlook) will not run under Catalina. In this area, you have basically two options: get Microsoft Office 2019 for Mac or a non-Microsoft alternative.

Office 2019 Mac

For Microsoft Office 2019 Mac, Amazon has a number of options, including a one-time purchase (with limited update and upgrade options); and a subscription model – either a single license or an economical family 5-pack to share with your housemates.

For non-Microsoft alternatives, LibreOffice, OpenOffice, and FreeOffice are all free, though somewhat limited in how they handle documents with complicated formatting. These apps, similar to Google’s Suite of online apps can work well for occasional usage.

Back up your data before you upgrade

Securing your data is critical. Before you go for any macOS updates, make sure you’ve backed up your Mac so that nothing gets lost in the shuffle. By far, the easiest way to do that is with Apple’s Time Machine:

  1. Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Time Machine. 
  2. Click on Select Backup Disc and choose the disc from among available options.
  3. Check the box for “Back up automatically.”

Help, Mr. Wizard – It’s all too much!

Yes – that’s why we are here. We can do the entire upgrade for you – when the time is right. Contact Us when you are ready and we can get it done together!

7 easy steps to free up space on your iPhone

7 easy steps to free up space on your iPhone

It seems that your iPhone always runs out of space at the most inopportune times. If your iPhone storage is full or nearly full, you’re going to quickly need a way to clear up space on your device. In this article, we will go over some steps you can take to clear space on your iPhone.

You may be wondering why your iPhone keeps running out of space in the first place. The simple answer is that you may have too many videos, photos, apps and other files stored on your device.

How do you find out what’s using up space on your iPhone?

The first thing you should do is find out exactly what’s taking up most of your storage. Go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage and you should see a bar graph that shows how much space you have, like this:

From the screenshot above, you can see that apps take up most of the space on this iPhone, followed by messages and photos.

7 steps to free up storage space on your iPhone

Here are some recommendations Apple’s iPhone Storage screen shows you to free up storage space:

1. Auto delete old conversations

Under that graphic in Settings, Apple tells you how much data you can save if you automatically remove messages and attachments sent and received more than a year ago.

2. Review large attachments

It will also show you how to see large files that you have sent or received so you can see determine whether to delete them.

3. Uninstall unused apps

Many of us have apps that we seldom use. They’re literally just taking up space. If you scroll down, you can also see the last time you opened an app.

Just find the “Last Used” line under the app’s name and that should help you decide whether you should keep it or delete it to save space.

If you click on the app, the iPhone also gives you the option to “Offload” the app, which will delete it from your device but restore all of the documents and data you had if you choose to re-install it.

4. Back up your files with a cloud storage service

The obvious choice here for an iPhone user is to use iCloud, which comes with 5GB of free storage space. Aside from iCloud, here are some of the most popular cloud storage services:

  • Dropbox — Free account comes with 2GB of free space
  • Google Drive — Free account comes with 15GB of free space (including your other Google accounts)
  • OneDrive — First tier with 5GB of free storage

5. Back up your iPhone files to your computer

You can also choose to back up your iPhone to a Mac or PC. You can do this either with a cord or via iCloud. The good news is that your iPhone will no longer be the sole database for some of your most important files and data.  Here’s how to transfer photos from your iPhone.

6. Manage photos

Speaking of iCloud, if you go to Settings > Apple ID, ICloud, iTunes & App Store > iCloud > Photos, you can see several options to save space on your phone by managing your photos. They include the ability to:

  • Automatically upload photos to iCloud: Once you opt in, you won’t have to remember whether the photos you take are going to the cloud. This can also be a great data-reducing measure for your phone.
  • Remove photos and videos: Confirming that you want to “Remove from iPhone” will wipe the selected photos and videos from your device.
  • Turn off Photo Stream: Turning this feature off will delete all Photo Stream photos from your iPhone and save space.
  • Optimize iPhone storage: This will automatically downsize full resolution photos and replace them with smaller versions that take up less space.

7. Buy more mobile data

Aside from those options, you may decide that you want to simply buy more storage space, which can be done by going to any of the cloud services listed above.

Review

In conclusion, here are the best ways to free up storage space on your iPhone:

  • Delete old emails and attachments
  • Review old attachments and other files
  • Uninstall apps you don’t use
  • Back up your files to the Cloud
  • Transfer files to a computer
  • Manage photos
  • Buy more data

Overwhelming? Too much hassle?

That’s why we’re here! Contact Us and we can do it for you!

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