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!

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!

Training Google Mail (or Gmail) for Spam Filtering

Email spam

Have you ever had the experience of someone insisting that they sent you an email, but you can’t find it, only to look later in your Spam or Junk folder and find it hiding there? Now why would your mail app decide one thing is spam and another is not?

Email providers like Google, Yahoo, and Hotmail invest a lot of resources into making their spam filters do a good job of accurately identifying what is valid email and what is not. Sometimes they do a good job of that, and sometime they get a little over-zealous. This can result in what is called a “false positive.” That’s where an email may contain one or more traits that make it look like spam. This can be as simple as the email containing the word “spam” in the title or in the body.

All email providers use a varied list of criteria to give each incoming email a score. If the score of the combined factors goes over a certain threshold, then BAM – it goes into the spam folder. The Verge has an article about how Google now uses Artificial Intelligence to block spam.

How come I don’t see the spam?

Your email client (such as Apple’s included Apple Mail) does have its own junk filter. But that only comes into play once you check your mail from your provider’s servers. And that is long after their servers have already filtered out spam. That is why you may not see messages flagged as spam unless you log in to your account via a web browser at www.gmail.com.

If you use Gmail or Google mail (many non-profit and .org’s do) you can train it to remove false-positives. That way, email that you know is valid will no longer be filtered out as spam. The video below shows you how.

If you would like some help with this and any other aspects of keeping your email healthy and happy, contact us and we will be glad to take care of you!

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