How do I prevent Microsoft documents from being opened in Google Docs?

I used to email password-protect Excel/Word documents to myself for retrieval at another computer but then realized that anyone who gets a copy of the emailed attachment can simply open the file directly in Google Docs. And when they do that, it becomes part of their document page. I find no security in this at all and am back to using the thumb drive.

The password protection doesn't work if I load it in Google Docs.

Is there any way to securely send protected Microsoft documents?

3 Answers 3


It's simply a matter of your required level of security. The goal of using google-docs... is not to distribute them via email... but rather distribute a link to the file in the cloud. You can add additional users to the documents as viewers only... and remove them at any time. Encrypting documents using the built-in password protection really isn't very secure either. (I have tools that can break the passwords in a few minutes)

Why do you need password security when the owner/admins of a document can pick & choose on-the-fly who can view & who can edit the document? Instead of a "global password" the users' accounts become their "password" to access the documents.

If you don't trust google with your documents... you probably shouldn't trust sending documents via email either.


Well if you're just transferring files between computers online I would suggest using a service such as Dropbox or SugarSync so you can just put them in a folder on your computer to have them automatically sync to your other computer. You can also log in to the service's web interface to download the file from there.

If you want to keep using e-mail (perhaps as a document archive?) then just put the MS document in a Zip file before attaching it to your e-mail. That way you can grab it on the destination computer and unzip it there. Zipping files is supported on all major OS's, usually in their right-click menu for files. With a few extra steps Zip files also allow you to set passwords on them for extra security.

  • 1
    Zip passwords are very insecure... Suggest instead you look into sending encrypted email.
    – Chris Nava
    Commented Mar 30, 2011 at 4:35

You might want to use something like PGP, GPG or TrueCrypt prior to sending/uploading the documents.

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