How to Password Protect a Text File

Updated on May 6, 2013

You can easily protect a word document (.doc). All you need to do is click the Office button at the top-left corner of the screen, select “Prepare” and click on “Encrypt Document”. Type in the password and voila! Your word document is encrypted. While everybody knows how to encrypt a word file, most users don’t know how to password protect a text file.

The truth is that you really cannot encrypt a .txt file via the file menu or any other sub-menu. But you can save a text document into a password-protected container. In this step-by-step guide, I will show you how to create a password protected file and save all your text documents into it:

You will need third-party software to password-protect a .txt file. While there are plenty of software programs available, only few are totally free. TrueCrypt is one such free software that offers top-notch military-grade encryption and does its job in protecting files and folders pretty well.

Step 1: Follow this link to download the latest version of TrueCrypt: http://www.truecrypt.org/downloads. The file is only 3.3 MB big and installs quickly. This free open-source software program provides more than one way to password-protect your confidential documents and does not have a backdoor option to recover password.

Step 2: Once installed, you can now encrypt a .txt file. Next, open the TrueCrypt software by double-clicking on the desktop icon. Alternatively, you can navigate to My Computer > Local Disk (C :) > Program Files and click on the TrueCrypt icon.

Step 3: Click on the “Create Volume” button. You will be greeted with 3 options. Select the first option (“Create an encrypted file container”). Choosing this option will create an encrypted container on your disk. Click Next.

Select the first option. This will help you create a standard container. You will be able to add more than one .txt files to this password protected container. You can also choose the second option. This will let you create a “hidden volume”, which offers a double-password system for extra protection, especially in situations where you may be forced to reveal the password. After selecting the first option, click Next.

Step 4: Click on the Select File button, choose desktop or any other location where you want to save the encrypted container. Type in the file name (I have named my container as “confidential”) and click on Save. Click on the Never Save History check box to make sure no recent text documents show up on your Notepad when you open them through the protected container. Click Next.

Step 5: Select the encryption algorithm of your choice. You can choose any one of 8 encryption algorithms. Make sure you read the description below each algorithm to know how powerful the encryption is. Click Next.

Step 6: Select the container size. You can specify the file size in Kilobytes, Megabytes and Gigabytes. You can then save multiple text files into that container. Select MB and type in the container size. This will free space so that you can save multiple text documents inside one container. For example: Choose MB and enter 5 in the white space. This would mean you have created a container with 5 MB free space for multiple .txt saves.

Step 7: Next, type in the password and retype the password on both the empty boxes. Make sure the password isn’t too short. Containers protected by shorter passwords are easy prey for brute force techniques. Your password must have at least one special character, one number, a capital letter and a small letter. Make sure the password is at least 8 characters long. Click the “Next” button.

Step 8: To make the password-protected container hack-proof, move the mouse cursor randomly over a set of alphabets and numbers in the Random Pool section. The longer you drag the mouse cursor, the better the encryption strength. Once you have done it, click on the Format button to finish creating the password-protected container. Click OK. Exit the application. You will find the container in the location you have saved it. You cannot open the container, but can delete it.

Step 9: Open the TrueCrypt application again and click on the Select File button. Navigate to the path where you have created the container, select it and click on the Open button. Next, click on the Mount button, type in the password and click OK. Double-click on the path displayed after mounting the protected container.

Step 10: Now that you have opened the empty password-protected container, drag and drop the text file(s) that you want to password-protect into the empty open container. Close the container window. Repeat Step 10 if you want to open the container and double-click the saved text files to view them. This way you can protect all your saved files and view them only after entering the correct password.

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