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Protecting MS Office Documents Using Windows

  1. Classify MS Office Documents Using Labels
  2. Remove Document Classification on Microsoft Office Documents
  3. Protect MS Office Documents Using Custom Permissions
  4. Unprotect MS Office Documents Protected by "Custom Permissions"

NOTE: You are required to sign in using @hku.hk account in MS Office before you can classify and protect Office Documents.

A. Classify MS Office Documents Using Labels

Data/information Management is the development and execution of architectures, policies, practices and procedures that properly manage the full data/information life cycle needs of the University. Staff can make use of the built-in labels available under the Microsoft Office applications (Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint) to classify their Microsoft documents. The steps are as follows-
  1. Under Microsoft Office applications (Word, Excel or PowerPoint), click "Protect" icon and then "Show Bar".
    show bar
     
  2. A toolbar with 4 different labels will be displayed. You can assign one label to your document.
    • Public - This classification applies to data/information that has been approved by the appropriate University authority for public consumption. Such data/information shall present no minimal perceived risk to the University, its staff, students and/or relevant stakeholders.
    • Internal - Internal documents are for the University’s internal use. 
    • Confidential - This classification applies to sensitive data/information that is intended for use by specific group of authorized personnel within the University and business partners, assigned on a need-to-use basis and for authorised intended purpose. The unauthorised disclosure, modification or destruction of this data/information would adversely affect the business performance or the continuity of operations.
    • Restricted - This classification applies to data/information that is very sensitive in nature and is strictly restricted by the University, the government or any other agreements between the University and third parties. Such data/information is considered critical to the University’s capacity to conduct its business. Generally, this data/information shall be used exclusively by a limited number of predetermined and authorised named individuals or positions and business partners.

    In line with the Data Classification Scheme outlined under the "Information Security and Data Management Policy implementation", data is advised to be classified under 4 categories. 

  3. For documents labelled with "Public" or "Internal" label, no access right protection will be applied. The labels help you to identify the document sensitivity so that you will not mix up with other documents that are for "Confidential" or "Restricted" nature.

    public label
     

  4. For documents labelled with "Confidential" or "Restricted" label, the document will be protected automatically and only the owner (i.e. the one who labels the document) can access and modify the protected document. After either label is applied, an alert will be displayed showing the document is for "Owner Access Only". The automatic protection can eliminate the risk of leaking these protection documents to others in case your PC is hacked by others.
    IMPORTANT: If you need to share a Confidential" or "Restricted" document with others, you have to modify the protection using "Custom Permissions".
    owner access only
     
  5. Save the document to complete the change.

B. Remove Document Classification on Microsoft Office Documents

  1. Click the pencil icon next to the label.
    pencil icon
     
  2. Click the trash icon to remove the label.
    IMPORTANT: The automatic protection applied to documents labelled with "Confidential" or "Restricted" (i.e. Owner Access Only) will be removed after the label is taken out.
    remove label
     
  3. Click "Yes" to confirm.
    confirm delete label
     
  4. Save the document to save the change made.

C. Protect MS Office Documents Using Custom Permissions

NOTE: Once "Customer Permissions" is setup, the protection applied with "Confidential" or "Restricted" label (i.e. Owner Access Only) will be overridden.

  1. In Microsoft Office (Word, Excel or PowerPoint), Click the "Protect" icon and "Custom Permissions".
    custom permission
     
  2. Check the box next to "Protect with custom permissions".
    check the box to enable custom permission
     
  3. Select the permission you want to setup from the drop down list
    Viewer – View Only
    • Users can view the documents, but cannot print, edit, or copy content.

    Reviewer – View and Edit

    • User can view and edit the documents, but cannot print or copy content.

    Co-Author – View, Edit, Copy and Print

    • Users can view, edit, copy, and print the documents, and unprotect the file.

    Co-owner – All permission

    • Users have full control of the documents e.g. send the document to another person not on the previous defined users group/distribution list they can view, edit, print, and change protection permission.

    Only for me (or Owner Access Only)

    • Only the document owner can access the document and modify the document (i.e. same protection as you select the label "Confidential" or "Restricted").
       
  4. If you choose a protection other than "Only for me", please input UID@hku.hk of the HKU staff member you would like to send the documents to.
    NOTE: Protected documents are restricted for circulation any HKU staff only.
    input email
     
  5. [OPTIONAL] You can assign an expiry date on accessing the protected documents. Recipients will not be able to access the protected documents after the expiry date set.
     
  6. Click "Apply" to complete the permission setting.
  7. Save the document to save the setting made.


D. Unprotect MS Office Documents Protected by "Custom Permissions"

  1. In Microsoft Office (Word, Excel or PowerPoint), Click the icon "Protect" and then "Custom Permissions".
    custom permission
     
  2. Uncheck the box "Protect with custom permissions" and click "Apply". All the previous permission setup will be removed.
    remove custom permission
     
  3. Save the document to save the changes made.