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Password protect folders and files

Dropbox makes it easy to secure, control, and password protect all your sensitive information

An image being shared after password protection is enabled and downloads are disabled
Password protect a folder or file to add another layer of security

Dropbox comes with multiple layers of protection—so you can relax knowing that your most sensitive data is safe in the cloud. 

When you password protect files through Dropbox, you guarantee that only the people you want to access your files can get to them. 

Before anyone can view or download a document, they need to enter the password you set to protect the document.

Password protected folder being shared with a specific user
Control who sees what with Dropbox password protection

Dropbox makes it easy to password protect PDFs and other files without third-party software. Before you share a link to a PDF, Word doc, or other file or folder, simply set a password for it—so only the recipient can open it with the password you choose. 

Members of a Dropbox team account can easily limit who has access to sensitive files. If someone outside of your team gets their hands on the link to your password-protected file or folder, don’t worry—they can’t view or access it without the password.

A user accessing a file using a password
Set shared line expiration dates to control file access

Keep your files in your control—even after you send them. You can set an expiration date for shared links on or your mobile app, so only your recipients can access the link until it expires. After the expiration date, the link stops working and no one will be able to view it. 

Another way to protect your work from being downloaded is to simply turn off downloads for a shared link. Recipients can preview the file on—but will be unable to download the file to their computer.

A user setting a link expiration date using a calendar view
Set up 2FA for extra security

Password protection controls and secures the files or folders you share with others—and prevents confidential property from ending up in the wrong hands. Another security feature we recommend is two-step verification. It’s simple, but it’s important for protecting your Dropbox account and everything in it.

When you enable two-step verification, Dropbox asks for a second form of authentication. This means you might enter a six-digit code or security key (in addition to your password) when you sign in to your account or link a new computer, phone, or tablet. Two-step verification, alongside password protection, makes it much harder for anyone to access your account.

A user setting a password for a shared file as well as enabling 2 factor authentication

Frequently asked questions

Encrypting files ensures that if anyone tries to intercept them or take the disks they are on, the data will be unreadable. Password protection, on the other hand, is a feature you can enable when sharing files within the Dropbox service—to add a layer of sharing security. Dropbox always encrypts your data when you upload it—and you also have the option of password protecting files or folders when you share them.

Passwords make sure that only the intended recipients of a file can access it. If someone else gets a shared link, they will be unable to access your files—unless you also share the password with them. Adding expiration dates to password-linked files further helps ensure that the link is only available for your intended recipients during the period you determine. See our resource on password security for more detail and tips on using password protection.

Setting a password for a Word document makes sure that only the people you want to access it through Dropbox can do so. This prevents unwanted viewing or editing, as before anyone can view or download the Word document they have to enter the password you set to protect the document.

It’s easy to password protect PDFs with Dropbox. You can set a password for a shared PDF link by signing in to, clicking the ‘Share’ button beside the file name, and connecting to the Link settings. Only people with the password you set can view or download the PDF you send.

Right now, Dropbox Professional users and members of a Dropbox team account can password protect files with a shared link on—or on the Dropbox mobile app. Be sure to compare our plans to find the right Dropbox plan for you.

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