How to Use DocSecrets to Encrypt Sections of Your Google Docs

492163 How to Use DocSecrets to Encrypt Sections of Your Google Docs

DocSecrets is a handy Google Docs add-on that allows you to encrypt and hide sensitive information in your documents, like passwords, confidential data, or patent ideas.

What is DocSecrets?

DocSecrets is an encryption tool available as a Google Docs add-on. It allows you to select text in your document and encrypt it with a passphrase of your choice. The encrypted text is then hidden, displayed as a colored box.

To view or edit the encrypted text, you or other document collaborators must enter the correct passphrase in the DocSecrets sidebar. This decrypts the text so you can see or modify it.

Key features:

  • Encrypt text passages in Google Docs
  • Hide encrypted text behind colored boxes
  • Control access using passphrases
  • Share documents with collaborators
  • Local encryption in the browser means Google cannot access the encrypted data

Installing the DocSecrets Add-on

Installing DocSecrets only takes a minute.

  1. Open Google Docs in your browser and log into your Google account
  2. Click Add-ons > Get add-ons
  3. Search for “DocSecrets”
  4. Click Install and then Continue
  5. Select the Google account to associate the add-on with
  6. Click Allow to grant permissions

Once installed, you can access DocSecrets features through the Add-ons > DocSecrets menu.

Encrypting Text

Encrypting text with DocSecrets is simple:

  1. Highlight the text you want to encrypt
  2. Open the DocSecrets sidebar using Add-ons > DocSecrets > Open
  3. Enter a passphrase and click Encrypt
  4. The selected text is replaced by a colored box

The encrypted text can only be revealed by entering the correct passphrase into the DocSecrets sidebar.

You can encrypt multiple text passages in a document, each with a different passphrase if desired.

Sharing Encrypted Documents

To collaborate on encrypted documents:

  1. Share the document with other users as usual
  2. Collaborators must install the DocSecrets add-on themselves
  3. Send them the encryption passphrases separately using a secure method
  4. They can then reveal encrypted text by entering the passphrases

Because encryption and decryption happens locally in the browser, Google’s servers cannot access the encrypted data.

DocSecrets Features and Limitations

DocSecrets provides strong AES-256 encryption to selected text right inside Google Docs. This is more convenient than manually encrypting documents outside Google Docs.

However, being a Google Docs add-on means DocSecrets does have some functionality limitations:

Features NOT supported:

  • Encrypting entire documents (only selected text passages)
  • Using revision history on encrypted text
  • Grammarly integration
  • Voice typing
  • Downloading encrypted documents

Additional limitations:

  • Each encrypted section has to be unlocked separately
  • Images and tables cannot be encrypted
  • Mobile app support limited

So DocSecrets works best for selectively hiding small amounts of confidential text within documents. Entire documents should be encrypted outside Google Docs instead.

Alternatives to DocSecrets

If you need to encrypt more than just small text snippets, alternative options include:

  • Microsoft Word encryption – Save Word docs as encrypted PDFs
  • VeraCrypt – Open source disk encryption software
  • Boxcryptor – Encrypt files stored in cloud services
  • Cryptomator – Free client-side cloud encryption tool


DocSecrets is handy for selectively hiding sensitive snippets of text right inside your Google Docs documents. It can’t encrypt entire docs or replace full disk encryption solutions. But if you just need to quickly redact passwords, confidential ideas, or other short text passages in Google Docs, DocSecrets does the job admirably.

The browser-based encryption ensures your private data remains fully secure. And seamless integration with Google Docs makes redacting text a breeze.

Just be aware of the limitations around document downloads, images, revision history, and full mobile support. For optimal security, restrict encrypted documents to desktop browser access only.

But for occasional use encrypting short text passages right inside Google Docs, DocSecrets is an easy and convenient solution.

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