Sending Encrypted Email

The Microsoft Office 365 email system can be used to send encrypted emails.  These messages are both encrypted in transit, and encrypted at rest.  They are suitable for sending sensitive information but still cannot be used to send credit card information (which cannot be transmitted via email in any way).

The process of sending an encrypted email is simple - but depends on whether you are using Outlook's web version or the desktop version.


Outlook Web Access

Note: This is the method you use if you access your mail via your web browser.

These instructions are for the newer version of Outlook Web Access.  You are using the "Old" Outlook if instead it says "Try the new Outlook" at the top right (If it says this - click "Try the new Outlook" to move to the new version).


  1. Create your email as you normally would, filling in the message body, subject, any attachments, and adding recipients (as to/cc/bcc).
  2. Click the Encrypt button (See screenshot below)
  3. Send your message as normal.

Screenshot of email compose - with "Encrypt" button


Outlook Desktop

There are two ways to send encrypted emails via Outlook's desktop version.  The better way is below - but it won't work on some older versions of Outlook.

  1. Create your email as you normally would.  
  2. Before sending the message click on the Options tab.
  3. Click on Permission and choose "Encrypt-Only"
    Screenshot showing the Options, Permission, and "Encrypt-Only" option in Outlook


The alternate way is:

  1. Create your email as you normally would.  
  2. Before sending the message, place the following in the beginning of the subject line:
  3. Send your message as normal.
  4. Note: You should delete the message from your sent folder after you send the message.  The copy in your sent folder (when using the desktop version of Outlook) is unencrypted with this method.  If you need a copy of the message, copy yourself (using CC or BCC) when you send the message.  You will then receive the encrypted version.


For information on opening encrypted emails, see the Related Articles section of this page.

Best practices for sending encrypted email

Unless you are sending an encrypted email to a recipient that you have frequently sent such messages to, it is strongly recommended that you send them a separate, unencrypted email at the same time.  The purpose of this is to both let them know what you are sending them, and to send them instructions on opening the message.  We recommend something similar to the following:


Following this email, you will receive a second email from me.  This second email contains sensitive data, so it is encrypted.  The message contents are regarding <briefly mention what the encrypted message is about, and why the recipient would want or need to open it>.

If you have any issues opening it, please see the following articles on the SUNY New Paltz IT site:

Opening Encrypted Emails - Non-Office 365 users
Opening Encrypted Emails - Office 365 users



Article ID: 19073
Tue 11/29/16 9:48 AM
Fri 9/6/19 9:53 AM