How to Encrypt Email in Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook?

Considering the vulnerability of email account against rising cybercrimes, every email service user, be it Gmail, Yahoo, or Outlook, wants to keep the security of their email account intact using all the available features. To ensure the security of your email account, the first thing you are suggested to do is encrypt emails you send from your email account. If you wish to know how to encrypt emails, below you can find the information on how to encrypt email in Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook.

Guide to Encrypt Email in Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook

Encrypting Email in Gmail

Gmail comes with a confidential mode that allows you to protect sensitive information of your emails and attachments from unauthorized access. Using the confidential mode to configure the expiration date for your emails or refuse access at any time. The recipients of the confidential email are provided with the option to copy, print, forward, and download disabled.

To send emails and attachments confidentially, follow these steps:


  • Although the confidential mode in Gmail prevents the recipients from sharing your email accidentally, it can’t prevent a recipient from capturing screenshots or photos of such emails or attachments.
  • If you are using Gmail with your work or school account, you will need to contact your admin to ensure you can use confidential mode.
  1. Go to your Gmail account on your computer and click on the Compose
  2. Next, you will need to click on the Turn on confidential mode option located in the lower-right of the window.

NOTE: If you have enabled the confidential mode for an email, you will need to go to the bottom of the email and click on the Edit option.

  1. Then, you will need to configure an expiration date and passcode. These settings are known for affecting both the email text and attachments (if any).
  • If you select the “No SMS passcode” option, only the Gmail app users will be able to open the email directly. However, the recipients who don’t use Gmail will get a passcode.
  • If you select the “SMC passcode” option, a passcode will be sent to the recipient’s phone number via a text message. Here, you will need to make sure that you enter the phone number of the recipient and not yours.
  1. After that, click on the Save
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And, this is how you can encrypt emails in your Gmail account.

Encrypting Email in Outlook Mail

When you encrypt an email message in Outlook, it gets converted from readable plain text into scrambled cipher text. The recipient who will be having the private key will be able to match the public key used to encrypt the email will be able to decipher the email for reading. However, a recipient without the correct corresponding private key, will only indecipherable text. Outlook supports two encryption options:

  • S/MIME Encryption: To use this encryption, both the sender and recipient must have a mail application that supports the S/MIME standard. Outlook supports the S/MIME standard.
  • Microsoft 365 Message Encryption: For Microsoft 365 Message Encryption, it is necessary for a sender to have Microsoft 365 Message Encryption, which comes in the Office 365 Enterprise E3 license.

Now, to know how to encrypt emails in Outlook, follow these steps:

NOTE: The following steps are for the newer version Outlook. However, before you begin this procedure, make sure to first add a certificate to the keychain on your computer. Once you have your signing certificate configured on your computer, you will need to set it up in Outlook.

  1. Go to Options > Trust Center > Trust Center Settings option in the File menu of your Outlook.
  2. Next, select the Email Security option in the left-hand side pane.
  3. Select the Settings option in the Encrypted email
  4. Then, click Choose option and select the S/MIME certificate under Certificates and Algorithms
  5. After that, select the OK

If you are an Office Insider with Microsoft 365 subscription, these are the latest additions:

Open a new email message, select Options, click Encrypt, and choose Encrypt with S/MIME option from the drop-down. You will see an Encrypt with S/MIME option if you have an S/MIME certificate installed on your computer. For Outlook 2019 and Outlook 2016, select Options and then Permissions option in an email message.

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Encrypting with Microsoft 365 Message Encryption

  • If you are a Microsoft 365 subscriber, this is what you will find new:

Select Options, then Encrypt option in an email message. Then, choose the encryption that has restrictions you wish to enforce, such as Encrypt-Only or Do Not Forward.

  • For Outlook 2019 and 2016

Go to Options > Permissions in an email message and select the encryption option that has the restrictions you would like to enforce., like Do Not Forward.

To Encrypt a Single Email

  1. Click on the File > Properties option in the message that you are composing.
  2. Next, you will need to click on the Security Settings option and then select the checkbox next to the option – Encrypt message contents and attachments.
  3. Then, compose your email and click on the Send

To Encrypt all Outgoing Emails

When you select to encrypt all outgoing emails automatically, you can write and send emails the same way as any other emails, however, all potential recipients must have your digital ID to decode or view your emails.

  1. Click on the File tab and go to Options > Trust Center > Trust Center Settings
  2. Next, go to the Email Security tab, in the Encrypted email section, you will need to select the checkbox next to Encrypt contents and attachments for outgoing messages.
  3. Now if you wish to change the additional settings, for example, a particular certificate to use, click on the Settings option and make the desired changes.

Encrypting Email with Yahoo Mail

Although Yahoo Mail is known for protecting your emails in transit using TLS (Transport Layer Security), however, you will need to use a free email encryption browser plugin to activate end-to-end encryption. Earlier there was a first-party encryption plugin for Yahoo Mail, however, the project seems to be withdrawn now.

There are numerous plugins available online so you can use any plugins to encrypt your emails with Yahoo Mail. Depending on the web browser you are using, you can download a compatible email encryption plugin and use it with your Yahoo Mail account to encrypt your outgoing emails.

So, these are the steps that you will need to follow to encrypt email in Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo Mail.

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