Known issues with sensitivity labels in Office

This document details the known issues and workarounds with the sensitivity labeling feature in Office and will be kept updated as new issues are discovered and known issues are fixed.

Last updated: November 23rd, 2020 

Issue

Affected Applications

Workaround

The Sensitivity button is not available.

All

The Sensitivity button is available if the user account that is signed into Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or Outlook is a Microsoft 365 subscriber and has labels published in the Security and Compliance Center.

Important: Sensitivity labels must be published from the Microsoft 365 compliance center, the Microsoft 365 security center, or the Security & Compliance Center to be available in Office applications. If your organization has sensitivity labels published from the Azure portal, they need to be migrated.

The Sensitivity button shows sensitivity labels for one of my accounts, but I want to pick from sensitivity labels from another account.

Word, Excel, PowerPoint

The Sensitivity button shows sensitivity labels corresponding to the primary Office account shown in the top right corner of the app. Click your name or picture to open the account manager where you can select a different account. The Sensitivity button will adjust automatically to show sensitivity labels corresponding to that account.

Note: In Outlook, the Sensitivity button automatically adjusts to show sensitivity labels corresponding to the From account.

A sensitivity label that's configured for the encryption option In Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, prompt users to specify permissions can be applied but doesn't prompt for permissions and no encryption is applied.

Word, Excel, PowerPoint

One of the following:

  • Configure the label to also have the encryption option In Outlook, enforce restrictions equivalent to the Do Not Forward option. The label then doesn't display in Word, Excel, or PowerPoint when these apps don't support the setting that lets users assign permissions.

  • Wait for the fix, starting in build 16.0.12527. After the fix, the label doesn't display in Word, Excel, or PowerPoint when these apps don't support the setting that lets users assign permissions.

  • Use the preview version that supports the setting that lets users assign permissions.

If your workbook has an image in the header, and you apply a sensitivity label that is configured to apply a watermark, then the image in the header will be replaced by the watermark.

Excel

After applying the sensitivity label, remove the watermark and insert the previous image into the header.

Sensitivity labels that apply a header, footer, or watermark don't correctly replace the original text when the document already has these visual markings applied by the Azure Information Protection client (classic).

Word, Excel, PowerPoint

None at this time. 

Sensitivity labels that don't apply encryption can be removed with document inspection. For example, from the File tab, if you select Info > Check for Issues >  Inspect Document >Document Properties and Personal Information, and then remove the document properties that are found, the sensitivity label is removed.

Word, Excel, PowerPoint

None at this time. 

You are not prompted to apply a sensitivity label to your documents or emails even when your organization has enabled the "Require users to apply a label to their email or documents" label policy setting.

All

None at this time. 

The label policy setting "Require users to apply a label to their email or documents" is not yet supported in this version of Office. 

Issue

Affected Applications

Workaround

The Sensitivity button is not available.

All

The Sensitivity button is available if the user account that is signed into Word, Excel, or PowerPoint is a Microsoft 365 subscriber and has labels published in the Security and Compliance Center.

Important: Sensitivity labels must be published from the Microsoft 365 compliance center, the Microsoft 365 security center, or the Security & Compliance Center to be available in Office applications. If your organization has sensitivity labels published from the Azure portal, they need to be migrated.

In addition, if you have multiple accounts in Outlook, the Sensitivity button is only available if the user account that is signed in to Word, Excel, or PowerPoint applications matches the account from which you're sending the message. 

Sign out of Word, Excel, or PowerPoint. Sign back in with the account you'd like to use for sensitivity labeling.

The first time you select a sensitivity label configured for encryption in any Office application, you are asked to sign in.

All

Sign in.

You shouldn't be asked to sign in again in the future when you select sensitivity labels configured for encryption.

You are not prompted to apply a sensitivity label to your documents or emails even when your organization has enabled the "Require users to apply a label to their email or documents" label policy setting.

All

None at this time. 

The label policy setting "Require users to apply a label to their email or documents" is not yet supported in this version of Office.

Email message drafts are not autosaved when there is no connection to the Internet, and your organization has a default label policy configured to apply encryption-enabled labels to all new messages.

Outlook

If your organization has configured a default sensitivity label policy to automatically apply a sensitivity label with encryption enabled to new email messages, you will need Internet connectivity for your drafts to be saved.

If you need to author email messages offline, ask your administrator to disable your default label policy or change it to apply a label that has encryption disabled.

Labeled email messages that were delivered before the sensitivity labeling feature was enabled may not display the label.

Outlook

Remove your account from Outlook for Mac and re-add it. This will cause mails to be downloaded again, and sensitivity labels should be displayed.

If your workbook has an image in the header, and you apply a sensitivity that is configured to apply a watermark, then the image in the header will be replaced by the watermark.

Excel

After applying the sensitivity, remove the watermark and insert the previous image into the header.

Issue

Affected Applications

Workaround

The Sensitivity button is not available.

All

The Sensitivity button is available if the user account that is signed into Word, Excel, or PowerPoint is a Microsoft 365 subscriber and has labels published in the Security and Compliance Center.

Important: Sensitivity labels must be published from the Microsoft 365 compliance center, the Microsoft 365 security center, or the Security & Compliance Center to be available in Office applications. If your organization has sensitivity labels published from the Azure portal, they need to be migrated.

Sign out of Word, Excel, or PowerPoint. Sign back in with the account you'd like to use for sensitivity labeling.

You are not required to apply a Sensitivity label to your documents or emails even when your organization has enabled the "Require users to apply a label to their email or documents" label policy setting.

All

None at this time. 

The label policy setting "Require users to apply a label to their email or documents" is not yet supported in this version of Office.

If your workbook has an image in the header, and you apply a sensitivity that is configured to apply a watermark, then the image in the header will be replaced by the watermark.

Excel

After applying the sensitivity, remove the watermark and insert the previous image into the header.

Issue

Affected Applications

Workaround

The Sensitivity button is not available.

All

The Sensitivity button is available if the user account that is signed into Word, Excel, or PowerPoint is a Microsoft 365subscriber and has labels published in the Security and Compliance Center.

Important: Sensitivity labels must be published from the Microsoft 365 compliance center, the Microsoft 365 security center, or the Security & Compliance Center to be available in Office applications. If your organization has sensitivity labels published from the Azure portal, they need to be migrated.

Sign out of Word, Excel, or PowerPoint. Sign back in with the account you'd like to use for sensitivity labeling.

Even when the Sensitivity button is available, I still see IRM policy templates available in the Restrict Permissions menu.

All

None at this time.

IRM policy templates should be hidden from the Restrict Permissions menu when the Sensitivity button is available (since most organizations prefer that Sensitivity be used to apply IRM policy templates as necessary instead of relying on their users to apply  IRM policy templates manually).

On Office for iOS, these IRM policy templates are not hidden in version 2.21, but they will be hidden in a future update (in cases where Sensitivity is available).

You are not required to apply a sensitivity label to your documents or emails even when your organization has enabled the "Require users to apply a label to their email or documents" label policy setting.

All

None at this time. 

The label policy setting "Require users to apply a label to their email or documents" is not yet supported in this version of Office.

If your workbook has an image in the header, and you apply a sensitivity that is configured to apply a watermark, then the image in the header will be replaced by the watermark.

Excel

After applying the sensitivity, remove the watermark and insert the previous image into the header.

Note: The Sensitivity button for Word Online, Excel Online, and PowerPoint Online is in preview, and must be enabled by an administrator.

This section describes the known issues working with documents in Office Online and emails using Outlook on the web.

Issue

Affected Applications

Workaround

An error like the following is shown when you open a labeled & encrypted document.

Sorry, Word Online can't open this document because it's protected by Information Rights Management (IRM). To view this document please open it in Microsoft Word.

Word, Excel, PowerPoint

Click Edit in Word, Edit in Excel, or Edit in PowerPoint to open the document in the desktop version.

Alternatively, ask your administrator to enable sensitivity labels for Office files in SharePoint and OneDrive.

The autoclassification policy tip may disappear. In some cases the warning doesn't reappear after sensitive content is removed and added again. This doesn't impact labels applied to a file.

Excel

Go to Home > Sensitivity to change the label. 

Users will see an alert when attempting to apply or change a label that includes a watermark.

You can't apply this sensitivity label in Excel for the web. But if you have the Excel desktop app installed, click Open in Desktop App and apply it there.

Excel

Open the document in the desktop app to apply or change the label.

In editing view, labels with watermarks will only appear in the document header area.

Word

Switch to Viewing mode to see the watermarks in the body of the document as expected.

If you encounter an issue that is not listed here, please submit feedback!

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