Apply sensitivity labels to your files and email in Office

Note: This feature requires a Microsoft 365 subscription and is available for users and organizations whose administrators have configured sensitivity labels and turned on the feature. Please see Overview of sensitivity labels and How sensitivity labels work in Office apps for more information. 

You can apply sensitivity labels to your files and emails to keep them compliant with your organization's information protection policies.

How are sensitivity labels applied?

Sensitivity labels are applied either manually or automatically.

Note: Even if your administrator has not configured automatic labeling, they may have configured your system to require a label on all Office files and emails, and may also have selected a default label as the starting point. If labels are required you won't be able to save a Word, Excel, or PowerPoint file, or send an email in Outlook, without selecting a sensitivity label. 

To apply, change, or remove a label manually follow these steps:

  1. On the Home tab, select Sensitivity.

    Sensitivity button

    Important:  Sensitivity is not visible if your Office account isn't a work account with a Office 365 Enterprise E3 or Office 365 Enterprise E5 license assigned, if your administrator hasn't configured any sensitivity labels and enabled the feature for you, or if the Azure Information Protection client isn't running in Office.

  2. Choose the sensitivity label that applies to your file or email.

    Sensitivity label drop-down menu

    Note: If your organization has configured a website to learn more about their sensitivity labels, you will also see a Learn more... option.

To remove a sensitivity label that has already been applied to a file, unselect it from the Sensitivity menu. Naturally if your organization requires labels on all files you won't be able to remove it.

  1. On the Home tab, select Sensitivity.

    Sensitivity icon

    Important:  Sensitivity is not visible if your Office account isn't a work account with a Office 365 Enterprise E3 or Office 365 Enterprise E5 license assigned, or if your administrator hasn't configured any sensitivity labels and enabled the feature for you .

  2. Choose the sensitivity label that applies to your file or email.

    Sensitivity button with sensitivity options displayed

    Note: If your organization has configured a website to learn more about their sensitivity labels, you will also see a Learn more... option.

To remove a sensitivity label that has already been applied to a file, unselect it from the Sensitivity menu. Naturally if your organization requires labels on all files you won't be able to remove it.

Word, Excel, and PowerPoint

  1. On your Android tablet, select the Home tab (if it isn't already selected), then select Sensitivity.

    On your Android phone, select the EditEdit icon  icon on the top of your screen to expand the ribbon. On the Home tab, scroll down, then select Sensitivity.

    Screenshot of the Sensitivity button in Office for Android

    Important:  Sensitivity is not visible if your Office account isn't a work account with a Office 365 Enterprise E3 or Office 365 Enterprise E5 license assigned, or if your administrator hasn't configured any sensitivity labels and enabled the feature for you.

  2. Choose the sensitivity label that applies to your file.

    Screenshot of sensitivity labels in Office for Android

    Note: If your organization has configured a website to learn more about their sensitivity labels, you will also see a Learn more... option.

To remove a sensitivity label that has already been applied to a file, unselect it from the Sensitivity menu. Naturally if your organization requires labels on all files you won't be able to remove it.

Outlook

  1. When composing an email, select  Show more icon in Outlook mobile.

  2. Select Add Sensitivity or Edit Sensitivity.

    Screenshot of Add sensitivity button in Outlook for Android

  3. Choose the sensitivity label that applies to your email.

    Screenshot of sensitivity labels in Outlook for Android

To remove a sensitivity label that has already been applied to an email, select Edit Sensitivity and then select Remove. Naturally if your organization requires labels on all files you won't be able to remove it.

Word, Excel, and PowerPoint

  1. On your iPad, select the Home tab (if it isn't already selected), then select Sensitivity.

    On your iPhone, select the EditEdit icon  icon on the top of your screen to expand the ribbon. On the Home tab, scroll down, then select Sensitivity.

    Screenshot of the Sensitivity button in Office for iOS

    Important:  Sensitivity is not visible if your Office account isn't a work account with a Office 365 Enterprise E3 or Office 365 Enterprise E5 license assigned, or if your administrator hasn't configured any sensitivity labels and enabled the feature for you.

  2. Choose the sensitivity label that applies to your file.

    Screenshot of sensitivity labels in Office for iOS

    Note: If your organization has configured a website to learn more about their sensitivity labels, you will also see a Learn more... option.

To remove a sensitivity label that has already been applied to a file, unselect it from the Sensitivity menu. Naturally if your organization requires labels on all files you won't be able to remove it.

Outlook

  1. When composing an email, select  Outlook mobile overflow menu.

  2. Select Add Sensitivity or Edit Sensitivity.

    Edit Sensitivity in Outlook mobile

  3. Choose the sensitivity label that applies to your email.

    Screenshot of sensitivity labels in Outlook for iOS

To remove a sensitivity label that has already been applied to an email, select Edit Sensitivity and then select Remove. Naturally if your organization requires labels on all files you won't be able to remove it.

Outlook

  1. When composing an email, select Sensitivity.

    Sensitivity button in Outlook for the web

    Important:  Sensitivity is not visible if your Office account isn't a work account, and if your administrator hasn't configured any sensitivity labels and enabled the feature for you. 

  2. Choose the sensitivity label that applies to your email.

    Sensitivity button with sensitivity options in Outlook for the web

    Note: If your organization has configured a website to learn more about their sensitivity labels, you will also see a Learn More option.

To remove a sensitivity label that has already been applied to an email, unselect it from the Sensitivity menu. Naturally if your organization requires labels on all files you won't be able to remove it.

Word, Excel, PowerPoint

Note: Sensitivity labeling in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint is rolling out now for organizations that have opted-in to Enable sensitivity labels for Office files in SharePoint and OneDrive (preview).

  1. On the Home tab, select Sensitivity.

    Sensitivity button in Office on the web

    Important:  Sensitivity is not visible if your Office account isn't a work account with a Office 365 Enterprise E3 or Office 365 Enterprise E5 license assigned, or if your administrator hasn't configured any sensitivity labels and enabled the feature for you .

  2. Choose the sensitivity label that applies to your file.

    Sensitivity button and dropdown menu in Office on the web

    Note: If your organization has configured a website to learn more about their sensitivity labels, you will also see a Learn More option.

To remove a sensitivity label that has already been applied to a file, unselect it from the Sensitivity menu. Naturally if your organization requires labels on all files you won't be able to remove it.

Automatically applied (or recommended) labels

If your administrator has set up automatic labeling then files or emails that contain certain kinds of information - such as social security numbers, credit card numbers, or other sensitive information - can have a specified label either recommended for, or applied, automatically. 

If a label has been applied automatically you'll see a notification below the Office ribbon that looks like this.

Screenshot of a Policy Tip for an automatically applied sensitivity label

The notice for when a label has been recommended, but not automatically applied, looks similar.

For more information see Automatically apply or recommend sensitivity labels to your files and emails in Office 

How do I know what label is currently applied?

The way to see the currently applied label, if any, varies slightly depending upon whether you're on desktop or mobile.

On desktop apps (including Office for the web) look at the status bar at the bottom of the window.

The Excel status bar showing a "General" sensitivity label has been applied

On the Office mobile apps, select the  Three dots icon  menu.

What happens when I apply a sensitivity label?

When you apply a sensitivity label, the label information will persist with your document or email, even as it is shared between devices, applications, and cloud services. Applying a sensitivity label may also result in changes to your document or email according to your organization's configuration, such as:

  • Encryption with Information Rights Management may be applied to your document or email

  • A header or footer may appear in your document or email

  • A watermark may appear in your document

Note: If you don't have permission to change or remove a sensitivity label, you'll be prevented from doing so with an error message in most apps. In some apps, like Outlook mobile, the sensitivity labels will simply be disabled.

Justify changes to sensitivity label

Your administrator can have a policy that requires you to provide justification before changing a sensitivity label from a higher sensitivity to a lower sensitivity. In this configuration, you may be asked to choose a justification reason or provide your own when selecting a less sensitive label.

Note: You will only be asked to justify changes one time after opening a document or replying to forwarding an email message. After justifying once, subsequent changes will not require justification until that document or email message is closed and opened again.

Sensitivity label downgrade justification experience in Mac Word

What sensitivity labeling capabilities are supported in Office?

For an up-to-date list of sensitivity labeling capabilities supported in Office apps across platforms, see What sensitivity label capabilities are supported in Office today?

See also

Need more help?

Expand your skills
Explore Training
Get new features first
Join Microsoft Insiders

Was this information helpful?

Thank you for your feedback!

Thank you for your feedback! It sounds like it might be helpful to connect you to one of our Office support agents.

×