Are you overwhelmed with passwords?  Passwords for passwords?  Like you, I have so many that I’ve resorted to keeping a paper copy hidden away that I can refer back to.  Today I’m going to show you how to find your stored passwords and print them out so you don’t have to keep lists of scribbles everywhere.

My parents use recipe cards in a recipe box to keep track of all of their passwords.  A friend uses a journal to keep them all written down and at hand.  I have a printed sheet, but it doesn’t hold all of them – so I needed something comprehensive and up-to-date.

I’ll interrupt this by saying YOU SHOULD NOT KEEP PAPER COPIES OF YOUR PASSWORDS.  This is very bad.

Chris – Director of IT with over 25 years experience gave me this simple way to create and remember all of your passwords:

There are a couple of rules of thumb about password security:

  1. Make all passwords unique. Do not reuse passwords anywhere, any time.
  2. Do not use just regular words from the dictionary, like “Banana” alone, for your password.
  3. Use a combination of Letters (upper and lower case), Numbers and Symbols to make passwords complex.

Note: Rule #3 above sounds intimidating, however, there’s an easy way to keep those memorable, yet safe. Take a look at the example below. Read through it, and I promise it’ll make sense at the examples.

Step:

  1. Pick a number to start your password. In this case, I’ll use a four (4)
  2. Pick a keyword. Something that means something to you, that’s easy to remember. For me, I’ll always remember PIE
  3. Insert a dash (-)
  4. Choose the first 4 characters from the page you’re on. For example, “face” for Facebook or “twit” for Twitter
  5. Add a couple of periods on the end. Like “…”

Assembling those gives you easy to remember passwords, such as:

– 4PIE-twit…

– 4PIE-face…

– 4PIE-amaz…

– 4PIE-walm…

Nerd lesson: “Hackers” cannot see your password. When a company has a data breach and passwords are stolen, they are then sold on the “dark web”. Others buy those password lists and just try those hundreds of thousands of password to see where they can break in. Using a different password for your Facebook account from your Banking, helps ensure that you stay safe.

Okay, with what we SHOULD do out of the way, I’m going to give this tutorial for those of us that DON’T do this.

I mean Amazon sells password books, so I know there are millions out there writing them down like me.  

(Click images for Amazon affiliate links to password books shown)

. .

 

Finding and printing your passwords – iMac

 Click on the grey wheel icon SYSTEM PREFERENCES

System preferences screen

Click on the key icon which is PASSWORDS

Enter your password for your passwords – it’s usually the password you use to open your iMac (unless you’ve changed it)

At the bottom of your list of passwords you will see a circle with three dots inside it.  Click it and a dropdown will pop up.  Click EXPORT ALL PASSWORDS

You’ll get a confirmation pop-up that asks if you’re sure you want to export your passwords.  Click EXPORT PASSWORDS

A pop-up will come up asking where you want them exported to.  For this tutorial I’m exporting them to my desktop – but this isn’t a good idea if more than one person uses your computer.  Choose someplace that you will know to look for it.  At the very least change the name so it isn’t as obvious.  (I used password just to make this tutorial easy)

You’ll get another pop-up requesting your password to allow it to export to your desired location.  Again, this is generally the password you use to unlock your computer.

Your password file (.csv) will now be in the location you indicated.  Again, for my example, I used my Desktop

Double click the file to open it.

You can print your password list from here by clicking FILE in the top menu bar, then PRINT from the drop down that appears.

BUT

your passwords aren’t in alphabetical order – which can be tedious if you need to look it up.  For example, my computer has saved every password known to man, so my list is 422 entries.  I don’t want to scroll through 11 pages of passwords every time I forget one, so for me, alphabetical order just made sense.

To do that you’ll need to:

In the top right corner of your screen you’ll see a circle with three lines inside it titled ORGANIZE click it and it will give you three options below it

Select SORT

From the sort menu you’ll want to SORT ENTIRE TABLE, then choose a parameter in the next drop down menu.  I used TITLE

Now all of your passwords are sorted in alphabetical order – so much easier to find what you’re looking for now!

You can print your password list from here by clicking FILE in the top menu bar, then PRINT from the drop down that appears.

OR

you can make it even easier to read (my eyes aren’t getting any younger) by:

clicking FORMAT in the top right corner of your screen

then scroll down a bit and click on the check box next to ALTERNATING ROW COLOUR.  This will help delineate the lines so your eyes can track easily across rows.  Worth doing in my opinion – especially since it’s only 2 clicks.

You can print your password list from here by clicking FILE in the top menu bar, then PRINT from the drop down that appears.

You’ll see a print preview of sheets on sheets.  I printed these and they are so small they are almost unreadable, so I’ll show you how to make it reasonably-sized.  Click on the image of the paper in LANDSCAPE so that all of your columns will fit on one sheet.

Adjust your page margins and header/footer to 18pt.  Your CONTENT SCALE should read somewhere near 88% – which is a readable size

Then click print!

No need to buy books, or recipe cards, or keep sheets of notes everywhere so you can remember your logins.  Finding and printing your passwords to a list will give you every User ID and password for every site you have ever visited…

and we’ve put it in alphabetical order!

I don’t know about you, but this just makes my brain happy.

Now, DO NOT STORE THIS LIST ANYWHERE OBVIOUS.

Chances probably aren’t high that a burglar will break into your house with the goal of finding and stealing your password list – but there’s no need to tempt fate either.

The other advantage of having a printed list like this is that should you ever be unable to access your computer (hospitalization, death) – your executor or next-of-kin will have access to all of the sites you are registered on and can cancel all of your accounts easily.

So basically this article is a “don’t do it…. but if you’re going to anyway” sort of thing.

If you aren’t on a Mac/Apple product, then check out this article: Show, edit, delete or export passwords in Google Chrome.  

For better or worse, I used this for my password list, and thought I’d share in case you were in the same boat.

Have a great one!

Leave a Reply