5 Ways to Unlock Word Document with or without Password

author_icon Ronnie Barnes time_icon Last updated: May 21, 2019 02:32 pm tips_icon Word

You've just completed a very important letter for your boss. You were under instruction to never let anyone else see the highly sensitive information in the letter. So the first thing you did when you completed the letter was to set access restriction by assigning a password to it. That was four days ago, now as you attempt to make a few edits to the document before sending it to your boss, you discover that none of the passwords you regularly use will work.

You're sure you remember the password, but every time you type in a different version of the password, Word promptly notifies you that it is the wrong one. Before you quickly begin re-typing the document, read on. In this article, we are going to share with you the various ways to unlock Word document whether you have the password or not.

1. Unlock a Word Document with Password

The Word password is a solid defense to prevent other people from having access to the document. When you know the password, you can easily unlock the document. Here's a step by step guide to help you do that;

For Word 2007 and Earlier

Step 1: Open the Word document you want to unlock and then click on the "Office" button.

save as option

Step 2: Click "Save As', and then tick "Tool Button' > General Options".


Step 3: Choose "Password to Open" and then enter the password to unlock the document.


For Word 2010 and Newer

Step 1: Open the Word document and then click on "File > Protect Document".


Step 2: On the drop down menu, click on "Encrypt with Password" and enter the password, then click "OK" to complete the process.

encrypt word document

2. Unlock a Word Document without Password

2.1 Unlock Word File via VBA Code

If you don't know the password on your Word document, you can use this method to recover the password. Although, we must warn you that this method will only work if the password is 3 characters or less, anything longer and you won't be able to recover it. Here's how to do it;

Step 1: Begin by creating a new document in Word.

Step 2: Hit "ALT + F11" on your keyboard to open Microsoft Visual Basic applications.

Step 3: Tap on "Insert" button, then click "Module".


Step 4: Type in the following codes into the Module;

vba code

Step 5: Now hit "F5" on your keyboard to run the code.

Step 6: Find the protected document in the File Explorer and open it. It will be opened in Read-only mode with the password displayed on a small box.

2.2 Recover Word Opening Password Using Passper for Word

If you have forgotten the password and it is more than 3 characters long, ruling out the VBA code method, you will need a third party tool to help you unlock the document. The good news is we have a tool that is not just very easy to use and highly effective, but also very fast.Passper for Word is designed to make the recovery process simple and effective even if you don't have a single clue what the password could be. When you use Passper for Word, you'll be able to recover the password in a matter of minutes.

  • Provides 4 types of password attack named: Brute Force Attack, Combination Attack, Mask Attack and Dictionary Attack, you can choose one based on the password information you have in mind.

  • Recover opening password for Word document with these 4 attack methods.

  • Remove edit restrictions on Word files in one click if you are only allowed to read it.

  • The fastest recovery speed and highest chance of recovery are guaranteed with inbuilt Multi-core CPU and GPU.

  • All the data saved on the Word file will never be lost or deleted after using the program.

  • Fully supports MS Word 2019/2018/2017/2013/2010/2007/2003.

Free DownloadFor Win 10/8/7/XP/Vista

Follow these simple steps if you applied an opening password to the document but you have either misplaced the password or you don't remember it and you can't access the document;

Step 1: Download and install Passper for Word on to your computer. Run the program as soon as the installation is complete and then select "Recover Passwords" from the main window.

recover word passwords step1

Step 2: Click on the "Add" button to browse the files on your computer for the document you want to unlock.

Once the document is added to the main program, you should see 4 different attack modes. The attack mode you choose will depend on how much information you remember about the password, the length of the password and the possible characters in the password. Choose an attack mode for your particular situation.

recover word passwords step2

Step 3: Once you've selected a suitable attack mode, click "Recover". The program will immediately begin using the information you have provided to try and find the password for the program. Please be patient while the program recovers the password. The time you have to wait will be determined by how much you know about the password and the attack mode you chose.

recover word passwords step3

When the process is complete, the program will display the recovered password in the resultant interface. You can then use the password to unlock the document.

2.3 Remove Editing Restrictions Using Passper for Word

At the same time, Passper for word can also help you remove editing restrictions placed on a Word document and make it editable. Here's how to do that;

Free DownloadFor Win 10/8/7/XP/Vista

Step 1: Open Passper for Word on your computer and this time select the option, "Remove Restrictions".

remove word restrictions step1

Step 2: Import the restricted Word file into the program by clicking on the "Import File" option and browsing for the file.

remove word restrictions step2

Step 3: Now click on the "Remove" button to allow the program to begin removing the restrictions placed on the document.

In a few seconds, the document will be editable again; All restrictions will have been lifted.

remove word restrictions step3

2.4 How to Unlock Word File without 3rd-Party Software

If you would rather not use any 3rd party software to unlock Word document, you can try the following method although you will need to modify certain details of the document for it to work. Here's how to do it;

Step 1: Start by opening the password protected Word document.

Step 2: Navigate to "Save As' > "Save as Type' and click "Word XML Document (*.xml)'.


Step 3: Close Microsoft Word.

Step 4: Now find the new .xml file you've just created (it should be in the same folder as your Word Document".

xml file

Right click on it and open with a TXT editor such as WordPad or Notepad. If you have another word processor on your computer other than Word, you can use that too.


Step 5: With the document open in Notepad or other TXT editor, hit "Ctrl + F" on your keyboard to open the "Find" dialogue box.

Step 6: Type in "enforcement" and you should find either "w: enforcement+ "1" or w: enforcement+ "on".


Step 7: Replace the "1" with a "0" or the "on" with an "off". This will disable the enforcement which will unlock the Word document.

Step 8: Once you've made these changes, save the .xml file and close it.

Step 9: Now go back to the location of the .xml file, right-click on it and open it in Microsoft Word.

Step 10: Once the file is open, go to "File > Save As" from the "Save as Type" section, choose "Word Document (*.docx) from the drop-down menu. You can also choose to rename the file although that is not necessary unless you want to preserve the old protected document.

save word document in doc format

Step 11: Click "Save" and the next time you open this document, you will not be required to enter a password.

So, the next time you lock yourself out of your Word document, don't panic! There are a lot of ways to unlock the protected file.


By Ronnie Barnes to Word

Posted on Apr 26, 2019 ( Updated: May 21, 2019 )

Ronnie Barnes, a blogger with more than 5-year experience in writing tips about password recovery for Windows and office files.