Unprotect MS Word Doument.

PlayOffbeat by





Introduction: Unprotect MS Word Doument.

This is a how to on how to recover access to a word document that has been protected to disable editing.

In MS word if you go to the tools menu then select 'protect document' you can set the password to protect the document from editing. Useful feature if it s a memo or a form that needs to be passed about and you don't want anyone to make changes to it.

Now what happens if you forget the password and you need to make changes to the document?

For this instructable you will need.

1) A protected word document.
2) Ms Word.
3) Text Editor (like WordPad or Notepad).
4) Hex editor (Like WinHex).

Step 1: Method 1: Copy Contents of the Document Into a New Document.

One of the disadvantages of using this method is that you might mess up some of the formatting especially if you don't have all the fonts etc. Also some of the protection options even might prevent copying.

Open the protected document do a Ctrl + A to select everything in the document.

Do a Ctrl + C to copy the selected area

Open a new document

Do a Ctrl + V to paste the selected area

Save the new document.

The new document is ready for you to make changes.

Step 2: Method 2: Format the Word Document.

a. Make a copy of the protected document incase you mess it up ;0)
b. Open the protected document in MS word.
c. Under the file menu select 'Save As'.
d. Under 'Save as type' choose "Web page (*.htm; *.html)" and click save
e. Close word.

Step 3: Method 2: Find the Password.

In WordPad (or notepad) open the HTML document you just created.

Search through the document for tag.

The value between the open and closed tag represents the password. It should be eight characters in length. Write this value down. (Characters: 12345678).

Close WordPad

Step 4: Method 2: Hack the Document.

Open the protected document in WinHex (or other hex editor).

Search the document for the characters you found in the previous step 12345678 (1FC6CBEB)

but in the order 78563412 (EBCBC61F)

Once you have found the hex values overwrite them with 0's (zeros)

Save the document

Step 5: Method 2: Open the Document.

Open the protected document in MS word.

Under the Tools Menu select Unprotect document

Don't type anything in the password box just click ok.

Document is now unprotected and is ready for you to make changes.



    • Pocket-Sized Contest

      Pocket-Sized Contest
    • Pro Tips Challenge

      Pro Tips Challenge
    • Science of Cooking

      Science of Cooking

    We have a be nice policy.
    Please be positive and constructive.




    works love it

    This works if you've got Acrobat Pro.
    Open your MS Word document.
    Save as PDF.
    Open the PDF file.
    Save as MS Word.

    nope. even if you have the latest acrobat x, your method doesn't work. acrobat doesn't include tags/comments/notes &c from a protected word doc in its pdf. so if one has a header/footer, it gets all mixed up in the finally retrieved doc from acrobat. of course, you get a final protection-removed word doc but just have a look at the formattings. everything you get is so clunky and goofed up like a badly dressed salad.

    mr_e has given a way far easier and quicker than yours.

    Thanks a million!! Simple yet effective instructions.

    Worked great, thanks. I was able to recover some documents for the company I work for and make them usable again.

    Hi, I tried but in step, the eight charter which I found was 00000000, what should I do now?

    Thank you very much, it has helped me a lot, God bless you!!!

    This is plain awesome.

    Thanks a lot, just saved me a ton of time...

    I can't believe there are paid tools to do this...