How to unlock a Word document
You can unlock a Word document in several ways, from saving it as a new file to removing the password requirement completely.
This article will explain the steps you need to take to unlock a Word document that’s password protected, allowing you to easily access and edit it.
Let’s go through the various options in more detail.
How to unlock a Word document for editing
Tracking documents and keeping on top of passwords can be tricky, so sometimes you need an article like this to help you when you’re stuck.
If a document can’t be opened in anything other than “read-only” mode, this means the ability to edit it has been restricted.
Luckily, there are various ways to get around this issue, including the following:
- Open the read-only document on your computer.
- Click on “File” then “Save As” to save the document under a different filename and in another location.
This should solve the read-only file restriction, meaning your document is now editable. If it doesn’t, continue with the following steps:
- Go to where you’ve saved the file. Rename the extension, changing it from .doc or .docx to .zip.
- Click “Yes” when prompted to confirm this change.
- Open the zip file using Windows Explorer on your computer.
- Right-click on the Word folder and find “settings.xml”.
- Delete the file from the list.
- Change the file extension back to .doc or .docx.
This should allow you to edit the Word file.
How to unlock a Word document without a password
There are two different ways passwords can be used to restrict editing access for Word documents.
If your Word document templates are protected by a “password to modify”, you’ll have the option to edit the document but not to save the original version.
You can thus click “Save as” and store it as a new document.
If your document is protected with a “password to restrict editing”, on the other hand, you won’t be able to make any changes unless you remove these restrictions.
So, let’s look at how you can work around this.
Use TXT to make your Word doc unrestricted
- Open your password-protected document.
- Go to “Save As” then “Save as Type” and choose “Word XML Document (*.xml)”.
- Close Microsoft Word.
- Find your new .xml file (the one you just created).
- Right-click on this and open it in a TXT editor like Notepad.
- Hit “Ctrl + F” on your keyboard.
- With your “Find” dialogue box now open, type in “enforcement”. You should either find w: enforcement=”1″ or w: enforcement=”on”.
- Replace the “1” with a “0” or the “on” with an “off” to unlock the Word document.
- Save and close the .xml file.
- Find your .xml file in the folder, right-click on it, and open it in Microsoft Word.
- Go to “File” and “Save As” and click on “Word Document (*.docx) from the drop-down menu.
- Click “Save”.
The next time you go to open this document, you shouldn’t need a password.
Removing the password requirement for a Word document
To remove the password requirement for a Word document when you don’t know the password, you can do the same as above.
If you do know the password, however, simply follow these steps:
- Open the Word doc and enter the password.
- Go to “File” > “Info” > “Protect document” > “Encrypt with password”.
- Delete the password in the “Password” box.
- Click “OK”.
This will remove the password protection from the document completely.
Manage your documents more efficiently with PandaDoc
Even without a password, you can still get into your password-protected documents and edit them by following the steps above.
If all of this sounds a little fussy, though, and you’d prefer a more efficient document management system, PandaDoc offers just that.
Our document management software delivers an intuitive and user-friendly interface, so you won’t have to search for “how to unlock my Word document” on Google ever again!