How to edit a locked Word document

Need to edit a Microsoft Word document but find that it's locked and you can't change it? If a document was encrypted in Microsoft Word then you won't be able to edit it without a password. Word documents protected for forms aren't totally secure. You may not be able to simply discover the password, but you can easily remove it using the script editor or by using another method. In a few steps, you could fix a locked Word document problem.

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Open the document in Word. Then press "Alt," "Shift" and "F11" simultaneously. The document will then be opened in a script editor.


Select "Find" from the "Edit" menu. In the "Find and Replace" dialog, type "password" (without quotes) in the "Find what?" field. The search will take you to the part of the Word document where the password is stored.


Notice the unique sequence of digits in the middle of that line, right after the password indicator. w:UnprotectPassword 5F23E53C /w:UnprotectPassword

If you need to replace the original password later, make a note of the sequence of digits before overwriting with zeros:

w:UnprotectPassword 00000000 w:UnprotectPassword


Save the document within the script editor. Close the editor. You can now unlock the fields without the original password from the Forms toolbar. This method only works on versions before Word 2007, as Word 2007 has no script editor.

For versions of Word 2007 and later: Open a new blank document, then insert the form into that document by selecting "Insert," then "File." Select "Insert tab," "Object," then "Text From File." This will create a copy of the form but without copy protection. However, it may also alter the form structure and the form may no longer appear as it previously appeared, especially if it was a different form or version of Word that it was created in.

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