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How to unpassword protect a word document

Updated April 17, 2017

Microsoft Word 2007 passwords are encrypted by "AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) with a 128-bit key and SHA-1 hashing," according to TechRepublic. If you have the password for the document, removing password protection is simply a matter of deletion. If you have forgotten your document password, you best bet is to try to guess the password first. If guessing does not work, you can purchase a password-cracking tool to break the password for you.

Open Word 2007 and then click on the "Microsoft Office Button," located in the top left corner of the screen. Click "Open" from the drop-down menu. Select the file with the password you want to remove and click "Open." Type in the "Current File Password" and click "OK."

Click on the "Microsoft Office Button," and then select "Prepare." Click on "Encrypt Document," and then "Highlight the Password" in the "Encrypt" dialogue box. Press the "Delete Key" to remove the password, and then click "OK."

Click on the "Microsoft Office Button," and then click on "Save." If you close the file without saving, it will still contain the password.

Purchase and download shareware cracking software to your computer. Shareware programs, such as LastBit's Word Password or SmartKey's Office Password Recovery, give a user many options for breaking a Word 2007 password. Install the program on your computer following the program's installation wizard.

Open the program and then open the password-protected document in the cracking program. Decide what type of password search you want to use, such as a dictionary attack (using words from the dictionary) or brute force attack (trying every possible password).

Set how long the password is (you can count the black dots in the password box) and set the program to search for the password. Depending on how hard the password is, the process can take a few seconds or a minute or two.

Warning

Cracking passwords may be illegal if you are not the legal owner of all files or data. If you are breaking the password on the behalf of someone else, you need permission from the legitimate owner to crack passwords on her behalf. Be certain that you have the legal right to access all data, information and files that have been hidden before attempting to crack or recover passwords. While password-cracking tools may be legal to purchase and possess in many places, using them without proper authority may be illegal.

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About the Author

Translating technical jargon into everyday English is one of Anni Martin’s specialties. She is an educator and writer who spent over 13 years teaching and creating documentation at the University of Missouri. She holds a Master’s Degree in educational technology as well as Bachelor’s degrees in journalism and political science from the University of Missouri.