How to Unlock a Word Document Without a Password

Updated April 17, 2017

You should always write down the password to your password-protected documents, because unless you use the same password every time, it may be difficult months later to remember the password you used. However, if you lose or forget the password to your Word document, all is not lost. There is at least one way to "unlock" your document so that you can revise it or send it to someone.

Select the entire document by pressing "Ctrl+A" if you are the author. Copy the document by pressing "Ctrl+C."

Open a new blank Word document. Paste the old document into the new Word document by pressing "Ctrl+V." Save the document with a new name.

Click the "Stop Protection" button in the "Restrict Formatting and Editing" task pane, if you are the reviewer of the document, to determine whether it is password protected. Follow Steps 1 and 2 if it is password protected.


On Word documents authored in software versions after Word 2000, the document you paste into the new Word document will retain all the reviewers' marks and colour-coded settings. In Word 2000 and earlier versions, the changes are accepted in the newly copied version of the text, even if you are not ready to accept the changes. Documents that are locked are not necessarily password protected. Generally, the author of a document recalls whether a document is password protected. However, if you are the reviewer of a document, and the document will not allow you to enter revisions or comments, you may not need a password to unlock the document. Try Step 3 first to determine whether the document is password protected.

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