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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Unprotect Protected Word Docs

Document protection on Word documents is like the little locks you put on your luggage: it's only good for honest thieves. As with anything software, you can break into it. But, keeping this realistic, let's say you have a document that you created and you forgot the password (otherwise, you'd just use the password, right?). Here's what you can try:

1. Insert the document

This works well if you don't have Open protection on the document:

  1. Open Word
  2. Insert > File
2. Save as HTML, RTF or TXT

Suppose you can open the document, but you need to be able to edit it, or at least get to the text. This works well if you can get it open:
  1. Open the document
  2. File > Save As
  3. Save it as an HTML, RTF or TXT document
  4. Open the newly saved document and get what you need
3. You can hack it out (for lack of a better phrase)

I read this on Expert's Exchange; it's so not original. So, don't come blaming me for showing you this.
  1. Open the document
  2. Hit Alt-Shift-F11 (opens the document in the script editor)
  3. Search of 'password'
    You'll actually find something like this:
    1AE1D34Bct Password>
  4. Replace the password string (in this case 1AE1D34B) with 00000000
  5. Save the document in the Script Editor close the document
  6. Open the document up again
4. Do OCR on it

All you have to do is take a screenshot, run it through Microsoft Office Document Imaging and perform Optical Character Recognition (OCR) on it. You'll only get the text, but at least you won't have to retype (much of) it.

Alternatively, you can go the .pdf route as well. Save/print as .pdf, open in a PDF reader and edit away.

5. Get a program/service to do it for you

This almost always works. Assuming the document isn't damaged beyond repair (that's another article), then try one of the following (comment if you know of more):
  1. OzGrid Software Word Password Recovery
That about covers it. With great power comes great responsibility - so if you need to do any of these steps, then know that you are 100% liable for anything you do. Don't send any lawyer hounds my way because you did something you shouldn't have!


Lisa and Ken said...

This is what I call the "Henson" method:

Email the document to yourself in Outlook (if it didn't come in an email already). Preview the file in Outlook. Copy the document into a new document and bam! There it is. No protection and everything original.

Dave said...

Hey, I like that :) I think I'll have to try that out and add the Henson Method to the list of suggestions!

Alex said...

Couple days before I was in complicated situation with my word files. But a friend advised me a tool, which saved me and I hope would be usable for other questions not less - repair .docx document.

Unknown said...

Great posting and it can help to recover files of word. You can also recover the password of word with the help of microsoft office password recovery tool.