How to Unlock a Password Protected Word Document

Microsoft Word offers different levels of protection that can be applied to your documents, allowing you to control whether someone else can edit or even open their contents. You do this by password-locking your documents and adjusting various security settings to suit your individual needs.

While these features aren’t available in Word Online, you can control who you share your documents with and whether or not you have access to edit those documents.

Contents
  1. How to Lock a Word Document in Windows
  2. How to Lock a Word Document on macOS
  3. Add restrictions to a Word document
  4. Unlock a Word document

How to Lock a Word Document in Windows

Follow the steps below to lock a document with the password protection feature in Word 2010 or later.

  1. Open the Word document you want to protect.

  2. Select tab File in the top left corner, then select Information on the left menu bar.

  3. Select Secure Document

  4. A drop-down menu will appear with several options.

  5. Select Encrypt with a password

  6. You will be prompted for a password, which will be needed when someone tries to open this document in the future.

    1. A warning † This password not recoverable, so keep it in a safe place.
  7. Select Okay

  8. You will now be prompted to re-enter your password. Do it and choose Okay

  9. In section Secure Document a message appears stating that a password is required to open this document.

How to Lock a Word Document on macOS

Follow the instructions below to lock a document using the password protection feature in macOS.

  1. Open the Word document you want to protect.

  2. Go to the tab Overview at the top of the Word interface.

  3. Click Secure Document

  4. The Password Protect dialog box should now appear over the main Word window.

  5. To request a password to view this document, enter it in the field Set a password to open this document † You will then be prompted to re-enter this password.

  6. To request a password to make changes to this document, enter it in the field Set a password to change this document † You will then be prompted to re-enter this password.

    1. No password is required to access and read the contents of this document. These passwords not recoverable, so keep them in a safe place.

  7. Click Okay to partially or completely block the document.

Add restrictions to a Word document

In addition to locking a Word document with a password, you can apply additional restrictions to control specific types of edits that other users can make. This is useful if you’ve granted good access, but want to limit some changes to the document’s content.

Add Restrictions to Windows

  1. Select tab Overview at the top of the Word interface.

  2. Select Restrict Editing in section Protection main toolbar.

  3. The Edit Restriction interface now slides to the right side of the screen, with custom formatting and editing restrictions. These include the ability to only allow comments, tracked changes, or form input in your document. You can also limit formatting to a specific set of styles (ie HTML only).

    1. In addition, you can select certain parts of your document to allow only designated groups to edit them, while restricting changes to all other users.

  4. Select X in the top right corner of the interface Restrict Editing once you are happy with the settings.

Adding Restrictions to macOS

  1. Go to the tab Overview at the top of the Word interface.

  2. Click Secure Document

  3. The Password Protect dialog box should now appear over the main Word window. In section Protection check the box next to Protect document for

  4. From here, you can restrict comment editing, tracked changes, form entries, or even set the entire document to read-only. You can also add an additional password if you want to make the changes.

  5. Click Okay once you are happy with your settings.

Unlock a Word document

If you have previously locked a Word document, removing the password protection restriction is a fairly simple process if you are logged in as the owner of the document. Depending on your platform, repeat the steps in the appropriate guide above until you return to the Protect Document button.

Windows users

  1. Select Secure Document

  2. Select Encrypt with a password

  3. Remove the password from the field provided and then click Okay to unlock the document.

macOS users

  1. Click Secure document.

  2. Remove the password or passwords from the fields provided and then click Okay to unlock the document.

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