How to Password Protect & Decrypt Word Documents Offline & Online

In order to prevent unauthorized access to your personal or office documents, you need to protect it with a password. For some other reasons, you might also want to remove password from a previously protected MS word files. You will learn how to password protect a word document and how to unlock any word document offline in this tutorial article. You will also learn how to restrict editing access on a word document and how to remove the restriction. Finally, I will reveal some free online tools for locking and unlocking a word document, and how to use these tools. For illustration, I used Microsoft Word 2013. But you can use any other version like 2010, 2013, 2016, 2020 upwards.

How to Password Protect MS Word File Offline

First open the word document you wish to protect with MS Word app.

Now click the File menu. Select the Info option.

Click the drop down arrow near Protect Document menu. Next, select Encrypt with Password as shown below.

Enter the document open password. Re-enter the password to confirm it and then click OK.


Microsoft Word will now indicate that the file has been protected. To view the content of the word file, you need to enter the password. Now click on Save to save the changes you made to the file.

Learn how to password protect PDF filesboth online and offline for free.

How to Restrict Editing in Word Document

You can control the types of editing others can make in your file by setting up the restrict editing in Microsoft word.

To setup restricting access:

Click File menu > Info option.

Select Restrict Access from the Protect Document menu as shown below.

You have 3 steps to follow: Formatting restrictions, Editing restrictions (with optional Exception) and Start Enforcement.

  • For Formatting restrictions: Check the "Limit formatting to a selection of styles" check box. You can click the Settings link to edit the allowed styles.
  • For Editing restriction: Check the "Allow only this type of editing in the document" check box. Then click the drop down menu to select the editing types to allow. No changes (Read only) is the default.
    You can also use the optional Exceptions section to specify parts of the document and users who are allowed to edit them freely. If you wish to allow everyone, then check the Everyone check box and then specify all regions they can edit by clicking the drop down arrow to the right of the check box. If you want only specific users to be able to edit these selected parts freely, click the More users link.
  • For Start enforcement: When you are ready to apply the changes to the document click on the Yes, Start Enforcing Protection button.

This prompts the Start Enforcing Protection dialog box as shown below.


You have two protection methods: Password and Authentication. You can use any protection method that suits you. Then click OK.

  • For the Password method: you need to enter a new restrict access password and confirm it. It must be different from the document open password you set earlier. Note that the document will not be encrypted. So malicious users can edit the file and remove the password with an online password unlock tool.
  • For the User authentication method: Users must pass the authentication before they can have access to the restrict access settings. Note that authenticated users can also remove the document protection. But the document will be encrypted and Restricted Access will be enabled.

Also note that you must sign in to your Microsoft office account in order to activate the User authentication method. But you can use the Password method without signing to your Microsoft account.

Save the word document to effect these changes you made.

See:

How to Decrypt a Protected Word Document Offline

To remove the password of a protected word document offline, you must provide the document. After which you will be allowed to decrypt the word file.

First, open the word document you wish to unlock with MS Word app.

You will be requested to type in the document open password before you can view the content of the document. Type the password and click OK as shown below.

Now to remove the document open password, click the File menu. Select the Info option.

Click the drop down arrow near Protect Document menu and select Encrypt with Password.

The Encrypt Document dialog box pops up with the document open password in the Password field. Delete those password and click OK.

MS Word has permanently removed the password. Save the word document to effect these changes.

How to Remove Editing Restriction in a Word Document

You might remove a document open password and also discover that you cannot edit the content of the word document. This is because the word document is set to restrict editing in some part or all parts of the document. In order to edit such a document, you need provide the Restrict Editing password or remove the password completely.

To deactivate Restrict Editing in a Word file:

Open the word document with MS word. If the file is locked with a document open password, follow the above guide for unlocking a password protected word document to unlock it.

If all editing access were restricted for the document, it will open in read only mode.

To enable editing, click on the View menu and then select Edit Document as shown below.

The document will now open fully, showing all the menus and MS Word features.

Now when you try to edit the document, MS Word will notify you that the document is restricted from unintentional editing.

To remove the restriction, click the Stop Protection button as shown below.

Microsoft Word will remove the editing restrictions. Now save the word document to effect these changes.

Learn how to remove password from any PDF file online and offline for free.

How to Use any Word Document Password Unlock Tool

  1. Upload the word file you wish to unlock to the server of the website.
  2. Most tools will ask you to provide the document open password. Type it.
  3. If editing access was also restricted in the document, you will be asked to provide the remove restriction password.
  4. The tool will start the decryption process. Once it is successful, you can download the decrypted version of the word document.

NOTE: For offline word document unlock tools, you don’t need to upload the word document first. It does the decryption offline.

Free Online and Offline Word Document Password Recovery Tools

Here are some free online and offline tools you can use to unlock any word document and also remove editing restriction.

  • Aspose Free Online Documents Unlocker: Unlock word documents, allows you to save to any desired format (PDF, JPG, HTML, etc.) and removes password in multiple files.
  • Passper for Word: Recovers the document open password and also removes the editing restriction password.
  • GuaWord: MS Word command-line password removal utility.
  • PassFab for Word: Password recovery tool for protected MS Word documents.

How to Use Online Tools for Locking any Document

Here is a general guide for using any online tool for password protecting any document.

  1. Upload the document you wish to password protect to the server of the website.
  2. You will be asked to provide and confirm the document open password.
  3. If you wish to restrict editing access, you will also provide another password for this.
  4. Then the tool will encrypt the document and ask you to download it. 
  5. Download it and try to open it. You will be required to provide the document open password to access the content of the file. If editing was also restricted, you be asked to provide the remove editing restriction password.

Check:

Conclusion

You have learnt how to password protect any word document both online and offline. Also, you learnt how to remove password from any locked word document both online and offline. I also revealed free tools for locking and unlocking word documents online. Feel free to use any method that suits you most.

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