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Remove Protection from Word Document

Have you ever been stymied in copying text or other actions in a “protected” Microsoft Word document?  The kind of documents that are locked forms where you can only position the cursor or enter text in the designated form fields?

The document is not encrypted or totally unavailable to you and accessing all of its contents are as easy as flicking a switch.  The trick is finding the switch.  (Microsoft does have solutions like that, and they are NOT bypassable like form protection is)

Here is a way to “unprotect” a Word document:

  1. Open the document in Word.
  2. save the document as an XML file.  “SAVE AS”   “WORD XML DOCUMENT”
  3. Close Word.
  4. Open the XML file in an editor (I use NOTEPAD!)  (This can take awhile for a large document.)
  5. Search for the string w:enforcement
  6. Edit   w:enforcement=”1″  to read w:enforcement=”0″    NOT 1 !!
  7. Save the file in your text editor.
  8. Open the XML file in Word.
  9. Save the document back into Word .doc/.docx format.

You now have an unprotected version of the document.  What does this have to do with PCI DSS?  Nothing.  Nothing at all.

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2 comments for “Remove Protection from Word Document

  1. Brett Dalton
    August 13, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    Using Notepadd++ is a better option that Notepad. It doesn’t as long to load and it will load the entire file, Notepad will concatinate the file after a certain length due to character limits.

  2. deadeene
    December 17, 2019 at 6:07 am

    Use “XML Word 2003” format with 2019 version of office :).

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