How to Unlock a Word Document (Step-by-Step Guide)

December 5, 2023 1.5K views

Unlocking a Word document can be frustrating, especially when faced with locked selections or forgotten passwords. In this guide, we empathize with your document struggles and provide user-centric solutions. From disabling restrictive features to harnessing the power of Google Docs and WPS Office, we've got you covered.

Part 1: How to Unlock a Word Document by Disabling "Mark as Final"

Once the document is marked as final, a distinctive yellow banner appears at the top of the file, indicating its locked status.

To resolve this, simply follow these straightforward steps:

Step 1: Identify the "Marked as Final" Banner:

Observe the yellow banner at the top of the document, signaling that it has been marked as final.

Step 2: Click "Edit Anyway":

Click on the "Edit Anyway" button provided in the banner.

By clicking "Edit Anyway," you swiftly unlock the document, restoring your ability to make edits. This user-friendly solution ensures a hassle-free experience when dealing with Word documents marked as final.

Part 2: How to Bypass a Word Document Unlock by Removing Password Protection

If you need to remove password protection from a Word file, follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Open the File:

Using the provided instructions, open the Word file you want to remove the password from.

Step 2: Access File Menu:

Click on the "File" tab in the upper left corner of the Word window.

Step 3: Select Info:

Within the File menu, select "Info" from the options.

Step 4: Click Protect Document:

Locate and click on the "Protect Document" icon.

Step 5: Choose "Encrypt with Password":

From the dropdown, select "Encrypt with Password."

Step 6: Delete Current Password:

In the pop-up window, delete the current password from the password field.

Step 7: Click OK:

After removing the password, click "OK" to confirm the changes.

Step 8: Save Your File:

Save the document, and it will now open without requiring a password.

This process is efficient for situations where password protection is no longer necessary or if you need to share the document without imposing password constraints.

Part 3: How to Unlock Word Documents by Disabling Restrict Editing

If you encounter a Word document with editing restrictions, it indicates limited permissions, often secured by a password. Follow these steps to disable the restrictions and gain editing access:

Step 1: Navigate to Review>Restrict Editing.

Locate the "Review" tab in the Word menu.Click on "Restrict Editing" in the toolbar.

Step 2: Click on "Stop Protection."

In the lower right corner, find the "Stop Protection" button. Click on "Stop Protection" to proceed.

Step 3: Enter the Password.

The "Unprotect Document" dialog will appear.

This method is particularly useful when dealing with documents containing sensitive information that requires protection from unauthorized modifications.

Part 4: How to Unlock a Word Document Using Google Docs (Without Password)

To make a Word document editable, you can seamlessly utilize Google Docs. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Open Google Docs:

In a web browser, navigate to Google Docs and sign in to your Google account.

Step 2: Access Upload Option:

Click on the Folder icon to access the Upload option.

Step 3: Select Upload:

Choose the "Upload" option.

Step 4: Browse and Select the File:

Click "Browse" and select the Word document you want to unlock. Alternatively, drag the file directly into the Google Docs window.

Step 5: Open and Edit:

The file will open in Google Docs, allowing you to make any necessary changes.

Step 6: Save as a New Word Document:

To save the edited file as a new Word document, click on the "File" menu.

Step 7: Download as Word Document:

Hover over "Download" and select "Microsoft Word (.docx)."

Step 8: Open and Edit Without a Password:

The file will download, and you can now open this Word document, edit it freely, and no longer require a password.

By following these steps, you can efficiently unlock and edit your Word document using Google Docs, providing a convenient alternative for those who may have forgotten their document password.

Part 5: Unlock a Word Document by Saving as RTF Text (Without Password)

Step 1: Open the Encrypted Word Document:

Open the Word document that is encrypted.

Step 2: Navigate to File > Save As:

Click on "File" and select "Save As."

Step 3: Choose Rich Text Format (.rtf):

From the available options, choose Rich Text Format (.rtf) as the file extension.

Step 4: Save the Document:

Enter a file name and save the document.

Step 5: Close MS Word Files:

Close all Microsoft Word files on your system.

Step 6: Open the RTF File with Notepad:

Open the recently created .rtf file using Notepad.

Step 7: Use Find and Replace:

Use the Find option (Ctrl+F) to locate the string “passwordhash.”

Step 8: Replace with “nopassword”:

Replace "passwordhash" with "nopassword" and save the changes.

Step 9: Open with MS Word:

Open the same file with Microsoft Word. You'll notice that it no longer requires a password.

This method provides a quick and simple solution without the need for complex techniques or extensive time investment.

Overall Comparison:

  • For Simplicity: "Disabling Mark as Final" and "Bypassing Password Protection" are straightforward.

  • For Advanced Users: "Disabling Restrict Editing" may be suitable.

  • For Password Unknown: "Using Google Docs" and "Saving as RTF Text" provide viable alternatives.

  • Considerations: Each method has its place based on user familiarity, password availability, and desired outcome.

Unlocking Method

Ease of Use

User Experience


Disabling "Mark as Final"

Simple; clicking "Edit Anyway" or settings

Quick resolution for marked-as-final documents; minimal steps

Applicable only when the document is marked as final

Bypassing Password Protection

Requires password knowledge

Efficient if password known; not applicable if unknown

Dependent on password availability

Disabling Restrict Editing

Involves navigating Ribbon and Developer tab

Effective but requires familiarity with settings

May be challenging for users unfamiliar with advanced settings

Using Google Docs (Without Password)

Uploading and editing in Google Docs

Effective, especially if original password is unknown

Requires internet access; formatting may differ slightly

Saving as RTF Text (Without Password)

Changing file extension; opening in Notepad

Quick method but may lose some formatting

Limited if advanced formatting or features are present

Part 6: WPS Office: Free Editor for Creating, Editing, and Saving Word Docs

WPS Office is a comprehensive and free office suite that offers a powerful set of tools for creating, editing, and saving Word documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Known for its user-friendly interface and versatility, WPS Office is a popular choice for users seeking a reliable alternative to other office suites.

  • Convenient Printing: WPS Office enables seamless printing of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and PDF documents, streamlining document management for user convenience.

  • Professional Templates: Access a variety of free, well-designed templates in WPS Office, enhancing the visual appeal of documents and presentations with ease.

  • Free Editing Across Document Types: WPS Office offers cost-effective solutions with free editing capabilities for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and PDF documents, providing an economical choice for diverse office tasks.

For users seeking a reliable, free, and feature-rich office suite, WPS Office is a commendable choice. Its seamless integration of document types, professional templates, and free editing capabilities make it a versatile tool for individuals and businesses alike. Experience the convenience of WPS Office for all your document creation, editing, and printing needs.


1. Why is my Microsoft Word selection locked?

Many Word users face the challenge of being unable to make changes to their documents, indicated by a notification stating, "This modification is not allowed because the selection is locked." This issue, prevalent across various Word versions, can stem from document restrictions, the document being marked as final, using a trial version of Microsoft Office, or an unactivated version.

2. How do I convert a password-protected PDF to Word without a password?

To convert a password-protected PDF to Word without the password, open the PDF with Adobe Acrobat Pro. Change the security method under Document Properties, allowing you to edit and copy the secured PDF text. Optionally, you can directly copy the text from the PDF to a Word document to bypass the export process, and then export the PDF file through the “Export PDF” option.

3. How can I lock the Word document from editing?

To restrict editing in a Word document, go to File > Info, select Protect Document, and implement the desired editing restrictions. This ensures the document opens in view-only mode, preventing further editing.


In conclusion, this guide equips users with effective methods to unlock Word documents, addressing issues like "Mark as Final," password protection, and editing restrictions. The step-by-step instructions, accompanied by user experiences, ensure a user-friendly approach.

Additionally, the recommendation of WPS Office highlights a versatile and free alternative for document creation and editing. Whether you choose to disable features, leverage external tools, or explore alternatives like Google Docs and WPS Office, this guide empowers you to navigate and resolve document access challenges with ease.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.