How to Unprotect Word Document: A Step-by-Step Guide

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By Matthew Simpson

Unlocking a protected Word document may seem like a challenge, but it’s quite simple once you know how. Whether you’ve forgotten the password or you’ve been given permission to edit a locked document, there are a few easy steps you can follow to unprotect a Word document.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Unprotect Word Document

Before we dive into the steps, it’s important to know that this process will remove editing restrictions from the Word document, allowing you to make changes as needed.

Step 1: Open the Word Document

Open the Word document that is protected.

Opening a Word document is as simple as double-clicking the file or opening it through Microsoft Word’s ‘File’ menu.

Step 2: Go to the ‘Review’ Tab

Click on the ‘Review’ tab in the Word ribbon.

The ‘Review’ tab is typically located in the upper portion of the Word window, alongside other tabs like ‘Home’, ‘Insert’, and ‘Design’.

Step 3: Click ‘Restrict Editing’

In the ‘Review’ tab, click on the ‘Restrict Editing’ button.

This button is usually found in the ‘Protect’ group within the ‘Review’ tab.

Step 4: Locate the Password Protection Section

In the ‘Restrict Editing’ pane that appears, find the section that says ‘Stop Protection’ at the bottom.

This section may also prompt you to enter a password if the document has been password protected.

Step 5: Enter the Password or Click ‘Stop Protection’

If you know the password, enter it and click ‘OK’. If there is no password, just click ‘Stop Protection’.

Remember, you should only unprotect a Word document if you have permission to do so.

After completing these steps, the Word document will no longer be protected, and you’ll be able to edit it freely.

Tips for How to Unprotect Word Document

  • Always save a copy of the protected document before attempting to unprotect it, just in case something goes wrong.
  • If you don’t know the password, you can try contacting the document’s creator to request it.
  • Be aware that some documents may be protected in such a way that they cannot be unprotected without the correct password.
  • Consider whether you actually need to unprotect the document. Sometimes, suggesting edits or comments is enough.
  • Respect the privacy and intellectual property of others; do not unprotect documents without permission.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I can’t find the ‘Restrict Editing’ button?

If the ‘Restrict Editing’ button isn’t visible, you may be using an older version of Word. Look for the ‘Protect Document’ button instead.

Can I unprotect a document if I’m not the original author?

You can, but only if you have the password or the author’s permission to do so.

Will unprotecting a document remove all types of protection?

Unprotecting a document typically removes editing restrictions, but it may not remove other types of protection, like read-only mode.

What happens if I forget the password?

If you forget the password, you’ll need to contact the author or try to remember it. There’s no way to retrieve it from the document itself.

Can I protect the document again after making changes?

Yes, you can re-protect the document by following similar steps and choosing to enforce protection again.


  1. Open the Word Document.
  2. Go to the ‘Review’ Tab.
  3. Click ‘Restrict Editing’.
  4. Locate the Password Protection Section.
  5. Enter the Password or Click ‘Stop Protection’.


Unprotecting a Word document is a straightforward process that can be accomplished in just a few steps. Whether you need to make crucial edits or simply want to view the content without restrictions, knowing how to unprotect a Word document can save you time and stress. Just remember to handle protected documents with care and always seek permission from the document’s owner before making any changes. With the tips and information provided in this article, you should now feel confident in your ability to unprotect a Word document whenever the need arises. Happy editing!