Passwords can be added to a Microsoft Word document for a variety of reasons. The document’s content might be so important that only certain people may amend it, or it might be for viewing only, regardless of who you are.
It’s pretty easy to remove a password from a Word 2016 document, but you do have to know the original password that was used to protect it. The way to remove this password uses the same process that was used to add it in the first place. Note that if you forget or lose the password, it can’t be recovered. Passwords are case sensitive so make sure that the Caps Lock key is turned off when you enter a password for the first time.
Open the document and enter its password. You won’t see its contents until you do.
Once the document is open, click File > Info, to see information about the document. Note that in the Info panel, you can see straight away, by the yellow highlighting, that the document is password protected.
Now click Protect Document > Encrypt with Password.
All you need to do here is blank out the password. Select it and delete it, and then click OK. You will see the yellow highlighting immediately removed from the Protect Document section, because the document is no longer password protected.
Usability is uppermost in our minds, so we ask you this: is it obvious what you need to do here in the “Encrypt Document” window to remove the password protection on your document? We hazard this answer: no. It would be more user friendly to display a “remove password” button to give you a clear course of action. Alas, you will have to just blank out the password as suggested.
Interestingly, Microsoft say:
If you lose or forget a password, Word can’t recover your information so it might be a good idea to keep a copy of your password in a safe place or create a strong password that you’ll remember.
But anyone with any kind of security awareness will tell you not to keep a copy of your password in any other location than your head! You work it out…
And then get back to use with your ideas.