Open Microsoft office protected documents

Until 2004 the encryption used in Microsoft Office was flawed.

The “protect document” option was only useful to prevent accidental editing.

From Office 2007 on the encryption algorithm used is actually a good one (128- or 256-bit AES), but they can still be cracked by a brute force attacks, especially if your password sucks.

How to open Microsoft office protected documents

Even if you use the latest version of Office there are products that (supposedly) are able to crack the password, again, especially if you use a weak password.

A 5-digit password should be crackeable in seconds using free software from the 1st Google result for “ms word password recovery

The following are some options you can try to open a protected document.

Option 1 – Google Docs

  1. Upload your protected document to Google Docs.
  2. Convert to Google Doc format.
  3. Read contents. No code required.

Option 2 – Zip trick

The protect spreadsheet in Office 2010 is still only there to prevent accidental editing, to remove simply do the following:

  1. Open the xlsx as a zip file. (Right click > Open with > Your preferred zip program)
  2. Find the sheet in the xl\worksheets folder
  3. Find the xml tab and clear the “password”