Monday, October 17, 2011

Remove "protection" from MS Word 2007 documents

Have you ever run into a situation where you had to fill out a form in order to get some work done? How about a Microsoft Word 2007 document that has "protection" on it?

Whelp, I needed to change my direct deposit location and got some old, protected doc. Problem was, I couldn't fill in *any* of the fields on the computer. In real life, I like to do things on the computer, print it off (if I have to...), sign it, scan it, and send it.

Side Note: Yikes, that's a lot of work for one little task...

So, remembering that .docx files are just xml in a zip file, I searched for a way to remove it. By "search", I mean search google and have someone smarter use their energy to figure it out.

Here's what I found:

  • Rename the document to zip format
  • Open it up in my favorite zip program
  • Edit settings.xml in Notepad[++]
  • Look for "protection" in the xml file, and you will locate <w:documentProtection> element.
  • Remove all the attributes in it.
  • Update the zip file
  • Rename the document back to docx
  • Open it up in Word 2007, and you are able to edit the document...
Problem solved!

Hope that helps you someday... if you're stuck in a slow-software-adopting corporation like I am (as I write in Windows XP...).

1 comment:

  1. At step 2, my zip program says the file is invalid. (Using Zip built into Windows.)