4 Best Free Tools for Recovering a Word Password

Free word password recovery, remover, and unlocker tools for Windows

A Word password recovery program (also called a Word password remover, password unlocker, or password cracker, depending on its ability) is a software tool that can be used to either discover or remove the security on a Microsoft Word file that prevents you from opening or changing the file.

Most Word password cracker tools fall into one of three categories:

  • Tools that recover the Word document open password
  • Tools that remove the Word document open password
  • Tools that remove or recover the Word edit restrictions password

The large majority of Word password recovery programs are shareware tools that then charge money before providing the password. However, there are a few freeware Word password recovery, remover, and cracker programs, the best of which we've listed here.

Person using a password recovery tool
Lifewire / Maritsa Patrinos

The only legal use of Word password recovery programs is to remove the security on a Microsoft Word file that you have the permission to do so on, like a DOC file or DOCX file that you set a password on but later forgot.

If you need to unlock a different kind of password, there are free password crackers to open Windows passwords, RAR and ZIP archives, other MS Office file types, and more.

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Free Word and Excel Password Recovery Wizard

Free Word and Excel Password Recovery Wizard in Windows XP
What We Like
  • Walks you through an easy-to-use wizard.

  • Installs quickly.

  • Works with Excel files, too.

What We Don't Like
  • Limits how long the password can be.

  • Lacks support for the newest file format.

  • The setup file is inside a ZIP archive.

Free Word and Excel Password Recovery Wizard is easily the best free Word password recovery tool available right now, assuming your goal is to recover the actual password needed to open the Word file.

Only Word document open passwords are recovered with Free Word and Excel Password Recovery Wizard. The program will not remove, unlock, or crack a Word edit/modify restriction password. It uses a brute force recovery method but can also use a dictionary attack if you have a dictionary file.

Free Word and Excel Password Recovery Wizard only works with MS Word 97-2003 documents, not the newer DOCX format used by default in Microsoft Office Word 2007 and newer MS Word versions. Nor does it work with DOC files created in these versions. The maximum password length that can be recovered is 8 characters.

Free Word and Excel Password Recovery Wizard recovered the four-character Word document open password on a DOC file in just a few seconds. However, we knew the characters involved in the Word password and how long the password was, so we customized the brute force settings accordingly. If you don't know the characters used or the length of the password, then the Word password crack could take much longer.

This program should work on Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.

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Word Password Recovery Master

Word Password Recovery Master
What We Like
  • Really easy to use.

  • Includes features not found in similar programs.

What We Don't Like
  • Its primary selling points don't actually work.

  • Severely limited in some ways.

  • Might install slowly.

Word Password Recovery Master is another free Word document cracker that can remove the document open password and recover the document edit password.

Despite the features that the program claims to have, during my tests, it would not crack Word 2007-2013 document open passwords. Document open passwords can only be recovered if the file was created in Word 2003 or older.

Modify passwords can be cracked in those file versions, too, but only if it isn't longer than three characters.

We used a document open password of six characters on a DOC file created in Word 2003, and Word Password Recovery Master removed it in less than 20 seconds. It did this by making a copy of the file without the password so that we could open it.

We also set a 3-character modify password on a 2003 DOC file and the program found that password instantly because it wasn't encrypted.

This free MS Word password recovery tool should work in all versions of Windows, from Windows XP all the way through Windows 10. 

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What We Like
  • Very straightforward and not confusing to use.

  • Has multiple password recovery options.

  • Doesn't need to be installed (it's portable).

What We Don't Like
  • Hasn't been updated in many years.

CrackIt! is another excellent free Word password recovery tool.

CrackIt! works much like Free Word and Excel Password Recovery Wizard only with many fewer options, making the Word password cracking process very easy. Just select an alphabet (choose the largest one if you're not sure) and then let CrackIt! recover the Word password.

CrackIt! recovered the four-character Word document open password on a DOC file in just a few seconds. It's said to work with Word 97 and 2000 files only, but the file it cracked for us was a Microsoft Word 2003 file.

CrackIt! was originally designed for Windows 95/98 but I had no problem making it work in Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.

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What We Like
  • Works regardless of the password length.

  • Very minimal with no extra, confusing options.

What We Don't Like
  • Takes a long time to run.

  • Supports older file formats only.

  • Has no graphical user interface.

GuaWord, technically Guaranteed Word Decrypter, is a freeware Word password remover program that "guarantees" the removal of the document open Word password no matter what the length.

GuaWord can guarantee the Word password removal because it actually decrypts the password directly instead of attacking the file with endless character combinations. However, because of this never-fail strategy, this version of GuaWord usually takes around 10 days on a fast computer to remove the Word password. Yes, you read that correctly — 10 days.

GuaWord will not work on Word files with encryption higher than 40-bit or with passwords in French. GuaWord will also not work with DOCX files nor will it crack or remove Word passwords for restricting editing.

The GuaWord website warns that there are issues with this freeware version that makes it unsafe to use; We're assuming they mean corruption of the original DOC file during the password removal process. If possible, just to be safe, make a copy of the DOC file and let GuaWord crack the copied one.

Due to the time involved, we didn't test GuaWord all the way to the successful removal of the password. We did, however, make sure that the program is free and usable and should work if you choose to use GuaWord over another free Word password tool here.

GuaWord is a command-line tool; use it by dragging the Word document directly onto the "guaword.exe" file. It should work on both 64-bit and 32-bit versions of Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP. It does not run on Windows 10 or Windows 8.

There Are Only 4 Free Word Password Recovery Programs?

There might be more but these are all we could find. Most commercial Word password crackers cost from $15 USD to $100 USD, some more. Many of these tools offer "free" demos or trial versions but they all have some sort of limiting feature like a maximum 3 character password limit. There aren't a lot of 3 character Word passwords out there so I didn't include very many programs like that in this list.