Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Listing Documents with Passwords.

Listing Documents with Passwords

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 31, 2017)

Jamie asked if it is possible to get a list of all passworded Word documents, or all documents using a particular password. The short answer is "No, Word doesn't have such a capability." Passwords are saved with a document, and if you don't know the password (or cannot guess a password), then you cannot open a document. Period.

The longer answer is that if you know what passwords you were personally most likely to use on a document, then you could write a macro that would attempt to open your documents using those passwords. The macro could follow these general steps:

  1. Try to open a document using the various passwords.
  2. If successful, keep track of the document name and password used.
  3. If unsuccessful, keep track of the document name.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 for each document.
  5. Present a list of documents opened with each password.
  6. Present a list of documents unable to be opened with the supplied passwords.

Note that this approach will only work if you already know the possible passwords. For instance, if you have three or four passwords you typically use, then you could use these steps to test documents with those likely passwords. If a particular document doesn't use one of those passwords, then you are out of luck—the document will just be considered "unopenable" in step 3 and listed in step 6.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1617) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Listing Documents with Passwords.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


Setting Fraction Bar Overhang Spacing in the Equation Editor

The Equation Editor is a great tool for easily creating fancy-looking equations in your document. One setting you can ...

Discover More

Ordering Worksheets Based on a Cell Value

Need to sort your worksheets so that they appear in an order determined by the value of a cell on each worksheet? Using a ...

Discover More

Using AutoComplete with Disjointed Lists

AutoComplete can help you to more quickly enter information in a worksheet. How it works, behind the scenes, can affect ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (menu)

Saving Document Versions

Documents often go through several versions during development. For this reason, Word provides a feature that allows you ...

Discover More

Limits on Path Length in Word

When you organize your hard drive, it is easy to go hog-wild with folders and subfolders. You need to know that how you ...

Discover More

Can't Save Edited Document

Each day of using Word is filled with opening documents, editing them, and then saving those changes to disk. So it can ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five less than 8?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.