Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Listing Documents with Passwords.

Listing Documents with Passwords

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 16, 2016)


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 (10223) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word 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. ...


Pulling Apart Cells

Separating text values in one cell into a group of other cells is a common need when dealing with text. Excel provides a ...

Discover More

Printing Reversed Images

Ever need to print the mirror image of your document? This tip explains how to reverse your image so it can be used for ...

Discover More

Spellcheck for Two Languages

Are you creating a document that mixes different languages? Word can handle the multi-language scenario, but it may take ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Automatically Formatting an ASCII File

Import a file from a source external to Word, and you can end up with a formatting nightmare. One big step is to remove ...

Discover More

Determining If the End of a Text File Has Been Reached

When writing a macro that processes a text file, you may need to know when the end of the file has been reached. This is ...

Discover More

Inserting a File Name without an Extension

Sometimes you might like to insert a file name into your document without including the file extension. The FILENAME ...

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 six more than 8?

2016-07-18 19:55:38


It seems so obvious after being laid out in a clear design.
What I'd like to know is how Step #1 works. Where do I find the info on how to open a file with a password, and how to detect that it did or didn't open?
I looked through the T of C (as well as possible--way too much to really scan) my new WordTips Macro book, and didn't see that covered.

This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu 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.