I love being given an insurmountable challenge and told to find a way
to beat it.  Today, I was presented with some Word templates that
needed to be modified.  The document templates had been password
protected, but of course no one knew the password to unlock the forms
for editing.  Thanks to a security advisory and a newsgroup posting, I was able to hack the protection out of the document and make them editable. 

1.) Open the problem document in Word. 
2.) Save the document as an XML document.  Click File|Save As…
and make sure that the document type is an XML document. 
3.) Open the XML version of the document in a text editor.  Search for a tag that begins: <w:documentProtection
4.) This is the beginning of the tag that you will want to remove.  The tag should look similar to the following:
<w:documentProtection w:edit=”forms” w:enforcement=”on” w:unprotectPassword=”xxxxxxxx”/>
5.) Select this entire tag, and then hit the Delete key.  Save the document. 
6.)
Re-open the document in Word, and it should now be editable, with no
protection whatsoever.  Edit the document, and save it as whatever
type you want–document, document template, etc. 


This method should work for any document that has been protected from
any editing modification–except those documents that require a
password to open.  For those documents, I would suggest something
like OpenOffice, as it disregards any password protection on an MS
Office document.