WD97: Password Protection Lost When Saving as Previous Versions

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When you save a password-protected document in a format other than "Word Document (*.doc)", Word removes the password protection but displays the following message as a warning that the password will be lost:
   This document is password protected. Saving this document in a format
   other than the current version of Word will result in the loss of this
   protection. Do you want to continue?
You can reopen, edit, and resave the converted file in Word or another word processor without the need to specify the password.
Note that this behavior is also true if you save the document and protect it from revisions, annotations, or forms with a password.


All export binary file format converters supplied with Word use the Microsoft Rich Text Format (RTF) as an intermediate format when saving in a non-default format. The RTF specification does not support the retention of password information. The converter therefore does not retain password protection when saving a document in any format besides the default.


To open an existing Word document prior to saving in a different format, you must know the document's password. Therefore, the limitation referenced in the "Symptoms" section of this article does not represent a compromise of security in Word. You need to be aware that to retain password protection in a "Word Document (*.doc)," you must work with a password-protected document in the same version of Word that the Word document was protected in.

For additional information about converting password protected documents in Word, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
168098 WD: Word Cannot Convert Password Protected Documents


Article ID: 194494 - Last Review: October 10, 2013 - Revision: 1.1
  • Microsoft Word 97 Standard Edition
kbnosurvey kbarchive kbconversion kbprb KB194494

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