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I have 2 old documents in ODT format that I either made a typo or forgot the actual password for them. I want to recover the password or simply remove it. What steps (If available) are there to remove such password (and remind me of not put passwords to documents).

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  • First, install xmlcopyeditor from the repositories. Open the content.xml file by right clicking the document from the file manager and choosing Archive Manager as the application. Open content.xml with xml copy editor and find protected=true. Change it to false and your document will no longer me protected. It's possible to edit the file with a text editor but it tends to choke and lock up your system for a while. Jun 29, 2014 at 14:52
  • @Christopher uhm... content.xml is encrypted. And what would be the point of the encryption if disabling it were as easy as changing protected to false? The file that actually contains information about the encryption used is found in META-INF/manifest.xml. Mar 12, 2016 at 9:51
  • It's to keep the typical user from changing protected areas. I've decrypted many documents by this method. I've passed on some protected spreadsheets to people; not expecting anything more than them not breaking the formulae. Mar 13, 2016 at 12:38

3 Answers 3

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About LibreOffice encryption

I found 2 interesting links. From the links Libreoffice seems to use AES (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AES_(cipher) ) as of LibreOffice 3.5. Before that it was blowfish.

   Max pwd   Accent OFFICE
    Length   Time Estimate (same conditions)
        5    27m03s
        6    1d19h
        7    173d3h
        8    45y197d

Conclusions:

  • AES has no known flaws.
  • The only way is to provide the correct password. and you should always save an unencrypted copy on an external media like an USB disc that is kept safe in your house.
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  • Yes they were made with LibreOffice 3.5. I am pretty sure it was even older. Thanks for the answer. +1 Mar 25, 2013 at 15:55
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First, install xmlcopyeditor from the repositories. Open the content.xml file by right clicking the document from the file manager and choosing Archive Manager as the application.

Open content.xml with xml copy editor, press F11 to properly display the full document and find protected=true. Change it to false and your document will no longer me protected.

It's possible to edit the file with a text editor but it tends to choke and lock up your system for a while.

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  • thanks for the tip. I need to add comments to a protected xlsx file, I couldn't find the protected=true stuff but I do find the file xl/comments1.xml. Updating the content in that file and then compress the files into xlsx, I got the comments added.
    – Gelin Luo
    Apr 29, 2016 at 5:51
  • I have checked if this method is possible in a LibreOffice 6.1 password protected .odt file, and I could not display the content.xml file properly either with xmlcopyeditor or any other editor, and, consequently, to look for protected=true was impossible. So it seems according to Rinzwind's answer that encrypted .odt files are secure enough. :) Therefore keep a copy of the unencrypted documents and a copy of the passwords in an external drive. Aug 15, 2019 at 14:26
  • LibreOffice 7.2.2.2. It worked perfectly. Note that if your document has more than one sheet you need to unprotect every sheet this way, so do a search and change the value multiple times. Thanks, Christopher
    – David
    Feb 22, 2022 at 9:15
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Although this thread appeared several years ago, the question is still pertinent for some. I arrived here because I was unable to identify a password I used on a LibreOffice document. Fortunately, I had a backup of my home directory in TimeShift and was able to upload the original unprotected file and save it to a USB with a new password. This may not work with all backup apps. Nonetheless, the lesson is the same: use TimeShift and regularly backup your files.

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