Overview of Word/Excel 97/2000 (40 bit) password protection:
All passwords for Word and Excel from Office 97/2000, except the password for opening, can be recovered instantly. The protection for opening uses 40-bit encryption, which allows to apply exhaustive key search (it will take about a week on a modern computer). It guarantees file decryption regardless of password length and complexity. It is possible to speed up this method even more by using huge precomputed tables, then the needed key can be found in few seconds.
How can I recover Word/Excel 97/2000 (40 bit) password? Use software or service that offers guaranteed recovery for password-protected MS Office 97/2000 (and XP/2003 in default encryption mode) documents. Nowadays this should be done in a minute using online password service.