How to Unprotect Excel Workbook or Worksheet without Password

Oct 22, 2019 17:13. Posted by to Tutorials

Microsoft Excel is a great tool that we all tend to use on a regular basis. And since it is a key business tool as well, data protection is always a prime concern, which is why we tend to use Excel's in-built worksheet protection feature. This involves simple password encryption, which isn't one hundred percent secure but does prevent accidental edits to important documents. All you need is a simple alphanumeric password to access these sheets. However, if you ever forget Excel password, there is no need to be concerned.


Unprotecting a protected Excel worksheet or workbook without a password is possible and can be achieved through a variety of methods. However, care should be taken to avoid software crashes and data loss. Let's explore all the options and see what works best for you.

#1 Unprotect an Excel Sheet with VBA Code

This is a fairly straightforward method that involves some amount of tinkering with the code of the worksheet you are trying to access. Here's what you need to do.


Unprotect Excel Worksheet


Step 1: Open your password protected worksheet and click cancel when prompted to enter password.


Step 2: Press ALT + F11 to access the visual basic code for the worksheet.


Step 3: Double click on the password protected sheet. Simply copy and paste this code below into the code window. Make sure you don't edit anything and just copy and paste it as it is.


Unprotect Excel Worksheet VBA Code


Step 4 : Click on the Run button or hit the F5 key on your keyboard. If all the steps have been followed correctly, you should see pop-up window that offers you a usable password for your worksheet.


While this method seems to have worked for many users to remove password protection from Excel, reports indicate that it may or may not be compatible with the newer versions of Excel. Additionally, it is easy to make a mistake while modifying the code.


#2 How to Unprotect an Excel Workbook without Password Using ZIP

Here's another useful hack when it comes to unlock a protected workbook. It involves converting your Excel sheet into a ZIP file and then eliminating the password encryption. Here's how to do this.


Step 1: Right click on your password protected Excel file and rename its extension to .zip.


Step 2: Now open the .zip file using a tool like 7-ZIP or WINRAR. You should be able to see all your worksheets in the folder in the form of XML files.


Step 3: Select the protected sheet you wish to view, double click to open with notepad.


Step 4: You will now find an entire tag that begins with "sheetProtection". Delete the whole tag from bracket to bracket, and close after saving.


Remove Excel Sheet Protection


Step 5: You might now be asked if you want to update your file in the archive. Click yes. Finally, rename the file back to its original .xlsx extension and open it. You will find that worksheet is now unlocked.


Again, this is a fairly popular method with many users. However, it is confusing and time-consuming and again, does not work well with all versions of Excel. It could also end up corrupting your worksheet's data.


#3 How to Unprotect Excel Worksheet or Workbook Using Dr.Excel Tool

The above two tricks might not support the newer version of Excel such as Excel 2013. This is largely due to the fact that Microsoft patched the bug according to user feedback. The Excel app becomes much hard to crack the password. However, there are always means to get that. Our suggestion in here is Dr.Excel.

Dr.Excel is a fancy password recovery tool to help you unprotect your protected Excel sheet and workbook. It is simple and probably the easiest way to access a protected Excel spreadsheet. Just follow these steps demonstrated in below.


win version


Windows Version

Step 1:Download Dr.Excel

Launch the program and select "Recover Open Password from Excel" feature. If you want to remove restrict editing from Excel, please use the second option instead.


Excel Password Recovery

Step 2:Add Relevant Excel File to the Program

From the next screen, click "Add File" button on the upper right corner to import protected Excel file into the program.


Excel Password Recovery Import

Step 3:Choose Attack Engine

Select the attack type based on how much information you have about the password. Different attack types can serve different purposes, select the one which seems the most relevant to your case. Below is an example for Brute-force with Mask Attack.


Excel Password Recovery Config


Step 4: Unprotect Excel Worksheet or Workbook Password

Start the recovery process. Depending on how much information you have provided about your password, the recovery time might vary.


Excel Password Recovery Success


Dr.Excel comes loaded with a number of features to help you unprotect your Excel sheet in the safest manner possible. It utilises various attack patterns to ensure it can deal with every form of encryption, thereby making it compatible with all versions of Excel. What's more, you also have options like Auto-shutdown on completion and saving search history so that the process can pick up from where you last left off.


win version


Windows Version


While the ZIP method and VBA code are viable password recovery alternatives, they are simply hacks at best. When dealing with complex and important business Excel sheets, you cannot run the risk of data loss and corruption. In such a scenario, Dr.Excel would be your best and safest bet. It works efficiently with all types of Excel sheets and removes worksheet/workbook protection without any data loss.


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