Password options

Respected Contributor


Password protect or unlock

Excel file / sheet / range / column / row, cell

Actually, the inventors idea was to have a password in Excel for area or cell barriers to ensure that other users accidentally make no changes. With Excel, password protection of the entire workbook is the most reliable way of preventing content from being changed.

However, that does not mean the password specialists also remove this password protection,

Nevertheless, before you deal with password protection, you have to know in which levels and what type of password protection can be used.

Here is an attempt to set them up hierarchically, as well as those most used by users and not as Microsoft, protection and security in Excel, does set them up.

Workbooks protection,

Worksheet protection,

Area/range protection,

Column protection,

Row protection

Cell protection,

VBA project protection

VBA password code protection

Ultimately, it all depends on what you want to achieve with it.


Decrypt password.

It often happens that because of so many passwords that you are obliged to use in different programs, as well as on the PC, that you forget a password at the end. Excel passwords in particular are not given, very high priority by their own users, which is why very simple passwords are usually used.

Here is a list of the most widely used passwords for 2020.

  1. 123456
  2. 123456789
  3. picture1
  4. password
  5. 12345678
  6. 111111
  7. 123123
  8. 12345
  9. 1234567890
  10. senha

The number ten "senha" is the Brazilian / Portuguese word for "password".

You can search in Internet about this list, you found it in many Internet Sites.


Nothing is safe, everything that a person can secure can also be unlocked by a person.

In this way, the protection of the worksheet can be protected with a maximum of approx. 2100 attempts to cancel, that means that can be done relatively quickly with a small macro. The protection for a VBA project can also be canceled in 15 minutes if you are able to use a common search engine.

 In plain language, Password Specialists (PassSpe) can override almost any password relatively "easily" or very "difficult", nothing is secure.

The only question is, how interested could strangers be in your data?

 It is all a question of time and money, which would be the interest of everyone who wants your data.

However, nothing is black or just white. In most cases, the file protection is sufficient compared to the interest of third parties.


Who should have increased interest in, for example, sales figures for a small company, or any sales figures for a representative?

Unless the IRS is behind your back, there is little need for action.

It looks different when it comes to market share calculations and research or development data.

Or if you have promised your boss flying rabbits and you can't even pull a chicken out of your knowledge hat ... I could imagine that there are a lot of interested parties for their data.

Does that apply to you?


Unlocking options

Password forgotten?

The preliminary remark is important:

This Discussion is not about cracking someone else's password in order to gain access to someone else's data. Expressly not as a "desirable side effect". Rather, I would like for your common Office Excel files how you can get your data back if you have locked yourself out.


Workbooks unlock,

Passwords in Excel for Mac and Word for Mac are limited to 15 characters. Who knows!

You cannot open a workbook or document that is password-protected in the Windows-based version of Excel or Word if the password is longer than fifteen characters.

Who was interested in knowing?

After that, most of them cannot open their own files without knowing why ... stupid excel!

(if they knew who called who stupid!).


A quick way to unlock the excel file here is with .zip

Only works if the file is .xlsx or .docx for Word (a .docx file, can also be opened by the same way).

CAUTION only to be used for your own Excel sheets!


Change the file extension to .7z and open the file in 7-Zip.

Go to the \ xl \ worksheets folder, right-click the sheet1.xml file

and select Edit to open it in/with Notepad.

Delete the text from <sheetProtection up to the closing square brackets >,

save the file and exit the editor.

Let 7-Zip update the archive and change the file extension back to .xlsx.


For earlier versions of Excel (from 2003 and down), I recommend the Free Word / Excel Password Recovery Wizard. Infinite possibilities, who can bing has an advantage!


Worksheet unlock, Area/range unlock, Column unlock, Row unlock, Cell unlock,

For some worksheets, it can take a whole day, sometimes more.

However, in the end, I was able to decipher all worksheets 99% of the time.

If it is a matter of removing (not retrieving) a Worksheet password, the following code may be used:

In a common Module, we paste the following code that removes the code from the activated sheet:

CAUTION!! Recommended only for proprietary Excel sheets!



Option Explicit

Sub GetPass()
    Const a = 65, b = 66, c = 32, d = 126
    Dim i#, j#, k#, l#, m#, n#, o#, p#, q#, r#, s#, t#
    With ActiveSheet
        If .ProtectContents Then
            On Error Resume Next
            For i = a To b
                For j = a To b
                    For k = a To b
                        For l = a To b
                            For m = a To b
                                For n = a To b
                                    For o = a To b
                                        For p = a To b
                                            For q = a To b
                                                For r = a To b
                                                    For s = a To b
                                                        For t = c To d
            .Unprotect Chr(i) & Chr(j) & Chr(k) & Chr(l) & Chr(m) & _
            Chr(n) & Chr(o) & Chr(p) & Chr(q) & Chr(r) & Chr(s) & Chr(t)
                                                        Next t
                                                    Next s
                                                Next r
                                            Next q
                                        Next p
                                    Next o
                                Next n
                            Next m
                        Next l
                    Next k
                Next j
            Next i
            MsgBox "Finished"
        End If
    End With
End Sub


The time it will take depends to a large extent on the power of the computer.



VBA unlock/lock protection with Macro,


Private Sub Worksheet_Change(ByVal Target As Range)

 Me.Unprotect ("1234")
‘ Your Code here
End If
 Me.Protect ("1234")
 End Sub



VBA Project password code unlock,

There are VBA codes like sand by the sea on the Internet.

Click on the heading here is just a small example, is built in to prevent the user from reading so much at once.

You can also contact me for detailed information. Please only inquire for serious, honest and especially your own projects.


What is your opinion on password unlocking?

What other unlocking suggestions do you have?


Share your knowledge with me, the only thing I know is that I do not know anything.


Thank you for your attention.



30 Replies
Password Unlock for a Workbook.
Remove Protection Using OpenOffice
Download and install the free Apache OpenOffice suite (link in Resources).
Click the "OpenOffice Calc" tile on the Start screen, or double-click the "OpenOffice" shortcut on the desktop, and then select "Spreadsheet."
Open the Excel file containing the protected worksheet.
Click the "Tools" menu, select "Protect Document," and then click "Sheet" to unlock the spreadsheet. OpenOffice does not require the password.
Select the "File" menu, click "Save As," and then change the file type to "Excel 97 (.xls)."
OpenOffice does not save .xlsx files only in .xls format.
Avoid overwriting the original file as a precaution.
Enter a new filename and click "Save.
" Click "Keep Current Format" in the warning box.
Close OpenOffice
and open the new file in Excel.





I am really sorry to trouble you.

1st of all thank you very much for your reply.

I have tried the posible passwords since yesterday and went to the instructions there but nothing seems to work. I am attaching the spreadsheet. The document has been created in 2008 by one of my ex colleagues so maybe he really had a good password . I have no clue who the guy is but I mainly need to unprotect the INCOME sheet (the rest can stay protected not a problem) I just need to change the names of the revenues. It would be a great help if you would be able to brake that.


MAny thanks !


It's done.
Please read your private message box.


I know my password yet it is not accepting it. I tried the 'sub' code under developer view code and got a 'program not responding' message. I've tried copying and pasting to a new sheet but it only pastes face values and not formulas. I need to access the formulas to make some edits.





Sir, if posibble please unlock the file, i really in trouble and effect my work.



HelloMr. Mubashar Hussain,

I know how painful it can be when a file has a password that no longer exists.

But first of all, I don't see any inserted file.

Second, read through this post and try out the options for yourself first.


If it still doesn't work, we can contact you again to find out which further steps are available.


Don't forget, unlocking files that don't belong to you is a criminal offense (at least in my home country).


Thank you for your understanding and patience



I know I don't know anything (Socrates)






I have tried all the options above but nothing works on my excel file. Can you please help me to unprotect the workbook I attach below?

Thanks in advance.


Thanks for all your work.

I've only partially been able to open my very, very old excel spreadsheet using your methods (over 20 years old - forgotten password!).

There are still parts locked.

Can you please help me?

I've attached the latest version of my file and the original .xls one

Thanks for all the work that you do - incredibly helpful!



Hi Niko,

I've been trying the solutions for a while now with no luck

Can you remove the protection from this workbook please?



Thanks for all your advice . . . I am trying to use Apache OpenOffice, but I don't understand the advice to "Open the Excel file containing the protected worksheet." - to open an Excel file I have to know the password! So how does this work? Perhaps I am confused about the difference between an Excel file and a worksheet - all I know is that I set up a spreadsheet in Excel and have now forgotten the password, so I can't open it! Thanks!

The trick with OpenOffice is to unlock a worksheet that is in an accessible workbook.
Not about the workbook itself.

Thank you for your patience and time.

I know I don't know anything (Socrates)


Thank you!




Hello Nikolino,


i have tried code in Module but it will not work. it is running in background and spreadsheet says (Not Responding).

Could you assist please? 


Hello Nikolino,

Thank you for your help offline! Great work and now I can continue work!



Hi Niko,

I've been trying the solutions for a while now with no luck

Can you remove the protection from this workbook please?



Hello John,

It is easier to unlock a worksheet than a workbook.

Opening Excel workbooks is almost impossible.

Even if it is reported on the Internet from many Internet sites that these files are opened, it is usually not possible.

What these internet sites do is a brute force with a mask attack.


This method tries all possible combinations of characters and symbols, which also takes a lot of time to find the Excel password, most of the time it does not work.

Opening a workbook is very time consuming and it does not always work, especially if the password is over 16 characters.


You could possibly try out different options with a large amount of equipment and time, but I do not have the time for that ... and the big money for the equipment too :)).


Thank you for your understanding and time




I know I do not know anything (Socrates)

Nice one mate - super helpful!



Hi there,

"forgotten password"

I would  appreciate it so much if you can assist. I am trying to unprotect my excel sheet but have the problem where I forgot my password. I followed the steps, also solution to press alt+f11 but with no luck.

Can you assist please. 

Have you got an email where I can send document?