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Office - Unprotecting an Excel Sheet Without the Password

This document outlines how to unprotect an Excel spreadsheet if you do not have the password but are still able to edit the document. If you are no longer able to edit the document, the document is gone due to Microsoft's policy of encrypting documents once they are password protected.

Related KBs:

Note: If your Excel file contains more than one protected sheet, use the instructions below to unprotect each sheet individually.

1. Save your document as an Excel 97-2003 workbook (.xls).
2. Close Excel and reopen the workbook - it will be opened in compatibility mode. 
3. Follow the instructions below to unprotect the worksheet:

1. Go to the Developer tab on the top ribbon or press Alt and F11 if you prefer the keyboard shortcut.  Click "View Code."
View Code

2. Once the code window opens, double click on the worksheet that is password protected.
Double click on password protected sheet

3. Copy and paste the following code into the Code window:
Sub PasswordBreaker()
Dim i As Integer, j As Integer, k As Integer
Dim l As Integer, m As Integer, n As Integer
Dim i1 As Integer, i2 As Integer, i3 As Integer
Dim i4 As Integer, i5 As Integer, i6 As Integer
On Error Resume Next
For i = 65 To 66: For j = 65 To 66: For k = 65 To 66
For l = 65 To 66: For m = 65 To 66: For i1 = 65 To 66
For i2 = 65 To 66: For i3 = 65 To 66: For i4 = 65 To 66
For i5 = 65 To 66: For i6 = 65 To 66: For n = 32 To 126
ActiveSheet.Unprotect Chr(i) & Chr(j) & Chr(k) & _
Chr(l) & Chr(m) & Chr(i1) & Chr(i2) & Chr(i3) & _
Chr(i4) & Chr(i5) & Chr(i6) & Chr(n)
If ActiveSheet.ProtectContents = False Then
MsgBox "One usable password is " & Chr(i) & Chr(j) & _
Chr(k) & Chr(l) & Chr(m) & Chr(i1) & Chr(i2) & _
Chr(i3) & Chr(i4) & Chr(i5) & Chr(i6) & Chr(n)
Exit Sub
End If
Next: Next: Next: Next: Next: Next
Next: Next: Next: Next: Next: Next
End Sub

4. Click the Run button or press F5.
Click Run or press F5

4.  Save your document as an .xlsx file. 

If this method worked, you’ll a small pop-up window saying “One usable password is XXXYYYZZZXXXY.”




Keywords:excel password unprotecting unprotect edit developer view code microsoft Office 2019   Doc ID:28850
Owner:Kristin S.Group:UW Green Bay
Created:2013-02-28 16:16 CDTUpdated:2020-04-30 13:18 CDT
Sites:UW Green Bay
Feedback:  13606   4743