Unlocking an Excel Spreadsheet Without a Password

Nowadays we need to remember too many passwords. In this Excel tutorial, I’ll share you options for unlocking an Excel spreadsheet without a password in case you forgot one.


Unlocking or attempting to break into password-protected documents without authorization may be illegal and unethical. Always ensure you have the right or ownership to modify the Excel file. The following information is provided for educational purposes and should only be used on files you own or have permission to edit.

Methods to Unlock Excel Spreadsheet Without Password

Before attempting any method, ensure you have a backup of the Excel file.

Use VBA Code to Unlock Sheet

Excel allows the use of VBA to automate tasks. Specific VBA scripts are designed to unlock sheets, but effectiveness may vary based on Excel version and complexity of the protection.

Zip Software Method (For Older Excel Versions)

  • Change the file extension from .xlsx to .zip.
  • Open the zip file and navigate to the xl folder, then worksheets.
  • Delete or edit the file related to sheet protection.
  • Revert the .zip extension back to .xlsx.

Using Google Sheets

Sometimes, uploading the locked Excel file to Google Sheets automatically removes the sheet protection, allowing you to then download it again as an unprotected Excel file. This doesn’t work for opening passwords but can sometimes bypass sheet protections.

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Professional Software

There are professional tools available designed to unlock Excel files. Ensure any software used is from a reputable source and understand there may be costs or risks involved.

Contact the Creator

If possible, the simplest and most ethical approach is to contact the person who set the password for the correct password or a password removal.

Ethical and Legal Considerations

  • Ensure you have legitimate access to the document and are not infringing on any privacy or data protection laws.
  • Understand that attempts to unlock a password-protected file may result in data corruption or loss.

While there are methods to unlock an Excel spreadsheet without a password, they should be used responsibly and ethically. Always ensure you have the right to access and modify the file. If in doubt, seeking permission from the owner or creator of the document is not only ethical but also the legally sound approach. For sensitive and important data, professional data recovery services might be the most appropriate and secure option.