How To Unlock An Excel Spreadsheet

Productivity Software

Unlocking an Excel spreadsheet can be a real lifesaver, especially when you forget the password or inherit a locked file. I’ve been in this situation many times, and I know the frustration it can cause. In this article, I’ll walk you through different methods to unlock an Excel spreadsheet, from using built-in features to third-party tools.

Using Built-In Features

If you have forgotten the password to your Excel spreadsheet, don’t worry; there are a few features built into Excel that can help you regain access. First, try using the “Unprotect Sheet” option. Simply right-click on the sheet tab at the bottom, select “Unprotect Sheet,” and if you did not set a password for the sheet, it will be unprotected immediately.

If that doesn’t work, you can try using the “Protect Workbook” feature. Go to the “Review” tab, click on “Protect Workbook,” and if there is no password set, the workbook will be unprotected.

Using VBA Code

Another way to unlock an Excel spreadsheet is by using VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) code. Open the developer tab, click on “Visual Basic,” and then insert a new module. You can then use VBA code to unlock the spreadsheet based on the structure of the file.

Sub PasswordBreaker()
'Breaks worksheet password protection.
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

Using Third-Party Tools

If the above methods don’t work, there are third-party tools available that can help you unlock an Excel spreadsheet. Tools like PassFab for Excel, iSunshare Excel Password Genius, and Excel Password Recovery are popular choices. However, it’s important to be cautious when using third-party tools and ensure that they come from reputable sources.


Unlocking an Excel spreadsheet doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Whether you use built-in features, VBA code, or third-party tools, there are various ways to regain access to your locked file. Just remember to always keep a backup of your important files and be careful when using third-party software.