How to Unprotect an Excel File

You've been trying to open a spreadsheet you made a few weeks ago since this morning, but you just can't: Excel keeps telling you that the password you type to open the document is invalid. Has the program gone crazy? No, in reality it is you who must provide the correct access key to unlock your file: if you want, I can explain how to do it, with this guide of mine dedicated to the topic.

In the following lines, in fact, it will be my pleasure to show you how to carry out the operation in question, using a special feature offered by the famous Microsoft spreadsheet program. How do you say? You no longer remember the password needed to open your documents and would therefore like me to suggest you some useful resources for unprotect an Excel file then? No problem, I had already thought about it: you can do it using ad hoc programs, the ones you will find in the final part of the tutorial.

But now just chat and let's take action! But I recommend: put my instructions into practice only and exclusively on your files, as bypassing the protection of Excel sheets that you do not own is an operation bordering on lawfulness. I do not take any responsibility for the improper use that you could make of the indications I am about to give you. Clear? Well, then let's get to work!

How to Unprotect an Excel File

You need unprotect an Excel file whose password you remember but you don't know where and how to enter it to unlock the document? Then follow the instructions you find in the following steps: to do this, you just need to use a special function included in Excel. The thing, I anticipate, is feasible both from computers and from smartphones and tablets.

Sproteggere Un Excel File from Computer

If you are interested in understanding how to unprotect an Excel file by going to act from computer, the first step you need to take is to open the program in question on your PC (if you have not yet proceeded to download and install it, you can follow my tutorial on the subject to find out how to proceed): to do this, if you are using Windows, select the relevant collegamento that you find in Start menu, mentre is stai using MacOS click onicon present in Launchpad.

Now that you see the main software window on your screen, open the document you want to take action on by clicking on the item apri that you find in the left sidebar and then selecting the file of your interest. Alternatively, you can also open the Excel sheet of your interest by simply double clicking on its icon.

Subsequently, you will see a special window appear on the screen through which you will be asked to type the password set to protect the file: enter it in the field Password, award your bottone OK And that's it.

After opening the document, you can remove the password request from the file if you want. To do this, click on the menu Fillet located at the top left of the Excel window, select the item Information from the left side of the program screen, click on the button Protect Workbook that you find on the right and select the wording Encrypt with password give the menu check if you press.

In the further window that will open, delete the password used to protect the document in the field Password and click sul pulsating OK, to confirm the changes made. Finally, save the file again by clicking on the entry Save found in the menu on the left.

Unprotect an Excel File from App

You do not have a computer at hand and would like to understand, therefore, how to open password protected spreadsheets using theapp Excel for Android and iOS? So, to begin with, grab your smartphone or tablet, unlock it, go to the home screen and select theicon app in Excel.

Subsequently, open the file of your interest, by tapping on the item apri located at the bottom of the screen, selecting the location where the document is stored and then touching the file name.

After completing the above steps, a screen will open through which you will be asked to enter the password used to protect the document: type it in the appropriate field, tap the button OK And that's it.

Regarding the removal of the password required to access the document, I inform you that, unfortunately, Excel for mobile devices does not offer this function.

Sproteggere an Excel File Online

If you don't have Excel installed on your computer, you can open password-protected spreadsheets via browser using Sheets, the equivalent web service from Google. In this case, however, keep it in mind, the document cannot be edited but only viewed. For your knowledge, I also point out that Microsoft also offers a Web version of Excel, but this, unfortunately, does not support opening password-protected files.

That said, to unprotect an Excel file online, start the browser you usually use on your computer to surf the Net, go to the home page of Google Drive, the cloud storage service of the Internet search giant, and log in with your Google account (if necessary).

Then, drag the password-protected Excel file you want to open into the browser window or, if you have already uploaded it online, select it from the list of files on Google Drive.

After doing this, you will see a box appear where you will be asked to type in the password used to protect the document. Then enter the access key to the file in the field provided, click on the button Submit and you can finally view your spreadsheet.

As for the possibility of deactivating the password request to open an Excel file, using Google Sheets, this is not possible, as, as I told you a few lines above, the service only allows viewing of documents.

Programs to Unprotect Excel Files

As I mentioned at the beginning of the guide, if you need to unprotect an Excel file whose password you no longer remember, you can resort to the use of some programs specifically used for this purpose, thanks to which it becomes possible to identify the access key to a spreadsheet even if it has been lost.

The software in question act in two different ways: by attack Brute Force and upon dictionary attack. In the first case, the program used tries to identify the password set by trying all the possible combinations of letters, special characters and numbers, which is particularly effective for short access keys, while in the second case lists of known passwords are tested, including in special dictionaries, this solution to be preferred in the case of weak access keys.

In any case, the success of these tools, keep this in mind, essentially depends on the length and complexity of the password set, so I can't give you the absolute certainty that by using them you can get the desired result but, as they say, try it does not harm.

Script VBA (Windows)

If the document in relation to which you are interested in going to act can be viewed but not modified, or if it does not require a password to open but has one or more blocked worksheets, to unprotect it you do not necessarily have to resort to the use of special software: also avail yourself of a simple script VBA running on operating systems Windows. Note, however, that the script only works on documents created with Office 2010 and earlier versions.

Having made the necessary clarifications above, proceed to open normally the Excel file of your interest, then use the key combination Alt + F11 on the computer keyboard, in order to invoke the editor of Visual Basic. In the window that appears on the screen, double-click on thespreadsheet icon in the left sidebar (ex. Sheet1) and then paste the script below.

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

Successively click on your button Play at the top or press the button F5 on your computer keyboard, then wait for the confirmation message relating to the unlocking of the document to appear, which you will then be free to modify as you see fit.

FREE Word and Excel Password Recovery Wizard (Windows)

Another tool you can use to unprotect an Excel file is FREE Word and Excel password recovery Wizard: it is a software, free and for operating systems only Windows, thanks to which it is possible to find the password used to preserve the opening of Excel sheets. It should be noted, however, that it is not able to recover passwords longer than 8 characters and that it allows you to intervene only on spreadsheets created with editions of Office prior to 2007 (therefore in XLS format and not XLSX).

To download the program to your computer, go to its official website and click on the link Download FREE Word and Excel password recovery Wizard x.x.xx (x.x Mb) placed in the center.

When the download is complete, extract theZIP archive obtained, start the file .exe inside it and, in the window that is shown to you on the desktop, click on the button Yes. Next, click the button Next, check the box next to the item I accept the agreement and click on the button again Next (for four consecutive times). Then finish the setup by clicking on the buttons install e Finish.

Now that you see the software window on the screen, click on the button first Next and then on the button KATEGORIEN, to select the Excel file to unlock. Then click on the button again Next (for four consecutive times) and start the password identification procedure by pressing the button Go. If and when the password is found (the brute force attack tries all possible combinations of characters and this operation can take a very long time), it will be shown to you in a further window.

If you are sure that the password of the Excel file in relation to which you wish to act is made up of meaningful words in English, you can also try to identify it by going to the section Select Approach of the program, by clicking on the appropriate item at the bottom.

Then click on the button Brute Force Attack, to select the English dictionary file to use, and click on the buttons Next e Go, in order to start the recovery procedure.

Passware Excel Key (Windows)

If you need to intervene on Excel files created with Office versions later than 2007 or in any case as an alternative to the solutions that I have already pointed out in the previous lines, I suggest you use Passware Exel Key, another software used for this purpose. It is for operating systems only Windows and it is paid (the full version costs 39 $, while the unlocking of the single files costs 19 $), but you can download a free trial version with which you can find the first three letters of the passwords.

To download the program on your computer, go to its website and click on the button Download Free Demo that you find in the center. Once the download is complete, open the file .exe obtained and, in the window you see appear on the screen, click on the button Next. Then check the box next to the item I accept the terms in the License Agrement and click on the buttons Next (twice in a row), install, Yes e Finish, but will conclude the setup.

Now that you see the main software window on your desktop, click on the button Browse for file located on the right and select the Excel file you are interested in working on. Next, click on the appropriate buttons to define whether to use the default settings for password detection (Use Predefined Settings) or whether to start the wizard for choosing the correct attack method and the dictionaries to use (Run Wizard).

Afterwards, it waits for the password identification process to be completed. If and when the password is found, you will be shown a notification on the screen.