Forgot Excel Password? 5 Methods to Unlock Excel without Password

author_icon Ronnie Barnes time_icon Last updated: Oct 15, 2019 03:08 pm tips_icon Excel

"I previously protected an excel file with password but now I forgot the Excel password. My question is in a situation  like this how can I unlock the file?"

Many people add passwords to the Excel files, but sometimes, it happens a lot that people forgot Excel password. This can be frustrating as a lot of users may lose valuable files. But you do not have to worry about that anymore. If you forgot Excel password, there are numerous ways you can do to unlock the Excel file, and in this article, we will introduce valuable methods that you can use to unlock Excel password.

Situation1. Unlock Forgotten Excel Password to Open

If you have an Excel file that you need to view or open but it is password protected, and you forgot the password, then try the 2 methods below.

1.1 The Best Method: Passper Excel Password Unlocker

Passper Excel Password Unlocker is capable of saving the day when it comes to unlocking forgotten Excel Password. It can unlock your Excel password without affecting the data in the file. This tool also has a high success rate as it uses powerful algorithms to unlock the password within seconds or minutes. Below are the main features of this Excel Password Unlocker.

  • Highly recommended by well-known media sites, including Macworld, Makeuseof, PC World, etc.

  • Easily unlock the Excel password to open and view the file.

  • 100% work to unlock excel to modify for password-protected Excel workbook or worksheet.

  • It features 4 attack types namely Dictionary Attack, Mask Attack and Brute force Attack to shorten the recovery time.

  • Easy to use and understand user interface.

  • It supports Microsoft Excel versions 2003 to 2019.

media sites

Free Download for Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP

How to Unlock 'Password to Open' for Excel Documents

Step 1Launch Passper for Excel, and you will see the main user interface. Choose "Recover Passwords".

recover password step1    

Step 2Click on the "+" icon to add the excel file that you want to recover its password. Once you do this, the tool will scan the file for the complexity of the password and the encryption algorithm employed.

recover password step2    

There are 4 Excel password recovery attack modes namely Brute Force Attack, Combination Attack, Dictionary Attack, and Mask Attack.

Step 3. You can now take a rest and wait for the recovery process to complete. The recovery time is closely related with the password complexity and the password attack type you choose. After the password is displayed on the interface, you can copy it to your encrypted Excel file and open it.

recover password step3    

You can watch this video to know how the program works to unlock opening passwords for Excel files.

1.2 Modifying the File Extension

This method works perfectly with Microsoft Office 2010 version and earlier versions. You should, however, note that this method may not work with the latest versions  of Microsoft office. If you have a version of Microsoft Office earlier than  2010 on your computer, the steps below will help you unlock your Excel file.

Step 1: Save a  copy of the password-protected Excel file.

Step 2: Right-click on the file and click on  "Rename. Rename the file extension from ".xls. or ".csv. to ".zip.

change file extension

Step 3: Unzip the content of the zip file and locate the file with ".xml as its extension.

Step 4: Double click on the file in XML format and open it with XML Editor.

edit sheet file

Step 5: Press Ctrl + F and look for  "SheetProtection. Look for  the line that contains with

delete sheetprotection tag

Step 6: Save it and change the extension on the file from ".zip to ".xls or .csv.

Step 7: Click to open your Excel file and you will see that the password has been removed.


  • It works with only Microsoft Office 2007 version or earlier.

  • It is not 100% reliable.

Situation 2. Unlock Forgotten Excel Password to Modify

If you have set a password for unauthorized modifying but you have forgotten Excel password, and as a result, you will be able to make any changes to your workbook or sheet, you can remove this restriction with the methods below

2.1 Unlock Password to Modify on All Excel Sheets in 1 Click

With Passper Excel Password Unlocker that we mentioned above, you can unlock the password to modify in only one click even if multiple sheets are locked from modifying. Here are the steps to follow:

Free Download for Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP

Step 1. Install and launch Passper Excel Password Recovery tool. Select the "Remove Restrictions" on the main menu.


Step 2.Click on "+" to add the Excel worksheet you want to remove restrictions.


Step 3.Click on "Remove" and the password will be removed within seconds.


Here is the video guide:

2.2 Unlock Excel with VBA Code

The first method we will be looking at is using VBA Code.


You have to know that this method is only effective with single sheets. If you have multiple sheets that you have forgotten their passwords, you will need to run the code for each sheet by opening them one after the other.

Step 1: Open the Excel File that you have forgotten the password.

Step 2: Click on "Insert" from the Toolbar and select "Module" from the options.

insert module

Step 3: Press Alt key plus F11 on your keyboard and the VBA window will pop up.

Step 4: Enter your VBA code on the VBA window.

vba window

Step 5: Press the F5 key, and the code will run.

Step 6: Wait for some minutes for the VBA code to unlock Excel password. A new pop up window will show up where you will find the password. Write it down and use it to unlock your worksheet.

2.3. Forgot Excel Password? How to Unlock Excel Password Using Zip

This method works for existing Excel files for 2007 and 2019 versions of Excel. Check out the steps below.

Step 1. Install 7-Zip or any other type of Zip compression tool such as WinRar on your PC.

Step 2. Use the compression to open the Excel file. Right-click on the file and select "Open with WinRar or 7-Zip".

Step 3. Look for "xl" folder and right-click on "workbook.xml".

Step 4. Click on "Edit" to open the file in a text editor.

edit sheet file

Step 5. Find the tag that looks like this " and lose the editor.

Step 6. The compression tool will bring a prompt to replace the XML file. Click on "Yes" and the modified version of your Excel file will be saved.

Step 7. To remove password protection from your worksheet, navigate to "xl\worksheets\sheet1.xml" and remove the tag "".

delete sheetprotection tag

Step 8. Open your Excel file and you will not have to enter any password.

2.4. Unlock Excel File without Software

Even though there are lots of effective password recovery tools for Excel, some Excel users do not fully trust these tools. Many of them are scared that they may lose the data in their files, but fortunately, there is a solution for these people. It can fix the issue of the forgotten password for Excel without using any 3rd-party software. Here are the steps to follow;


This method only works with the version older than Microsoft office 2007. And it is not easy to understand for novice users.

Step 1. Create a new folder and move the Excel file you want to open into this folder.

Step 2. Open the folder, navigate to Organize and click on "Folder" and "Search Options".

Step 3. Select "tab view" and scroll down to uncheck "Hide Extensions for known file types".

hide extensions for known file

Step 4. Click on "Apply" and the Excel extension will change from .xlsx to .zip. Click on "Yes" when the prompt asking if you want to change the file name extension pops up.

Step 5. Open the zip file with a zip tool and click on the .xl folder. Then click on "worksheets" and then "Sheet1.xml" and open with Notepad.

Step 6. Search sheet protection password = "xxxx". Delete the password in the quotation, save the Notepad and click on "Yes".

Step 7. Change the extension to .xlsx and click on "Yes". Open the Excel sheet and navigate to "Review" then click on "Unprotect Sheet".

You will be able to edit your protected sheet as well as unlock it to set a new password.


Recovering your forgotten Excel password does not have to be stressful or frustrating. There are a lot of effective methods through which you can unlock your Excel file, and the most recommended of all is the Passper Excel Password Unlocker. You can use this tool for any versions of Excel. Get your copy of the tool today!!


By Ronnie Barnes to Excel

Posted on Apr 24, 2019 ( Updated: Oct 15, 2019 )

Ronnie Barnes, a blogger with more than 5-year experience in writing tips about password recovery for Windows and office files.