Forgot Excel Password? How to Recover Forgotten Password for Excel File?

author_icon Ronnie Barnes time_icon Last updated: May 15, 2019 08:26 pm tips_icon Excel

It is quite easy to lose important information when handling excess data. However, with Excel software, you can organize your data better and compute them more effectively. Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet tool that comes with the Microsoft Office Suite. Due to the sensitivity of your Excel files, you may need to add a layer of security to keep them more confidential and secure from unauthorized access. Many people add passwords to the Excel files and data, but sometimes, it so happens that people forgot the password for Excel file. This can be frustrating as a lot of users may lose valuable files because they were never able to recover their passwords and as a result, their Excel files were rendered useless. But you do not ever have to worry about that anymore. If you forgot Excel password, there are numerous ways you can do to recover it, and in this article, we will be introducing valuable tools and other methods that you can use to bypass a protected excel file that you have forgotten its password.

Way 1. Recover Excel Password with VBA Code

If you need to protect a worksheet, the best way to secure it is using a password so that nobody will be able to gain access to the sheet without the password which is confidential only to you. But problems will always come up when the password is lost or forgotten. Luckily, there are numerous ways to recover Excel password if you forgot password for Excel, and the first method we will be looking at is recovering Excel Password with VBA Code.

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

NOTE: 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.

Way 2. Recover Password for Excel File with PassPer for Excel

If you have an Excel file that you need to view or open but it is password protected, and you cannot remember its password, then Passper for Excel is recommended. This tool is capable of saving the day when it comes to recovering lost or forgotten excel Passwords. PassPer for Excel recovers your 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 features of this Excel Password Recovery.

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

  • 100% remove restrictions for password protected Excel workbook or worksheet.

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

  • No data on the Excel file will be damaged.

  • Easy to use and understand user interface.

  • It supports Microsoft Excel versions 2003 to 2019.

Free DownloadFor Win 10/8/7/XP/Vista

How to Recover Excel Opening Passwords

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 four Excel password recovery attack modes namely Brute Force Attack, Combination Attack, Dictionary Attack, and Mask Attack. Find out what each of the modes entails below;

Dictionary Attack: With this recovery mode, the program will download the updated and complete dictionary and then import the dictionary file which will then sift through the entire dictionary to recover the password to the file. This mode has a high success rate.

Combination Attack: Try various combinations of the characters you provide including letters, special characters and numbers to find your password.

Mask Attack: This mode is used for people who remember the parts of the password. With this attack type, you can set the letters, minimum or maximum length, numbers or special characters in the password.

Brute Force Attack: Brute Force Attack checks all the possible password combinations to explore the correct passwords.

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    

How to Remove Restrictions on Excel Worksheet/Workbook

Apart from setting a password for your Excel file to prevent unauthorized access, you can also set a password to prevent unauthorized editing or modification. If you have set a password for unauthorized modifying but you cannot remember, and as a result, cannot make changes to your workbook or spreadsheet, you can remove this restriction with Passper for Excel. Here are the steps to follow;

Free DownloadFor Win 10/8/7/XP/Vista

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.


Way 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 "<workbookProtection workbookPassword="93AF" lockStructure="1" lockWindows="1"/> 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 "<sheetProtection …>".

delete sheetprotection tag

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

Way 4. Open Password-Protected Excel 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. They can open their password-protected Excel files without using the software. Here are the steps to follow;

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 for Excel. 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: May 15, 2019 )

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