One of the best things about Excel is the ability to protect your files at all levels. You can choose to protect the Workbook from structural changes, meaning that unauthorized persons are unable to change the number or order of sheets on the workbook. You can also set a password to prevent someone from altering the worksheets, which essentially means that they can't copy, edit or delete any content on the worksheets. And, you can also set an opening password that will prevent someone from opening the document itself unless they have the password.
While these passwords can be effective, they can also keep you from accessing the document when you need to. If you find yourself locked out of an Excel document because you either don't know what the password is or you have forgotten the password, this article will be very helpful to you. In it, we will look at some of the ways you can unlock Excel without a password.
1. What is Password Unlocking?
Before we discuss how you can unlock a password protected Excel document, we feel we have to address the general concept of password unlocking. Password unlocking is a process that uses several methods to recover password from data stored or transmitted via a computer system. One of the most used methods to unlock a password is the brute force attack method. This method utilizes a guessing method that repeatedly guesses different password until the correct password is found.
Password unlocking is useful for a number of reasons. The most obvious is to help users recover a password for a system or in this case a document. You may also use password unlocking methods to gain access to an unauthorized system and there have been situations where organizations use password unlocking methods to easily find recoverable passwords and consequently choose a stronger password.
2. Unlock Excel to Open the Document
If you are unable to open the Excel document without a password, the following are some of the options you can try.
It is not necessary to install any software on your computer to crack the opening password on your Excel document. You can use one of the many online tools designed for that task. Using an online tool may be ideal for you if the file doesn't contain important information and the password in question is relatively weak. Most online tools use a brute force attack method of recovery and are therefore only effective about 21% of the time. There are some online tools having a 61% success rate, but they are premium tools, meaning that you have to pay to use them.
But perhaps the biggest disadvantage of using online tools is the fact that you have to upload the Excel file on to the online platform. This poses a danger to the data on the Excel file since you don't know what the owners of the online tool will do with your document once the password has been removed.
Cons of This Method:
The recovery rate is very low.
Data in the Excel file is not secure.
2.2 Unlock Excel Passwords by Changing File Extension
If you are using MS Excel 2010 or previous versions, you may be able to unlock the document by changing the file extension. Here's how to do that.
Step 1: Begin by creating a copy of the password protected Excel file, so you'll have a copy of it in case something goes wrong.
Step 2: Right-click on the file and then choose "Rename". Change the file extension from ".csv" or ".xls" to ".zip".
Step 3: Unzip the contents of the newly created Zip file and then look for the file ending in .xml format. Open the file.
Step 4: Use "Ctrl + F" feature to open the search function and search for "SheetProtection". You are looking a line of text that begins with; "<sheetProtection algorithmName="SHA-512″ hashValue=".
Step 5: Remove the entire line of text and then save the file and close it. Now change the file extension back to .csv or .xls.
You will no longer need a password to unlock the document the next time you open it.
Cons of This Method:
MS Excel 2010 or previous versions are not supported.
Both of the solutions above can only work if you have a relatively older version of Excel. For newer versions and a higher chance of success, you may want to use Passper for Excel. Passper for Excel is a password recovery program that can be useful in helping you bypass an opening password on any Excel document, even the latest version. It has a number of features designed to make password recovery very easy. They include the following:
Unlock Opening & Editing Passwords: Recover passwords like the opening password and also remove editing restrictions on any Excel sheet or workbook.
Fastest Password Unlocking Speed: It has one of the fastest password unlocking speeds in the market, being able to check nearly 3,000,000 passwords every second.
Highest Chance of Password Recovery: It gives you the option to choose from one of 4 attack modes and a dictionary of millions of frequently used passwords, further increasing the chances of password recovery and significantly reducing the recovery time.
It is fully compatible with all versions of Microsoft Office and is very easy to use.
No Data Loss: It is also safe, none of the data on your Excel document will be affected in any way by the recovery process
100,000 + Downloads
Here's how you can use Passper for Excel to unlock a password protected Excel document.
Step 1: Install Passper for Excel on your computer and then launch it. On the main window, click on "Recover Passwords".
Step 2: Click on the "+" button to select the Excel document you would like to unprotect. When the document is added on to the program, select the attack mode you would like to use and click "Recover". The attack mode you choose will depend on the complexity of the password and whether or not you have a clue on what it could be.
Step 3: As soon as you select the attack mode, Passper for Excel will immediately begin working on recovering the password. After a few minutes, the process will be complete and you should see the password displayed on the screen.
You can then use the recovered password to open the protected Excel document.
3. Unlock Excel to Modify
Like we mentioned before, it is also not unlikely to find an Excel document that can't be modified. The owner of the document can place restrictions that are aimed at making it difficult for users to edit the content on the document. In this case, you can try one of the following solutions;
Google Docs provides a less complicated way to unlock any Excel document when you want to modify it. Follow these simple steps to do it.
Step 1: Go to docs.google.com on any browser on your computer and sign in if you are not already signed in.
Step 2: Click on the main menu and then select "Sheets" from the options listed.
Step 3: Now open the protected Excel document and then click on the top left corner to select all the cells on that document.
Step 4: Click "Copy" or hit Ctrl + C.
Step 5: Now go back to the Google Docs and select the cells in that document by clicking on the top left corner or pressing Ctrl + A on your keyboard.
Step 6: Click on "Edit > Paste" and all the data on the Excel worksheet will be transferred to the Google Sheet. You can then modify the document any way you want and download it back to your computer when you need to.
Or, you can choose to use Passper for Excel to remove the restrictions in a single click. Here's how to do that.
Step 1: Open Passper for Excel on your computer and then click on "Remove Restrictions".
Step 2: Click "+" to import the document into the program.
Step 3: Once the document is added, click on "Remove" and the program will lift any restrictions on the document in as little as 2 seconds.
Unlocking password protected Excel document doesn't have to be difficult. With Passper for Excel's faster recovery speeds, more attack modes and higher recovery rate, it presents your best option at quickly unlocking any password protected Excel document.