How to Unprotect Excel Sheet without Password 2016

author_icon Ronnie Barnes time_icon Last updated: May 15, 2019 07:38 pm tips_icon Excel

When you want to protect your Microsoft Excel document from prying eyes, a password is probably the best way to do it. If you are familiar with Microsoft Excel and other Microsoft apps, you probably already know how to password-protect your Excel file. But what if you need to read the content on a password protected Excel document? The best way to do this would be to find out what the password is so you can enter it and open the document. But as life is, sometimes, you may not be in a position to find out what the password is.

It could be that your boss sent you a password protected Excel 2016 and he/she is unavailable, but you still need to finish your project in time. Whatever the situation you're in, this article will guide you through the process of unprotecting Excel 2016 without password.

1. How to Protect Excel 2016: 3 Options

Before we share with you the various ways you can to unprotect Excel sheet without password 2016, we thought it would be prudent to learn how to protect an Excel document. There are three ways to protect an excel document. They include the following;

  • You can choose to encrypt the file. This means that anyone who wants to have access to the document must input a pre-determined password to gain the access. It is perhaps the most common way to protect an Excel document.

  • The second way you can protect an Excel workbook is to protect the structure and contents. You do this by preventing certain actions on the workbook including editing changes such as inserting or removing rows, the ability to lock cells, formatting and other changes.

  • You can also choose to protect the worksheet structure and content. This is the same as protecting the workbook in the second option, but applicable to the whole sheet.

2. Unprotect Excel 2016 without Password Using Passper for Excel

Whether you've forgotten the password or someone else sets these protections, there is an easy way to unlock the Excel 2016 document and make it accessible to you. The solution comes in the form of a program known as Passper for Excel. This program is the perfect tool to help you with all issues of Excel password loss or any other protections places on a Microsoft Excel Document. Passper for Excel comes in handy in several situations, including;

  • When you have forgotten the Excel password set for that document.

  • When you lose the Excel document's password.

  • When you want to gain access to MS Excel documents with password protection.

  • When your Excel worksheet doesn't work as it should probably because of the protections we talked about above.

  • When you have no way to edit or print an Excel worksheet as you have lost the restrictions password.

Passper for Excel is particularly effective in helping you access any Excel document and workbook because it has the necessary tools to help you bypass any password or protective measures no matter how complex it may be. The following step by step guide shows you how easy it is to use Passper for Excel to access a password protected Excel document;

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

Step 1Begin by installing Passper for Excel on to your computer. Once the program is installed, launch it by double-clicking on the program's icon on your desktop. Now, click on "Recover Passwords" and then click on "Add" to import the Excel document you want to unprotect into the program.

choose recover passwords    

Step 2The next step is choosing the type of attack mode you would like to use to unprotect the document. There are three options to choose from on the displayed window;

import excel document    

Dictionary attack allows you to unlock the document by trying all password combinations. You can also choose to provide your own possible combinations in the main menu.

Combination Attack combines the letters, numbers, and symbols you choose until the password is found. For example, if you choose m, e, t, n,  this attack mode will combine them into met, men, ten, and so on until a  password is found.

Mask Attack is recommended if you have a clue on the possible password used. This mode considers the characters, prefixes, suffixes, and length of the password when helping you recover the password. It works faster if you can provide some information about the password.

Brute force attack is the ideal mode to choose if you have no idea what the password could be. Naturally, this mode will take the longest process to find the password.

Step 3As soon as you select an attack mode for your file, Passper for Excel will begin recovering the password for your document. The process may take some time depending on the complexity of the password used.

The program will display the password on your screen once it is found. You can then use the password to unlock and access the MS Excel 2016 file.

unprotect excel 2016    

3. Unprotect Excel 2016 Without a Password via VBA codes

You can also choose to unprotect an Excel document using VBA codes. Here's how to do it;

Step 1: Open the document you want to unprotect and then press "ALT +F11" on your keyboard to access the "Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications" widow or VBA.

Step 2: Under "Microsoft Excel Object" select any object and double-click on it to open a code-input window on the right.

select sheet

Step 3: Copy and paste the following code in its entirety.

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

input code

Step 4: Click on Run > Run Sub/UserForm.

run codes

Step 5: A dialog box will appear with a usable password, meaning the process has been successful. Click "OK" to close the dialog box.

click ok

Once you close the VBA window and return to your document, you should be able to edit the document without any restrictions.

4. Unprotect Excel 2016 Worksheet/Workbook without Password via Editing the Filename

If on the other hand the document you are trying to edit has not been password protected, but there are certain sections of the document that you can't access or edit, the following step by step guide will help;

Step 1: Locate the Excel document you want to unprotect on your computer. The filename on the document should have an ".xlxs" extension. Change this extension to ".zip".

change extension xlsx to zip

Step 2: Now right-click on the .zip file and choose "Extract All". This will create a brand new document in the same location and with the same name as the protected document.

extract zip file

Step 3: Open the "xl" folder and the "worksheets" folder which should contain all the sheets in the document (each sheet will be a file on its own).

Step 4: Right-click on the worksheet and select "Edit" to open the XML document in Notepad.

unzip excel file

Step 5: Press Ctrl-F and then search for "sheetProtection" or "workbookProtection". This will provide you with information about the algorithm used to protect the workbook.

Step 6: Select everything contained in "sheetProtection" and delete it. Save the file before closing Notepad.

delete sheetprotection tag

Step 7: copy the edited worksheet or workbook file and then double-click on the ZIP file to open it, don't extract it.

Step 8: Now go to the location where you stored the original worksheet or workbook and open the "xl" folder and then the "worksheet" folder. If you edited the workbook file, you should find it in the "xl" folder.

Step 9: Paste the copied file here which will overwrite the original. Close the .zip and rename the extension back to "xlxs".

Step 10: The .zip file will go back to an Excel file which you should be able to edit in MS Excel.

5. Unprotect Excel Sheet Without Password 2016 Using Passper for Excel

If the method above is not useful to unprotect your Excel sheet, then Passper for Excel can do that! Using Passper for Excel to remove restrictions on password protected Excel worksheet/workbook in one click now!

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

Step 1After installing and running Passper for Excel, click 'Remove Restrictions' tab.

choose remove restrictions    

Step 2Import the worksheet or workbook with edit restrictions and click 'Remove Restrictions' button.

add excel worksheet    

Step 2It will take only 2 seconds to remove the restrictions. You can then edit or print the worksheet without any hassle.

   unprotect excel sheet 2016

It is our hope that you are able to gain access to your protected Excel 2016 using one of the methods above. Let us know if you have any questions.


By Ronnie Barnes to Excel

Posted on Apr 22, 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.