The Ultimate Guide to Unlocking Excel Spreadsheets


Mar 20, 2023 (Updated: Mar 20, 2023) • Filed to: Unlock File

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We all know that Excel includes a password protection feature that allows users to lock their data to ensure that it is not peeked at or modified at by others. However, when you need to share an Excel spreadsheet with someone, how do you unprotect it and make sure your data remains intact? This seems to be a challenging situation.

Don't worry, here are the best ways to unlock Excel spreadsheets with or without password!

Part.1 How to Unlock Excel Spreadsheet with Password?

Excel makes it very simple to safeguard individual sheets using password protection. Even more simply, once you know the password to the spreadsheet, unprotecting it is a piece of cake. If you have the sheet's password, deactivating the protection on the sheet will take only a few moments.

Step 1. Choose Unprotect Sheet from the context menu after right-clicking the sheet tab.

Step 2. Click the Unprotect Sheet button in the Review pane's Modifications group.

Step 3. Click the Format button within the Cells group on the Home tab, and then from the drop-down menu that appears, pick Unprotect Sheet.

Step 4. Excel will prompt you to enter the password whenever you attempt to interact with a worksheet that has been secured with one. After entering the password, click the OK button.

Step 5. Click the Unprotect Sheet button in the Review pane's Modifications group.

Step 6. If the spreadsheet was not secured with a password, all required to unlock the sheet is to hit the button labeled "Unprotect Sheet."

Part.2 How to Unlock Excel Spreadsheet without Password?

Even the latest versions of Excel have insufficient protection for worksheets. If you have a password-protected Excel spreadsheet that you need to alter but have forgotten the password, you can attempt one of the following solutions.

Solution 1. Via iCrowBar

iCrowbar is a professional and famous document password recovery tool. It has 4 advanced attack modes that can help you easily recover passwords for Excel, Word, PowerPoint, PDF, RAR and ZIP without restrictions, and also get rid of editing and formatting restrictions for these files. If you have forgotten your Excel password, iCrowbar can help you unlock Excel spreadsheets without password in one click.

Here are the steps:

Step 1. Launch iCrowbar

Install and launch WooTechy iCrowbar on your computer.

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Select Excel option.


Select the "Recover Passwords" mode.


Step 2. Add the Encrypted Excel File and Select an Attack Type

Tap "Add" to import the password-protected Excel file into the program.

Choose a mode of attack base on your situation.


Mode 1. Dictionary Attack

It is a widely used method to unlock passwords for Excel File.
It makes use of a dictionary that has millions of the most popular passwords. Thus there is a good likelihood of recovery.
You may use the built-in dictionary in this mode or import your own from the options menu.

Mode 2. Combination Attack

By adjusting the character settings and randomly mixing the characters you select, you can find your password.
For instance, you often generate a password of 6–8 characters using your name (Tom) and a few digits.
You can customize the settings as follows:

Password Length: 6-8 characters

Uppercase Letters: T

Lowercase Letters: o,m

Numbers: Select All

Just the characters you chose will be combined, and all possible combinations of these characters will be tested.
It will find your password more quickly if you use a shorter password.

Mode 3. Mask Attack

It is strongly advised that you utilize this technique if you know even a small bit about the password. It will attempt to recover the password by taking into account the characters, prefixes, suffixes, and length of the password.
If you are familiar with specific character kinds that are not in the password, this strategy will work better.
You know, for instance, that your password won't contain any symbols. You often use a password between 6 and 8 characters and believe it could incorporate your name (Mary).
You can customize the settings as follows:

Password Length: 6-8 characters

Characters not included: symbols

Characters or combinations of characters may be included: Mary

The computer will mix "Mary" with all the other characters (numbers, lowercase letters, and symbols aside from those) to determine your password. If the complete name "Mary" isn't in the password, write the letters individually.

Mode 4. Brute Force Attack

This approach should be used if you have no idea what the password to your Excel file could be.
Remember that using this approach will result in a slight delay in obtaining the file's password.

Step 3. Recover Excel Password

Click "Recover" after choosing an attack mode and customizing the settings. The password recovery process will begin. Hold off until it fixes things.

After the password is discovered, it will be shown on your screen. The password may then be used to launch MS Excel and access your file.


Key Features of iCrowbar




  • Recover passwords of Excel, Word, PowerPiont, PDF, RAR, ZIP etc. and open them with the 100% success rate.

  • Remove 6 documents worksheets/workbooks restrictions without losing data.

  • Able to copy the password after recovering 6 documents password.

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Solution 2. Via Google Sheets

You can unlock Excel spreadsheet without password through Google Sheets. In fact, with Google Sheets, anyone with a Google account can unprotect an entire Excel file, even if they don't have a password.

Here are the steps:

Step 1. Open a web browser and navigate to

Step 2. Choose Add New from the menu. You can find it in the top left corner of the page.

Step 3. Click the "Upload File" button. This action brings up the Open panel on your pc.

Step 4. Click the Open button after choosing the Excel file you wish to modify. The file will be uploaded to your Google Drive once you click this button.

Step 5. You may access the Excel file by double-clicking on it in Google Drive.

Step 6. Select the Open with menu.

Step 7. Choose the Google Spreadsheets option. Formerly protected sheets in Excel can now be edited freely in Google Sheets.

Step 8. The file must be redownloaded to your PC.

Solution 3. Via Copying the File

Another remedy (or alternative) to unlocking a password-protected Excel spreadsheet is to copy its contents to a new worksheet.

Here are the steps:

Step 1. Launch the protected document.

Step 2. If you put the cursor on cell A1 and then hit Shift + Ctrl + End, the entire worksheet will be highlighted for you.

Step 3. To copy the chosen cells, hit Ctrl + C.

Step 4. Create a new Excel file by pressing Ctrl + N, or make a new sheet in the active worksheet by pressing Ctrl + N again.

Step 5. Copy the contents of the password-protected sheet, move the pointer to cell A1 of the current blank sheet, and press Ctrl + V.

Solution 4. VBA code (for Excel 2010 and lower)

If you are utilizing Excel 2010 or an earlier version, you can use the following macro to decrypt a sheet that has been password encrypted.

Step 1. Launch Excel and navigate to the protected worksheet.

Step 2. To open the Visual Basic Editor, simultaneously hit the Alt key and F11.

Step 3. Choose Insert > Module from the context menu that appears when you right-click the workbook title in the left pane (Project-VBAProject pane).

Step 4. When the new window pops up, copy and paste the code.

    Sub UnprotectSheet()
    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)
    Range("a1").FormulaR1C1 = 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

To proceed, use F5 or the Run option in the toolbar, then settle in for a few minutes.

The macro will return a cracked password but will differ from the original (always a mix of A's and B's). This bogus passphrase is not required for any purpose. The sheet's protection will be removed once you click OK.


These are the 4 best ways to unlock Excel spreadsheet protection in 2023. You can choose any method you like to unlock protected Excel workbooks. Obviously, iCrowbar would be the easiest way for you to unlock your Excel spreadsheets.

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