Forgot Excel Password? This is How to Recover!

/ Posted by Shirley Howard to Excel / Follow @Shirley Howard

Many times people set Excel password on important worksheets, so other people can't modify it or delete it without permission. It is also possible that you may forgot Excel password and now you are unable to access that very important worksheet. However, Excel password forgot problem can be solved, below are some of the methods you can use to recover the forgotten Excel password.

How to recover Excel password when it is forgotten? These methods can be used to solve forgot password on Excel file problem, you can try them and unlock your important worksheet very easily.

Solution 1: Use ZIP to Unlock Locked Excel File

This method will teach you how get rid of password from an existing Excel file for Excel 2007 and 2010 workbook. If the notebook prompts for password prior to opening, then you will have to try other method. This is how you can unlock password protected Excel file using ZIP:

  • Step 1: Download and install 7-Zip, Excel files are archive so we can use 7-Zip to edit parts of archive, alternatively you can also use WinRAR or some other ZIP supported compression tool
  • open with 7zip
  • Step 2: Open the Excel file using 7-Zip, you can do that by right clicking the file and opening it with 7-Zip program, you will see several files and folders.
  • edit Excel
  • Step 3: Now find "xl" folder and right click on "workbook.xml" and select "Edit", this will open the file in notepad or any other editor you have installed
  • delete tag
  • Step 4: Find and remove this tag completely and lose the editor:
  • < workbookProtection workbookPassword="93AF" lockStructure="1" lockWindows="1"/>
  • Step 5: 7-Zip will prompt to replace the xisting XML file, select "Yes" to save modified version of Excel file.
  • Step 6: If you have password protection on worksheet then navigate to "xl\worksheets\sheet1.xml" and remove the tag "<sheetProtection … >" instead to remove password from worksheet.
  • Step 7: Now open the Excel file, your password will be removed.

Solution 2: Use VBA Code to Unlock Forgotten Excel Password

You can also fix forgot password on Excel problem using a VBA code, this method works for Excel version 2010, 2007 and earlier, newer versions however require brute force methods to unlock the file. This is how you can use VBA code to unlock encrypted Excel file:

  • Step 1: Open your protected worksheet in Microsoft Excel like any normal file
  • open vba
  • Step 2: Hold down "ALT+F11", it will open Microsoft Visual Basic for Application window interface.
  • vba code method
  • Step 3: Click "Insert>Module" and then paste the below code in the Module Window, this code will be used to unlock the Excel file.

  • Sub PasswordRecovery()
    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
    vba unlocked password
  • Step 4: Once pasted, click "F5" to execute this code, prompt screen will appear then click "OK" to close it and your password will be canceled shortly.

Solution 3: Use PassFab for Excel to Recover Forgotten Excel Password

PassFab for Excel can be used to fix forgotten password for Excel file problem, this method works for almost all versions of Microsoft Excel files. It can unlock your password very easily with brute force attacks. It works for both workbooks and spreadsheets and supports multi core CPU and GPU acceleration for fast cracking. This is how you use this program to unlock Excel files:

  • Step 1: Download, install and open the program.
  • Step 2: You will see below interface, now click "Add" to import to import Excel spreadsheet whose password you want to recover.
  • vba unlocked password
  • Step 3: There are 3 types of attack available, Brute force, Brute force with mask, Brute force with dictionary. Choose the attack type and set parameters accordingly.
  • Note: Dictionary Attack can be used when you already have a dictionary file, Brute force with Mask attack let you crack the password with whatever you remember, Brute force attack will try all the combinations to unlock the password.

    vba unlocked password
  • Step 4: Click "Start", this will initiate brute force attack, it may take time according to password length and complexity
  • recovering password
  • Step 5: Your password will be cracked once the attack is complete and a window will pop up having the password
  • password found

Microsoft Excel is an excellent tool for data keeping and other purposes, many people use it without password protection and some people may use password encryption for safe keeping of their files. Password protection allows to prevent unwanted modification and accidental deletion but it comes with a price. If you have forgotten your Excel file password, you won't be able to access that file anymore. However using the solutions mentioned above you can recover forgotten password for any Excel file quick and easily.

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