How to Unprotect Excel 2016 without Password

If you are in this critical situation where you had password-protected your Excel 2016 spreadsheet and you have lost or forgotten the password, how will you be able to get hands-on the important information which you safeguard from prying eyes? When you unprotect an Excel 2016 spreadsheet or workbook, it will allow you to modify the document without experiencing any restrictions. If you want to edit a password protected sheet but lost or unable to remember the password, you have to know how to unprotect Excel 2016 without a password, just use any of the below methods to get the job.

Way 1: Unprotect Workbook Excel 2016 without Password using VBA Code

how to unprotect excel sheet 2016 without password

How to unprotect Excel Workbook without password 2016? If you have safeguarded your workbook with a password and you accidently misplaced it or cannot remember it, you can unprotect the workbook with the following macro. With this you can easily unlock the Excel workbook, just follow the steps below.

Step 1: Double click your Excel file. Press Alt + F11 to open the Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications.

Note: If there is an open password in your Excel file, then you need to unlock it with the correct password. If you forgot the password, go to Option 2 in Way 2.

Step 2: Now right click on the workbook name and select Insert > Module.

unprotect excel sheet using vba code

Step 3: A text box window will appear in the right pane. Copy the following code and paste it.

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 "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

enter code in vba

Step 4: Now click on Run button and wait for the process to complete.

how to unprotect excel sheet without password 2018

Step 5: When the code is cracked, macro will notify. The password will not be the same instead it will be combination of A’s and B’s. Click OK and the Excel document is unprotected.

Some points to remember:

  • If Excel file contain 2 or more protected sheets, run this code for each sheet.
  • If your Excel document version is later than 2010 then first save the document as Excel 97-2003 workbook (*.xls), run the macro, and then save it back to original version.

Way 2: Unprotect Excel 2016 without Password via PassFab for Excel

If you don’t seem to remember or misplaced the password for your Excel 2016 file, you do not have to worry because you can easily unlock the password using PassFab for Excel software. This fantastic tool is a solution to all Excel passwrod loss problems and support any Microsoft Office Excel version.

You can use it when you:

  • Forget MS Excel file password.
  • Lose MS Excel document password.
  • Want to read contents in password protected Excel files.
  • Your Excel Spreadsheet password doesn't work.

Option 1. Unprotect Excel 2016 Workbook or Sheet

Step 1. Run this tool and choose "Remove Excel Restriction Password", then go ahead.

remove excel restriction password via passfab for excel

Step 2. Import your Excel file with is protected with a protection password.

import excel file in passfab for excel

Step 3. Click "Remove" button, your workbook password and sheet password will be removed within 5 seconds.

remove excel restriction password successfully

Now you can make changes to the Excel file, such as adding sheet or modifing the content.

Here is a video guide about how to unprotect Excel worksheet password by using this excellent Excel password recovery tool:

Option 2. Unlock Excel 2016 Open Password

unlock excel 2016 open password

If there is an open password in the Excel file, then you have to unlock the open password at first, then you are able to unprotect Excel 2016 without password. So if you do not remember the password and want to open the Excel 2016 workbook, you can use the Excel password recovery tool. Here is the guide to open the Excel 2016 file without password.

PassFab for Excel box
  • Recover Excel File Password to Open
  • Remove Excel Restriction Password to Edit
  • Unprotect Excel Workbook and Sheet without Password
  • Support Microsoft Excel 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007 and More

Step 1: Open this Excel password recovery tool, choose "Recover Excel Open Password", click on "+" to import the Excel file you want to open.

choose recover excel open password

Step 2: Now select the Attack type and set parameters accordingly. There are three types of attacks which are Brute-force Attack, Brute-force with Mask and Dictionary Attack.

  • Brute-force with Mask Attack: In this attack, possible password length and character settings are set to recover the target password with less time.
  • Brute-force Attack: This method is thorough and try all possible combinations of characters and symbols which also takes considerable time to find MS Excel password.
  • Dictionary Attack: In this method, lost password is recovered through making password combinations available in built-in or self-created dictionary.
choose attack mode to unlock

Step 3: Click on Start to recover or remove password from Excel 2016. Finally you can easily open the file with the recovered password.

excel 2016 password recovery

Way 3: Unprotect Sheet without Password using ZIP

unprotect excel 2016 spreedsheet without password

If you are not comfortable to use the VBA code method there is another way to unlock excel 2016 without password. In this method you can unlock the Excel worksheets without any knowledge of password. To use this method, you must have had WinRAR or 7-ZIP application. To unprotect Excel 2016 without password using ZIP, follow the below steps.

Step 1: Right click on the Excel file and rename its extension to .zip. Click Yes to Rename it.

rename extension for your excel file

Step 2: Now open the ZIP archive file with WinRAR or 7-ZIP. Navigate to xl > worksheets where you can see all the sheets which were in the Excel 2016 document like sheet1.xml, sheet2.xml, sheet3.xml file. If you are using WinRAR double click on the sheet file which you want to unprotect and open it with Notepad for example sheet1.xml.

open excel 2016 as xml

Step 3: Now simply delete the whole tag that start with sheetProtection and save the file and close it.

modify the new file in notepad

Step 4: Click on Yes if a prompt asks to update the file in the archive.

save your changes for the new file

Step 5: Now rename the ZIP file back to the *.xlsx extension. Now when you will open the Excel document you will see the that worksheet will be unprotected. You can open it and edit the sheet without any restrictions.

Way 4: Alternative Solution - Copy Protected Excel Contents to Another Worksheet

There is alternative with which you copy protected Excel file contents to another worksheet and then save that copied file. This is an easy way because you do not have to go through the steps on how to unprotect Excel sheet without password 2016. In this substitute method you unlock an Excel sheet which was secured with password, by copying the entire data in the protected worksheet to a new sheet. Here are the simple steps to do this.

Step 1: Open the Excel 2016 document and open the worksheet which is password protected.

Step 2: Select the cell A1, and press Shift + Ctrl + End. With this you will select all the used cells in the worksheet.

how to unlock cells in excel without password by copying to a new sheet

Step 3: Press Ctrl + C to copy the selected cells. Or simply Right click on the cell and select Copy.

Step 4: Now create a new worksheet. You can do so in the same Excel workbook or in a separate workbook. If you are creating the worksheet in the same workbook, you can press Ctrl + N or click on the + Sign below.

create a new sheet

Step 5: In the new blank worksheet again select the cell A1 and the press Ctrl + V to paste all the content in the new worksheet.

how to unlock excel spreadsheet without password

All the content is now copied in the new worksheet which you can use without any preventions. This method will not work if Select locked cells and Select unlocked cells actions are blocked in the protected sheet. Also if there are external links in the worksheet from which you copied, you may have to rebuild those links.


So now you have been guided with all the methods which can be used to unprotect Excel sheet without password 2016. This is helpful because when one has accidently lost the password, he or she can see and work on the data again by using any of the above approaches. Also there are some Excel 2016 password recovery tools which can be used to bypass or unlock the password of Microsoft Excel for you. They provide many methods to unprotect the Excel 2016 workbook.

Updated on / Posted by Shirley Howard to Excel Tips / Follow @Shirley Howard

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