Remove Excel Password from Excel file/Worksheets/Workbook Structure

Do you find yourself in a situation where you’ve forgotten the password to your crucial Excel files, worksheets, or even the entire workbook structure? Fret not! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through various methods to regain control of your data. Each method serves a unique purpose, catering to different scenarios. Follow these steps, and you’ll be back to manipulating your data in no time.

Method 1: Use Safe Mode

Step 1: Open Excel in Safe Mode

  • Close all Excel files.
  • Press Win + R to open the Run dialog.
  • Type excel /safe and press Enter.

Step 2: Open Password-Protected File

  • Once in Safe Mode, open the password-protected file.
  • Navigate to the “Review” tab and select “Unprotect Sheet” or “Unprotect Workbook.”
  • If prompted for a password, leave it blank and click OK.

Step 3: Save the Unprotected File

  • Save the file with a new name to retain the original, password-protected version.

This method often works for simpler passwords, but if the protection is robust, consider the next method.

Method 2: Use VBA (Visual Basic for Applications)

Step 1: Open the Excel File

  • Press Alt + F11 to open the Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) editor.

Step 2: Insert a New Module

  • Right-click on any item in the Project Explorer and choose Insert > Module.

Step 3: Paste the VBA Code

  • Copy and paste the following code into the module:

Sub PasswordBreaker()
    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

Step 4: Run the Macro

  • Close the VBA editor and run the macro by pressing F5.


This VBA code attempts various combinations to break the password. However, it might take a considerable amount of time for complex passwords.

Method 3: Online Password Removal Tools

Step 1: Choose an Online Tool

  • Select a reputable online tool that specializes in removing Excel passwords.

Step 2: Upload the File

  • Upload your password-protected Excel file to the online tool.

Step 3: Wait for Processing

  • Allow the tool to process your file, and once done, download the unprotected version.

Online tools are convenient but come with security risks. Only use trusted platforms and be cautious about uploading sensitive data.

Method 4: Use a Hex Editor

Step 1: Obtain a Hex Editor

  • Download and install a hex editor such as HxD or Hex Fiend.

Step 2: Open the Excel File in Hex Editor

  • Open the password-protected Excel file in the hex editor.

Step 3: Search and Replace

  • Search for the term “DPB” and replace it with “DPx” to remove the workbook structure password.

This method requires a bit of technical know-how, so proceed with caution.

Method 5: Save As XML Spreadsheet

  1. Open Password-Protected File: Open the password-protected Excel file using Excel.
  2. Save As XML Spreadsheet: Go to “File” > “Save As” and choose “XML Spreadsheet (*.xml)” as the file format.
  3. Close and Reopen File: Close the Excel file and then reopen the newly saved XML file using Excel.
  4. Save As Usual Excel File: Once opened, go to “File” > “Save As” again, but this time choose “Excel Workbook (*.xlsx)” as the file format. This will create a new copy of the file without any password protection.

Method 6: Using ZIP Software

  1. Change File Extension: Make a copy of the password-protected Excel file and change the file extension from “.xlsx” to “.zip”.
  2. Extract ZIP Archive: Use any ZIP software like WinRAR or 7-Zip to extract the contents of the ZIP archive.
  3. Edit Workbook XML Structure: Navigate to the “xl” folder within the extracted contents and open the “workbook.xml” file using a text editor.
  4. Remove Protection Tag: Search for <workbookProtection> tag and delete the entire line containing it.
  5. Save Changes and Re-Zip: Save the changes to the “workbook.xml” file and update the contents of the ZIP archive.
  6. Restore Original File Extension: Change the file extension back to “.xlsx”.
  7. Open Unprotected File: Open the modified Excel file using Excel, and it should now be unprotected.


Regaining access to your password-protected Excel files, worksheets, or workbook structures is indeed achievable, and the method you choose depends on the complexity of the password and your comfort level with the procedures. Whether you opt for the simplicity of shortcuts, the power of VBA, the convenience of online tools, or the precision of a hex editor, always ensure the security of your data throughout the process. With these methods at your disposal, Excel will once again become the powerful tool it was meant to be, without the constraints of forgotten passwords.

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