Excel tutorials

Removing a set password on a protected Worksheet

The idea for this Excel tutorial comes from my daily surfing of the Internet and reading Excel-related forums. I have noticed that more and more Excel users are using their own archive to use old Excel files (*.xls) that they once stored in the archive and now need them for some reason. Of course if these respective Excel workbooks or worksheets were password protected and passwords are not written them down or remember, then there is a difficulty in using.

Many Excel users then ask questions in the forums, "how to find a password on a protected worksheet" or "how to remove a password on a protected worksheet". There are also questions like "how to see VBA code in VBE" that used to be used for certain actions but now cannot access in Visual Basic Editor (VBE) as it is also password protected for access.

Encouraged, with these FAQs by forum groups, on this site I will describe the way "how you can remove a password in a protected worksheet".

Hacking a password in Excel?

Also, I would like to mention that the purpose of the instructions shown on this site is intended for your personal needs and the Excel files that you wish to continue to use for your own actions. Do not use the displayed instructions for malicious actions and removing passwords to workbooks which you are not the author. Note that if you downloaded the Excel workbook of another author who protected the worksheets with a password, there was a reason why the author placed protection on the worksheets or denied access to VBE. He is the author and without his explicit permission you have no right to 'hack the password' or remove the password from his workbook.
I wrote about the protection of the workbook and the protection of the worksheet in the tutorials on the active links here.

How to see VBA code on Worksheet Module if access is protected in Excel VBE (Visual Basic Editor)

About hacking Excel VBE and denying access to look at VBA code, I wrote in this tutorial "Copying VBA Code to New Excel Workbook". So MS Developers have allowed you to find out the original 'VBA code' if it is in the 'Worksheet Module'.

How to remove a password on a protected worksheet in a '*.xls' workbook

In this case, we have an example where a workbook created in Excel 2003 (*.xls format) contains a set password, ie a password to the worksheet (Let's say for this example that this workbook contains three worksheets and only the first worksheet is password protected sheet 'Sheet1'. So we want to 'hack' only 'Sheet1' (remove the password found on the 'Sheet1' worksheet)

Open the desired XLS workbook in recent Excel and save it (SaveAs) in *.xlsx format. Rename the file format extension to a ZIP format file. The result should be as shown below.

How to save an Excel file in XLS in XLSX format and rename it in ZIP format

To you see file extension ( 'format file' or 'file types') then read this tutorial to show file extension in Windows OS and learn how to show file extension in Windows Explorer or Excel, when you save the workbook.

Save workbook from XLS to XLSX and rename it to ZIP file format

1. Open the 'MyWorkbook.xls' workbook (assuming it is not password protected to open)
2. Save the open workbook in XLSX format, thus as 'MyWorkbook.xlsx'
3. Rename the XLSX workbook to 'MyWorkbook.zip'
4. After renaming, double-click on the ZIP file and find the 'Sheet1.xml' file located within the "ZIP folder". The path to our 'Sheet1' looks like this (MyWorkbook.zip\xl\worksheets\). Copy this file 'Sheet1.xlm' to the 'Desktop' of your computer

Edit text within sheet1.xml file

5. Open the copied file 'Sheet1.xml' in the 'Notepad' program. Now notice the text similar to this one in the Notepad program. You need to find (CTRL+F) the word "Password" or 'sheetProtection'.

Notice in the text below the example I worked on. (there is little text here as I did not have any information on the worksheet except for one sentence of text. I set a password on the worksheet to protect and lock all cells from changes. Notice part of the text in red letters (red font). See text below (If you have a lot of data on an Excel worksheet then this text can be very long.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes"?>
<worksheet xmlns="http://schemas.openxmlformats.org/spreadsheetml/2006/main" xmlns:r="http://schemas.openxmlformats.org/officeDocument/2006/relationships" xmlns:mc="http://schemas.openxmlformats.org/markup-compatibility/2006" mc:Ignorable="x14ac" xmlns:x14ac="http://schemas.microsoft.com/office/spreadsheetml/2009/9/ac"><dimension ref="A1"/><sheetViews><sheetView tabSelected="1" workbookViewId="0"><selection activeCell="F9" sqref="F9"/></sheetView></sheetViews><sheetFormatPr defaultRowHeight="15" x14ac:dyDescent="0.25"/><sheetData><row r="1" spans="1:1" x14ac:dyDescent="0.25"><c r="A1" t="s"><v>0</v></c></row></sheetData><sheetProtection password="CE28" sheet="1" objects="1" scenarios="1"/><pageMargins left="0.7" right="0.7" top="0.75" bottom="0.75" header="0.3" footer="0.3"/></worksheet>

So this should be removed (deleted) from the text <sheetProtection password="CE28" sheet="1" objects="1" scenarios="1"/>

6. Save the open file.
7. Copy the saved file from Desktop to 'ZIP folder' and confirm 'Overwrite'.
8. Rename "MyWorkbook.zip" to "MyWorkbook.xlsx"
9. Open the workbook in Excel
10. Notice now that no password is set to 'Sheet1', i.e. 'Sheet1' is not password protected.

So by these steps, we have removed the password (which we forgot) from the worksheet.

Remove a password from a worksheet if the workbook is in XLSM format

When it comes to Excel workbook in '*.xlsm' format, then the procedure is the same, but you will see slightly different text in Notepad. Again, it is necessary to remove (delete) some of the code between the tags referring to 'Password'. See text below (If you have a lot of data on an Excel worksheet then this text can be very long.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes"?>
<worksheet xmlns="http://schemas.openxmlformats.org/spreadsheetml/2006/main" xmlns:r="http://schemas.openxmlformats.org/officeDocument/2006/relationships" xmlns:mc="http://schemas.openxmlformats.org/markup-compatibility/2006" mc:Ignorable="x14ac" xmlns:x14ac="http://schemas.microsoft.com/office/spreadsheetml/2009/9/ac"><dimension ref="A1"/><sheetViews><sheetView tabSelected="1" workbookViewId="0"><selection activeCell="G13" sqref="G13"/></sheetView></sheetViews><sheetFormatPr defaultRowHeight="15" x14ac:dyDescent="0.25"/><sheetData><row r="1" spans="1:1" x14ac:dyDescent="0.25"><c r="A1" t="s"><v>0</v></c></row></sheetData><sheetProtection algorithmName="SHA-512" hashValue="polOcLNzKj1ZsxC1GstgVjXrQhLOjaeNSG7WsRibUrUwYDBC4+z78354GHS6Fu+GZNOdhvRv/WkFlP/1jGa7bw==" saltValue="z+XG0PhVTIU2zpzsNZreoA==" spinCount="100000" sheet="1" objects="1" scenarios="1"/><pageMargins left="0.7" right="0.7" top="0.75" bottom="0.75" header="0.3" footer="0.3"/></worksheet>

How to remove a password, to access the Visual Basic Editor for Excel (VBE) and see the VBA codes

If you want to see the VBA code in 'Excel VB Editor' in the protected VBE access workbook then you cannot do so as described above. Because in that case, the "ZIP file-folder" contains another file named "vbaProject.bin". This file contains an encrypted password to access VBE. If you try to change a part of the text related to 'DPB' in 'Notepad' in 'DPx' then when you open the XLSM file you can enter the VBE but all the Modules that were in the workbook will be deleted.

However, I will not reveal the procedure for removing the password and accessing it in VBE as this web tutorial is intended for those Excel users who used to use Excel 2003 and older and their own Excel files have the extension '*.xls' and the same have forgotten personally created passwords on worksheets who are still looking to use and modify some formulas or possibly add new Excel calculations.

Please note that "password cracking" or "password removal" or "password hacking" may be subject to the laws and regulations of your country. Password Protection You only need to 'break', 'remove' or 'hack' worksheets in a workbook you created for personal use.

DISCLAIMER: The author of these instructions completely disclaims and is barred from any difficulties in the continued use of Excel files, which may arise from the use of the instructions shown on this site.