Microsoft Excel is one of the popular tools used for data analysis and calculations. However, due to the nature of Excel, a change in a cell or worksheet can affect the output produced. Therefore, most of the users use the Protect Sheet or Protect Workbook feature on Excel to avoid unwanted changes.
But what happens when you need to unprotect the Excel worksheet or workbook? There are several ways to do this and we’ll show you how.
1. Unprotect Microsoft Excel using a password
If you have the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet password protected, deprotecting it is quite easy. This is how it works:
Step 1: Launch the Microsoft Excel file.
2nd step: To identify a locked or protected worksheet, click on any of the cells and you should get a dialog stating that the sheet is protected. Click OK to close the dialog box.
Step 3: On the protected worksheet, click Review on the Ribbon tab.
Step 4: In the Protect group, select Unprotect Worksheet.
Step 5: If you have the password for the worksheet, enter the password in the dialog that appears and select OK. The spreadsheet is no longer protected if you enter the correct password.
To note: You can only unprotect one worksheet at a time. If there are multiple protected worksheets, you must follow this process for each sheet.
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2. Unprotect Microsoft Excel without password
What if you don’t have the password protected worksheet or workbook? You can still unprotect an Excel workbook or worksheet using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) or another spreadsheet such as Google Sheets.
Unprotect Microsoft Excel by uploading to Google Sheets
The latter method requires that you have an internet connection and a Google account. Here is what you need to do:
Step 1: Visit Google Sheets on a web browser.
2nd step: Under the Start a new worksheet title bar, click Empty (+).
Step 3: On the new worksheet, click File.
Step 4: Click Import from the menu.
Step 5: In the dialog box, click Download and drag the Excel file from your device to Google Sheets.
Step 6: When the file download is complete, select Import Data.
Step 7: The data from Excel should now be on Google Sheets. To transform it back into an Excel form, select File.
Step 8: Select Download then Microsoft Excel (.xlsx). Once you launch the downloaded file, the password restrictions should no longer exist.
To note: When importing Excel into Google Sheets or downloading Google Sheets in Excel format, spreadsheets may undergo structural changes.
Unprotect Microsoft Excel using Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications (VBA)
You can easily unprotect a password protected worksheet or workbook using VBA code. However, this method is only available for Microsoft Excel 2010 or earlier versions. This is how it works:
Step 1: Create a copy of the Microsoft Excel file and start the copy.
Creating a copy ensures that you have a backup in the event that VBA encoding fails.
2nd step: Check the workbook file extension. If it has the extension .xlsx, you must save it again as .xls by clicking on File and then on Save as.
The xlsx format is intended for workbooks created, modified, or saved in newer versions of Excel (Microsoft 2013 or later). The VBA method will not work for such workbooks.
Step 3: Enter the name of the Excel file and from the file type drop-down menu, select .xls and click Save.
Step 4: Start the Visual Basic Editor by pressing Alt + F11 on your keyboard.
Step 5: On the editor ribbon, select Insert then Module from the menu list.
Step 6: A new window for the VBA code should open. Notice the two drop-down lists with General and Declarations.
Step 7: In the Module window, copy and paste the code below:
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 im 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
Step 8: After pasting the code, the second dropdown should change from Declarations to PasswordBreaker. Run the program by pressing F5 on the PC keyboard.
Step 9: You should see a new password in a pop-up window consisting of the letter A instead of a normal password. Once you click OK, you get rid of the spreadsheet with password protection.
Step 10: Click Ctrl + S to save the changes.
Protect Google Spreadsheets
These were the ways to unprotect a Microsoft Excel worksheet or workbook in Windows 10. Google Sheets also offers a way to restrict changes to cells and rows. You can do this by locking cells and rows on Google Sheets.
Last updated on August 5, 2021
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