How to Remove an Excel Spreadsheet Password in 6 Easy Steps   Updated !

How to Remove an Excel Spreadsheet Password in 6 Easy Steps.

This post we show how to remove an Excel spreadsheet password in 6 easy to follow steps. It is an update to an earlier article where we discussed how you may be able to unprotect an Excel spreadsheet if you have forgotten the password used to protect it. Click here to read that article.

Unfortunately, there is no way that we can view or recover what your lost password is. However, what can be done is remove the password protection from your worksheets, so you once again have full unrestricted access to your data and information.


How to remove a password from a protected Excel worksheet.


How to Remove a Password From a Protected Spreadsheet

BEFORE you start Always make a backup copy of your spreadsheet. While the following steps will do nothing to the data in your spreadsheet, it NEVER hurts to be cautious and have a copy of your original document – “just in case…”.

Make a BACKUP copy of your spreadsheet BEFORE trying to remove the password


Step 1 Rename the extension of your spreadsheet from *.xlsx to *.zip.

Rename your spreadsheet from *.xlsx to *.zip


Step 2 Open the “ZIP” file in any File Compression software. There are many free versions available – we personally like using 7-Zip (click here to download a free copy of 7-Zip).

Open the ZIP file in 7-Zip


Step 3 Locate the “xl” folder and then the “worksheets” folder. Inside the “worksheets” folder you will see a list of all your worksheets within your spreadsheet. They will be listed as sheet1.xml, sheet2.xml and so on.

Locate the xl folder then worksheets folder

All your worksheets will be listed with xml file extensions


Step 4 If you have a lot of worksheets within your spreadsheet, then this next step can get a little tedious… Starting at sheet1.xml – open the file in Notepad and search for the line that begins with “<sheetProtection algorithmName=”SHA-512″ hashValue=“.

It will look something like:
<sheetProtection algorithmName=”SHA-512″ hashValue=”x9RyFM+j9H4J3IFFhsHo3q1kQkuLydpJlLh2mdvfvk15He/Yps8xizWt/XkAJ//g+TyqgcU+8o1QBjQvKDqIzg==” saltValue=”57YXDPnVjawU5s1nGyT8fQ==” spinCount=”100000″ sheet=”1″ objects=”1″ scenarios=”1″/>

Nb: the hashvalue and saltvalue WILL be different in your file than what is shown here.

Select this entire line – everything between and including the “<” and “>” characters and delete it.

Find and delete the <Sheet Protection line

Step 5 Save your modified xml file. Repeat this process for every xml file in your spreadsheet. Once complete, you simply need to add your modified xml files back into your “zip” file, overwriting all existing original xml files.

(To add your modified files back into your Zip file – ensure you have 7-Zip still open and navigate your way through to where the xml files are stored – i.e. go to the xl folder and then the worksheets folder. Then from your desktop (or wherever you have the modified xml files stored), select ALL your xml files and left click (and hold) and drag and drop the files from the desktop over into the 7-Zip folder.)

Add your modified xml files back into your Zip file


Step 6 Rename your *.Zip file back to *.xlsx and “tadaaaaaa!!” all your worksheets will now be unprotected and you’ll have full access to your data and information stored in them.

Rename your file back to *.xlsx

Your worksheets will no be unprotected


Continue the Discussion

Have you had to remove the password from a protected worksheet? If so, how do you do it? Did you use a similar method to the above or another method? Continue the discussion and add your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of this article.


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