How to unlock a password protected Excel file

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March 16, 2012

Have you ever set a password for an excel spreadsheet and forgotten it? Well I know I have! To unlock a password protected Excel file is simple:

1. Open the password protected spreadsheet in Excel-> Go to the locked page

2. Press ALT + F11 (This brings up the VBA editor)

3. Double click on the spreadsheet, if the code editor doesnt come up click on the spreadsheets tab (see pitcture below)

4. Paste the following code in:

Sub PasswordBreaker()
‘Author unknown but submitted by brettdj of

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.UnprotectChr(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)
Range(“a1”).FormulaR1C1 = 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
5. Close the VBA editor, save the spreadsheet as Macro enabled

6. Under the developer tab, go to macros

7. Open the macro (should be called ‘Sheet2.PasswordBreaker’)

8. Done
The password for the Excel file won’t be recovered but you can at least now edit your spreadsheet. Enjoy!

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