How to remove an unknown password from a protected excel spreadsheet

Updated March 23, 2017

One feature of Microsoft's spreadsheet program Excel is the ability to set a password to your worksheets. However, if you have forgotten the password, it is impossible to open the document. Before removing the password, you must first retrieve the original password to gain access to your protected Excel spreadsheet. This process is easy, but will require downloading separate third party software to recover the password, after which you can remove the password from the spreadsheet completely.

Download an Excel password recovery software, such as Free Word/Excel Password Recovery Software, Excel Password Remover 2008, or Password Recovery Engine for Excel (see resources). Save the file, then click "Install" at the prompt.

Open the application. Click "Open," followed by "Browse." Select your protected Excel spreadsheet from the menu. Click "Recover" and wait for the program to recover your password.

Open the Excel spreadsheet using the password. From the "File" menu, select "Save As." Under "Tools," select "General Options."

Double-click the asterisks in both the "Password to Open" and "Password to Modify" boxes, then press the "Delete" key. Click "OK," then "Save."

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About the Author

Kara Page has been a freelance writer and editor since 2007. She maintains several blogs on travel, music, food and more. She is also a contributing writer for Suite101 and has articles published on eHow and Answerbag. Page holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of North Texas.