Excel VBA: Unprotect a Workbook without using a Password – 2 Examples

The sample workbook is protected with a password.

excel vba unprotect workbook without password

Example 1 – Copy the workbook to a New File to Unprotect it Using VBA


The original file is in “xlsx” format.

  • Press F12 to open the Save As dialog box.
  • Select Save location.
  • Set these options:
    • Filename:UnprotectWorkbookWithoutPassword”.
    • Save as Type: Excel 97-2003 Workbook (*.xls).
  • Click Save.

This will convert the Workbook from xlsx to xls format. A warning message is displayed.

  • Click Continue.

excel vba unprotect workbook without password

The Workbook is Protected: no Sheet can be added and the add option is Grayed Out.

To add a VBA code:

  • Go to the Developer tab >>> select Visual Basic.

excel vba unprotect workbook without password

In the Visual Basic window.

  • In Insert >>> select Module.


  • Enter the following code in the module.
Sub UnprotectWorkbookWithoutPassword()
    For Each AllSheets In ActiveWorkbook.Sheets
    AllSheets.Visible = True
End Sub

VBA Code Breakdown

  • A Sub Procedure UnprotectWorkbookWithoutPassword is called.
  • The Workbook is copied and then duplicated.
  • The Workbook is Unprotected.

excel vba unprotect workbook without password

  • Click Save.
  • Run the code.

You will be able to add Sheets to your Workbook.

excel vba unprotect workbook without password

Read More: Excel VBA: Unprotect All Sheets

Example 2 – Unprotect a Sheet in a Workbook Using Excel VBA

Unprotect the Workbook following Example 1.

To Unprotect the Sheets:


  • Follow the procedure used in the first example to open the Module window.
  • Enter this code.
Sub UnprotectWorkbookWithoutPasswordWithProtectedSheets()
            Dim x1 As Integer, x2 As Integer, x3 As Integer
            Dim x4 As Integer, x5 As Integer, x6 As Integer
            Dim x7 As Integer, x8 As Integer, x9 As Integer
            Dim x10 As Integer, x11 As Integer, x12 As Integer
            On Error Resume Next
            For x1 = 65 To 66: For x2 = 65 To 66: For x3 = 65 To 66
            For x4 = 65 To 66: For x5 = 65 To 66: For x7 = 65 To 66
            For x8 = 65 To 66: For x9 = 65 To 66: For x10 = 65 To 66
            For x11 = 65 To 66: For x12 = 65 To 66: For x6 = 32 To 126
                    ActiveSheet.Unprotect Chr(x1) & Chr(x2) & Chr(x3) & _
                            Chr(x4) & Chr(x5) & Chr(x7) & Chr(x8) & Chr(x9) & _
                            Chr(x10) & Chr(x11) & Chr(x12) & Chr(x6)
                    If ActiveSheet.ProtectContents = False Then
                            MsgBox "Password is " & Chr(x1) & Chr(x2) & _
                                    Chr(x3) & Chr(x4) & Chr(x5) & Chr(x7) & Chr(x8) & _
                                    Chr(x9) & Chr(x10) & Chr(x11) & Chr(x12) & Chr(x6)
                            Exit Sub
                    End If
            Next: Next: Next: Next: Next: Next
            Next: Next: Next: Next: Next: Next
End Sub

VBA Code Breakdown

  • A Sub Procedure UnprotectWorkbookWithoutPasswordWithProtectedSheets is created.
  • Variable types are declared.
  • If a run-time error occurs, the next statement will be executed.
  • A For Loop is used to run the code until we get the Password to Unprotect Sheet. The loop goes from 32 to 126 decimal values of the ASCII table.
  • The VBA Chr function is used to get the Character against the Decimal value according to the ASCII table.
  • The Password is found and disclosed (it isn’t the exact Password but a generic one).

Code Module: excel vba unprotect workbook without password

  • Save and close the Module.


  • Go to the Developer tab >>> select Macros.

In the Macro dialog box:

  • Select “UnprotectWorkbookWithoutPasswordWithProtectedSheets”.
  • Click Run.

  • In the “Message Box”, click OK.

excel vba unprotect workbook without password

The Sheet is Unprotected.

Run the code for each Protected Sheet.


Read More: Excel VBA: How to Unprotect Excel Sheet Without Password

Things to Remember

  • The Second VBA code applies to protected Worksheets in an Unprotected Workbook.

Download Practice Workbook

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Rafiul Haq
Rafiul Haq

Rafiul Haq worked as an Excel and VBA Content Developer in Exceldemy for over two years and published almost 200 articles for the website. He is passionate about exploring new aspects of Excel and VBA. He received his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical and Production Engineering (MPE) from the Islamic University of Technology. Rafiul furthered his education by obtaining an MBA in Finance from the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) at the University of Dhaka. Apart from creating... Read Full Bio

  1. I can’t open the password protected file because I’ve forgotten my password. Therefore I can’t open the developer Alt+F11 module. I need code that will run from another workbook that will open the workbook that is password protected and continue running open the file as read only if nothing else. I’ve tried this process from within a separate workbook but I still can’t get the code to complete.

  2. Do you have VBA to unlock multiple password protected files at once? I have a spreadsheet that is locked with about 100 sheets in it and the person with the password no longer works with us. Going one at a time seems exhausting, not to mention time consuming. Was hoping to find a code that will do them all at once. Nothing I’ve found seems to work.

    • Reply Avatar photo
      Naimul Hasan Arif May 7, 2023 at 12:20 PM


      Thanks for your question. If you have the same password in all the files placed in a certain folder, you can apply the following VBA code.

      Sub UnProtect_Multiple_Files()
      Dim FName As String
      Dim Path As String
      Dim FSearch As String
      Path = "C:\Users\Dell\Desktop\Arif\Update\"
      FSearch = "*.xls"
      FName = Dir(Path & FSearch)
      Do While FName <> ""
      Workbooks.Open FileName:=Path & FName
      Workbooks(FName).UnProtect "1234"
      FName = Dir()
      End Sub

      Make necessary adjustments in the code in the Path and Password sections. I hope this is the solution which you are looking for.

      Naimul Hasan Arif

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