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How to Bypass Password or Sheet Protection on Excel Workbook 2013/2016

Situation 1: Excel 2013 keeps asking for a password to open the workbook, but you don’t know or forgot the password?

Excel asks for password

Situation 2: Each time you attempt to edit the sheet in Excel 2016, you are blocked with the warning message shown below?

sheet is protected

If you are in either of the above two situations where you lost read or write access to an Excel workbook, this respectively means password or sheet protection is added to protect the Excel Workbook 2013/2016. Now this page will explain how to bypass password and sheet protection on Excel workbook to help you regain read and write access to the worksheet.


Part 1: How to bypass password on Excel workbook 2013/2016

So far, there is no any available way you can directly bypass a lost/forgotten password to open an Office document/workbook. What you can do is to firstly reveal the password with the help of specialized third-party software tool and then open the workbook to remove the password so that next time you can bypass the password and directly open the Excel workbook.

Step 1: Reveal forgotten password to open Excel workbook

1. Download Excel Password Refixer software, install, and then launch it on your computer.

2. Add the password protected Excel workbook file path into the software, by clicking Open button and then browsing for the target Excel file..

add excel file path

3. Select one password attack type.

select one attack type

4. Click Start to start discovering password.

5. Once password is revealed on the dialog, click Copy followed by Open. Then paste the password to open the encrypted Excel workbook.

excel password is revealed

Step 2: Bypass password on Excel workbook

1. Click File -> Info, and then click Protect Workbook -> Encrypt with Password.

Click on Encrypt with Password

2. Delete the password that encrypts the contents of this workbook and click OK.

delete password

3. Press Ctrl + S to save the workbook. Then next time you open the Excel workbook, you can bypass the password and directly open it.

Part 2: How to bypass sheet protection on Excel 2013/2016

When the sheet is simply protected without password set, just need to click on Unprotect Sheet button under the Review tab and you can successfully unprotect the Excel spreadsheet without password required.

Click on Unprotect Sheet button

However, when the sheet is protected with password set, but you don’t know the password, you need to bypass the Excel sheet protection by the following steps.

Step 1: Make sure the Excel workbook is closed.

Step 2: Change the Excel workbook’s file name extension from .xlsx to .zip. Click Yes when prompted with a warning dialog.

change file name extension from .xlsx to .zip

Step 3: Open the .zip file. Go to the folder xl -> worksheets, and there you can see a sheet1.xml file.

Step 4: Open the sheet1.xml file with a text file such as WordPad or Notepad. Press Ctrl + F to bring up the Find dialog, type sheetprotection in the Find what box and then click Find Next. It will immediately find and highlight the sheetProtection string for you. Delete the entire element that starts from "<sheetProtection" and ends with "/>".

delete sheet protection

Step 5: After deletion, press Ctrl + S, save this sheet1.xml file on the desktop, and then close it. Open the xl -> worksheets folder in the .zip file again, and replace the original sheet1.xml file with the modified sheet1.xml file. Then close the .zip file.

Note: The above Step 5 applies to Windows 8/10. If you are trying to bypass sheet protection for Excel 2013/2016 on Windows 7 computer, just need to press Ctrl + S to save the sheet1.xml file and simply update it in the .zip file when prompted.

Step 6: Change the .zip back to .xlsx. At this point, you’ve successfully bypass the Excel sheet protection.

Step 7: Open the .xlsx workbook. You will find the sheet protection has been gone and you can make changes to the cells or sheet.

Tips: If you think the above steps are cumbersome and difficult for you, try to use Workbook Protection Refixer to remove Excel sheet protection instantly.