Excel Password Breaker

For my 100th post on my blog here at cyberfella.co.uk I shall tell you how to recover the passwords used to protect the cells, worksheets and workbooks in Microsoft Excel.  Unlike every other post on my blog, I cannot claim that the vbscript used in the macro editor shown below is my own work.  If I knew the original author I’d gladly credit them, so let me know via the comments if you know who came up with this little gem and once I’ve verified that they are indeed the original author, then due credit will be awarded here!

So, you’re working to a deadline which is fast approaching and you’ve attempted to change the contents of a cell, and received the highly annoying message…

The cell or chart that you are trying to change is protected and therefore read-only



Subsequent attempts at unprotecting the spreadsheet results in you being prompted for a password that you have no idea of and neither does anyone else.

No problem.   You’re still gonna make that deadline.

Hit Alt F11 to open the Macro Editor, double click the sheet giving you a problem and paste the following vbscript code into the empty code pane.  

Note below that the tabs in your spreadsheet may not actually appear in the order that they were originally created in, so be sure you click the correct sheet/tab name.



WordPress is frankly terrible at formatting code in posts whether they be in quotes or not and syntax can be easily messed up resulting in code that then doesn’t work.

Click on the link below to go to a separate html page where the code will be properly formatted for you to cut and paste into your macro – and is guaranteed to work.






Now run the macro by clicking on the “Play” button on the toolbar (shown below).


There may be a delay of up to a minute or more but the likelihood is that within a few seconds a message box will appear and you’ll be presented with the password.  Make a note of it if you like, but in practice the cells in my spreadsheet were also automatically unlocked.


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