Microsoft Excel allows users to protect cells by using the password feature. However, editing the protected cells can be a nightmare if you lose or forget the set password. We know how frustrating this can be so, in this article, we reveal 5 expert ways to easily unlock protected cells in excel without a password. But first, let’s find out why cells are locked in excel.
Part 1. Why Are Cells Locked In Excel?
Cells are locked in excel to protect against unauthorized editing and formatting of the content in the excel worksheet. This is also known as excel sheet protection.
As a user, when you enable the excel sheet protection, all the cells in the worksheet are automatically protected using the set password. This means other users can view and read the content in the cells but can’t delete, format, or change any part of it without entering the set password. Locking cells in excel ensures your data is safe and secure.
Unfortunately, you might lose or forget the set password. In this case, it becomes difficult to alter your data but we discuss different pro tips to go around this below. Let’s check them out.
Part 2. Unlock A Cell In Excel Without Password
Here are different methods to unlock a cell in excel without a password:
Unlock Excel Cells With Fonegeek For Excel [Tested and Trusted]
FoneGeek for Excel is a unique password-cracking software that gives you access to edit and change protected excel cells without a password. The software is easy to use and it removes passwords from excel worksheets in minutes.
Here is a step-by-step guide to unlocking excel cells without the set password:
- Launch the software and click on the Remove Restrictions option.
- Add the Excel file you want to edit by tapping on + and click on Remove.
- After a few minutes, you’ll get a notification indicating that the excel password has been removed and you can now edit the locked cells as required.
Change The File Name Extension
Another method to unlock cells in excel without password is to change the file name extension. By changing the file name extension, you directly alter the way your PC reads the locked excel worksheet making it easier to remove the password and edit the locked cells. To make this method easier, we have categorized this method into 4 phases.
Phase 1: Change the file name
- Open your windows file manager or file explorer.
- Click the view tab at the top of the screen and check the file name extension option.
- Right-click on the excel file and wait for the pop-up menu. Then click the rename option to change the file name extension.
- Delete and replace the “.xlsx” extension with the “.zip” extension. Ensure there is no space between the excel file name and the “.zip” extension.
- Click the enter button to save the excel file as a compressed zipped folder.
Phase 2: Copy and paste the locked excel worksheet
- Click on the zipped folder and open the xl folder. By default, the xl folder has 3 subfolders; _rels, theme, and worksheet.
- You should open the worksheet folder and right-click on the locked excel worksheet.
- Copy the locked worksheet by selecting the copy option on the pop-up menu or by pressing the “Ctrl + C” buttons.
- Close and exit the compressed zipped file.
- Paste the copied worksheet outside the compressed file by clicking the “Ctrl + V” buttons or by selecting the paste option.
Phase 3: Run the locked excel worksheet through a windows code editor
- Install a windows code editor on your PC if you don’t have one installed. You can use Notepad, Atom, or Webuilder.
- Open the locked excel worksheet with the installed windows code editor
- Click on the search icon or press the “Ctrl + F” buttons to find the search bar.
- Type “protection” in the search bar and click OK or enter.
- Locate and highlight the “>sheetProtection” tag. To highlight the tag, left-click at the beginning of the tag and drag the mouse to the end of the tag.
- Delete the highlighted tag and save the modified file by clicking the “Ctrl + S” buttons on your keyboard. By deleting the “>sheet protection” tag, you directly remove the restriction on the locked cells.
Phase 4: Replace the excel file
- Copy and replace the modified file in its original destination.
- Delete the “.zip” extension and replace it with a “.xlsx” extension. This changes the modified file from a compressed zipped folder to an excel document.
- Open the excel folder and edit the protected cells without the password.
Using VBA Code to Unlock Cells
You can also unlock cells in excel without the password by using VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) codes. VBA is a programming language that can unprotect excel worksheets but this method only works on excel versions up to 2010.
Here is a step-by-step guide for this method:
- Click on and open the locked excel worksheet.
- On your keyboard, press the “ALT + F11” buttons to open VBA's macro editor.
- Using the macro editor, double-click on the password-protected excel worksheet. The worksheet can be accessed on the pop-up menu in the top left corner of your screen.
- Click on the insert tab on the top of the screen and paste the following code:
- Run the code by clicking the F5 shortcut button or the “Run” option on the top of the screen.
- After a few minutes, the VBA editor will display a new code on the locked excel worksheet. You can enter this code in the password space to unlock the excel worksheet.
Unlock Cells Via Google Sheets
Google sheets can allow you to edit locked excel sheets through your browser.
Here is a step-by-step guide for this method:
- Open a new Google sheet on your browser.
- Upload the locked excel worksheet. To do this, you should click the “Import” option from the file menu and select “Upload” to open the excel file.
- Next, select the “Select a file from your device” option from the import file window to copy the excel data on the new Google sheet.
- With the excel data imported on the Google sheet, click on the file menu and select the download option.
- Choose the Microsoft excel (.xlsx) file from the download pop-up menu. Then, save and rename the excel file on your PC
- Open the excel file and edit the locked cells as required.
Unlock Cells In Google Sheets
Here is a guide to unlocking cells in excel in Google sheets:
- From the taskbar or ribbon in the Google sheet, select the Data option and click on Protected sheet and ranges on the right side of your screen.
- Click the recycle bin icon to delete the password protection on the worksheet. The icon is beside the description bar.
- A notification will pop up asking if you want to remove protection from the worksheet. You should click Remove.
- The protection has now been removed from the locked cells and anyone with access to the excel file can edit it.
Part 3. Unlock Cells in Excel with Password
The easiest way to unlock an excel worksheet is with the known password or link. Here is a guide on how to do this:
- Open the excel file and worksheet and pick the cells you want to unprotect by using the “Ctrl” button and your mouse or trackpad.
- Click on the home option on the taskbar on top of the screen and tap the cells section.
- Click on the “Format” or “Format Cells” option.
- A dialog box will be displayed under the format cells option. You should locate the protection tab and uncheck the “Locked” option.
- From the review tab, select the protect sheet option and type the password.
- Right-click on the sheet tab and select the “Protect Sheet” option. The sheet tab is located at the bottom of the page.
Part 4. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1. How do I lock cells in sheets?
To lock cells in sheets, follow this guide:
- Open the excel file.
- Highlight the cells you want to lock or click on the left corner of the sheet to highlight all the cells.
- Click the format cells menu and select the Protection tab.
- Under the protection tab, check the locked option to lock the highlighted cells.
- Hit “OK” after inputting a set password.
You can also lock cells in excel by highlighting the cells you want to lock and hitting the F4 key twice.
Q2. Can you lock cells in Excel without protecting the sheet?
It’s possible to protect individual cells in excel without protecting the entire excel worksheet. This guide explains in detail how to do this:
- Launch Microsoft Excel on your PC.
- Go to the “check” tab and disable “sheet protection.” If the worksheet is password-protected, you’ll need to enter the password to disable “sheet protection.”
- Highlight all the cells in the worksheet through the left corner of the excel sheet.
- From the start tab, right-click on “format”. Then press “Format Cells” .
- Under “Format Cells”, go to Protection and check the “locked option.”
- Hit “OK” and select the cells that you want to protect
- Next, right-click on “Format” and go to “Format Cells” to access the “protection” tab
- From the protection tab, check the locked option to lock the selected cells in excel. This will only lock the selected cells but not the entire worksheet.
Q3. Why don’t my arrow keys work in Excel?
The arrow keys aren’t functioning because the scroll lock feature is enabled on your PC. On most computers, the scroll lock button is labeled “ScrLk” and when the scroll lock feature is enabled, an indicator light will turn on at the top of the keyboard. To fix this, press the scroll lock button on your keyboard.
Gaining access to edit locked cells in excel can be frustrating without the password but it doesn’t have to be difficult. With any of the methods discussed in this article, you can easily unlock cells in excel without the password. For more pro tips like this, check out other articles on this website.