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Excel Worksheet Unprotector


Password recovery scenarios

  • Have you ever needed to trace a formula, or make a minor change in a worksheet only to be thwarted by worksheet protection?
  • Have you ever protected your work, only to forget the password by the time you need to make updates?
  • Need to cover for a colleague who is away or unavailable, but don't know the password to make the updates?

Worksheet protection

All these are common scenarios leading to lots of forum requests for password craks, crackz and hacks etc. So much so that there are several solutions posted freely on-line. These are great for occasional use, but generally have significant drawbacks for professionals trying to get past the protection so they can get their job done. Some issues we have experienced are poor performance (up to 2 minutes per password on a business class pc), failing to find the password, relying on undocumented programming flaws that have been fixed in recent versions, or are likely to be fixed in a future service pack or Excel version. But mainly the performance, and lack of support if such DIY attempts go wrong.

Codematic wsUnprotector (worksheet unprotector) add-in for Excel

wsUnprotector is an Excel Add-in that recovers and removes worksheet passwords in under 5 seconds on a business class pc (that same one that VBA code takes 2 minutes on). It also removes workbook structure passwords as fast. It can break passwords of any length, containing any combination of valid characters including non-printing ones.

wsUnprotector menu screenshot

wsUnprotector (the commercial version) can be automated from VBA (its actually an xll written in C using the ultra fast Excel C API) to unprotect all worksheets in a workbook, even where you have no idea of any of the passwords, and it will do it quickly. wsUnprotector will be included as a component in future versions of XLAnalyst as auditing workbooks with protected worksheets is all but impossible.

wsUnprotector is a single file xll add-in, similar to an .xla, but faster, deployment and installation are simple - double click the .xll file, it opens in Excel and creates the above menu. There are no external dependencies, no installation program, no registry access, and no special operating system permissions are needed.

wsUnprotector does not remove workbook open passwords, or bypass them. You must be able to open your workbook in Excel to use this add-in.

wsUnprotector worksheet password remover compatibility

wsUnprotector works with all recent versions of Microsoft Excel. It has been rigorously tested with the following versions:

  • Microsoft Excel 2010 (TP)
  • Microsoft Excel 2007
  • Microsoft Excel 2003
  • Microsoft Excel 2002 (XP)
  • Microsoft Excel 2000
  • Microsoft Excel 97

wsUnprotector works on all recent Microsoft operating systems, eg. Windows 95, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7.

The full version of wsUnprotector comes with a 30 day money back guarantee so you can buy in confidence. And it comes with full commercial grade support. Visit our shop here to purchase.

To demonstrate the performance benefits of wsUnprotector over other options we have made a (free) trial version available here. This unprotects worksheets in a realistic time, but certain other functionality is not included. It also has the odd nag screen to encourage users to upgrade to the very reasonably priced full version.

The full version can be automated from VBA to unprotect every sheet in a workbook, has a silent mode that does not throw up message boxes, and does not have the 'Visit Codematic' nags. The full version is licensed for commercial use, the trial version is simply a trial, if you find the features useful you are expected to buy the full version. The trial version is not licensed for commercial use.

To read the licence for the trial version of wsUnprotector please go here.

To read the licence for the full version of wsUnprotector please go here.

To read the pdf documentation please go here.

To buy the full version of wsUnprotector worksheet unprotector please go here.

wsUnprotector package contents

  1. wsUnprotector.xll add-in (signed with the Codematic code signing certificate)
  2. Licence
  3. Demo workbook with VBA examples
  4. Documentation (.doc and .pdf)

Worksheet password protection backgrounder

Password protecting worksheets is considered a usability feature rather than a security feature. Sadly, protecting worksheets makes them difficult to comprehend and difficult to check.

There are plenty of tools that will unprotect worksheets. Most of them are based on VBA and VBA can take several minutes to find the password. Our xll version is much much faster. It will find any password within a couple of seconds on a modern machine.


This tool is intended for those who need to understand or audit password protected worksheets. It is not intended to circumvent user controls. You can of course also use it in the case where you have forgotten a password or inherited a protected workbook you need to understand or maintain.

It is your responsibility to use our password removal tool for legal purposes only.

A general discussion on Excel security can be found here.

If you have any further questions or need any more information please contact us.


Upcoming Events:

25 January 2012 - UK Excel Developer Conference - London

Products for sale:


Office 2007 FileSearch replacement logo

New information about the missing FileSearch feature in Office 2007 and details of our pragmatic solution (Current price GBP 30.00)


worksheet password remover logo

Instant Excel worksheet protection remover and password recovery (Current price GBP 15.00)

Classic Ribbon Tab

classic ribbon for office 2007 logo

Add Excel 97/2000/2002/2003 compatible menu structure to Excel 2007
(Current Price GBP 10.00)


Products coming soon:

Link Manager

(Find and control external links in Excel Workbooks)

Due by Q1 2111.

XLAnalyst Pro

(Excel VBA based spreadsheet auditing tool)

Due before the end of 2111.

This page was last reviewed on December 21, 2011

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