How to Unprotect A Workbook And Worksheet In Excel

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Workbooks or worksheets can be protected to prevent the manipulation of data either intentionally or accidentally. Passwords can be put in place to ensure only those employees who have the password can access the Workbook or Worksheet. The following article will detail how to unlock excel files for editing that are not password protected, unprotect a password-protected workbook, and how save the information in a password-protected workbook when the password is forgotten or lost.

Understand A Protected Worksheet Limits 

However, first, understand protected worksheet limits that include users’ ability to edit within a single worksheet. A protected workbook prevents users from making structural changes like moving, deleting, or adding sheets to the Workbook.

Neither of these protections will prevent someone from opening the Excel workbook; they only limit the freedom within the Workbook or Worksheet. That being said, protecting a workbook or Worksheet should be used when you want to prevent the tampering of your data or structure of your Workbook but should not be used as a security measure to protect sensitive data.

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Unlock Sheet in Excel:

A protected worksheet limits the ability to edit.

Go to the REVIEW tab in the Ribbon and select Unprotect Sheet or Unprotect Workbook. You will now be free to make changes within the Worksheet and just remember to protect it again once all work has been completed.

Unprotect a password protected Worksheet or Workbook:

If the Worksheet or Workbook is password-protected, when you click on Unprotect Sheet or Unprotect Workbook, a dialog box will open asking you to enter the password. Once the password has been entered, the Worksheet or Workbook will be unprotected, and you will once again be able to make changes or edit.

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Save the data from a password protected Worksheet or Workbook:

If you have forgotten the password to a workbook or Worksheet, there is an easy way to retrieve your information and once again be able to edit or make changes.

  • Select all the data within the first Worksheet by clicking the select all button in the top left corner (highlighted).
  • Control + C to copy or Right-Click and select Copy
  • Open a new Excel Workbook (Control + N)
  • Click anywhere within the new Workbook and Control +V to paste or Right-Click and select Paste Special (to ensure any custom formatting is withheld).
  • Continue this process with each Worksheet within the Workbook
  • This method will only work if, when protecting the Worksheet, the boxes remained checked to allow users to select locked cells and select unlocked cells.
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Other Ways to Unprotect Worksheets and Workbooks:

Above are the easiest ways to unlock sheets in excel, but there are several other ways to unprotect them.

You can right-click on the Worksheet Tab and select Unprotect Sheet.

From the Home Tab in the Ribbon, you need to click on Format and Select Unprotect Sheet.

Click the FILE tab in the Ribbon or from the Home Screen, and you can also click Unprotect to Unprotect the Workbook or the Worksheet. This is how you can unprotect a workbook and Worksheet in Excel.

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