Top 5 software to recover Microsoft Excel passwords

Tashreef Shareef
by Tashreef Shareef
Windows & Software Expert
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software recover Microsoft Excel passwords

From billing and data management to keeping track of inventory, finance and business tasks, Microsoft Excel is one handy program. The fact that Excel application is being primarily used by business owners, it shouldn’t raise any eyebrows if the important Excel documents are encrypted with a password.

However, if you set a complex password and forgot it or someone else set the password while working on the sheet and forgot to remove it while leaving, you will be stuck with a password encrypted Excel sheet with no recovery options by default.


Fortunately, there are a couple of password recovery programs to recover Microsoft Excel password on Windows devices. These are small, lightweight utilities equipped with different attack modes ranging from brute-force to dictionary attack and support all the version of MS Excel.

If you are a looking for a free and paid software to recover MS Excel password, here are a few programs you should try. So,

In this article, we take a look at the best software to recover Microsoft Excel password on Windows computer.

What are the best software to recover Excel passwords?

SmartKey Excel Password Recovery

  • Price – Free trial / $29.95

The Excel Password Recovery software from Smartkey is a lightweight Windows compatible utility that allows you to recover password for 2013, 2016 and even 2019 version of Excel. If you have an earlier version of Excel format, that should work with the tool as well.

The software can recover lost password for Excel workbooks as well as spreadsheets. For complicated passwords, you can use all the resources of CPU and GPU to speed up the cracking process. Although, this feature is limited to Pro users only.

If you don’t want to install the software on your PC, SmartKey offers an online Excel password recovery service but again for Pro users only.

The user interface of the tool is simple and easy to use. To recover the password, launch the tool and click on Add button. Select the password-locked Excel file and open it.

Next, you need to select the Attack Type. There are three attack types, select Dictionary Attack type for a quick recovery. Check GPU acceleration option to speed up the decryption process.

By clicking on Settings, you can download a third-party dictionary or add one from your PC. Click on the Start button to initiate the password cracking process.


The recovered password is displayed on a pop-up window with an option to copy it to the clipboard. However, for demo users, the password will be hidden behind asterisks and ask you to upgrade to see the password.

Download now SmartKey Office Password Recovery 

Passware Kit Basic

  • Price – Free demo / $49

Passware Kit Basic is a multi-purpose Windows password recovery tool. It allows you to recover password for not only Excel files but also all the MS Office documents, Windows administrator account, email accounts, web browser and more.

Passware Kit Basic is a premium tool priced at $49, but there is a demo version on offer that you can download for evaluation purpose. The tool is capable of recovering or resetting multiple password types quickly.

Some of the advanced recovery attacks used by Passware Kit Basic includes Dictionary, Xieve, Brute-force, Known Password/Part and more. The combined attack mode uses the combination of letters and numbers to crack the password.

The software comes with an intuitive user interface. After launching the tool, you will see multiple options. To recover Excel file password, select Recover File Password option.

Next, you need to select the password-locked Excel file, select the attack type, make changes to the attack types (optional) and click on Start. The recovery process may take some depending on the complexity of the password. You can stop, pause and resume the operation if required.

All the recovered passwords are saved in a separate file and can be reused to unlock encrypted documents.  To use Passware you don’t need any technical knowledge, it is fast, easy and stable and most of the time can accurately recover the password for Excel documents.

Download Passware Kit Basic 



Dr Excell IseePassword

  • Price – free trial / Premium $29.95

iSeePassword’s Dr.Excel is a password recovery program to recover locked Excel document on your Windows PC. The software offers a trial limited version of the tool, while the premium version will set you back to $29.95.

Dr. Excel offers four types of attack – Brute-force Attack, Mass Attack, Dictionary attack, and Smart Attack. There is a Batch Remove feature to remove spreadsheet and workbook protection.

Furthermore, users can customize and control the recovery process and its impact on system performance as well. If you go to the Settings, you can change the number of CPUs the software can use along with enabling or disabling GPU acceleration option. You can also change the frequency of automatically saving the recovered password in a separate file.

Dr. Excel is compatible with all the version of Windows since Windows XP, however only supports MS Excel 2003-2016 file format. If you have a newer version, this may not be the right tool for you.

With a modern user interface, Dr. Excel has an intuitive UI. After launching the tool, click on Add File to add the password-locked Excel file onto the dashboard. However, the drag-n-drop functionality doesn’t work.

Once the file is loaded, select the Attack Type you want to use. Begin with a dictionary attack and move onto other types if unsuccessful.

To make the recovery process faster you can provide information related to your password such as length, range, lower- or upper-case letter, numerals, etc.

Click on the Start button to begin the recovery process. After the process ends, it shows a Congratulation screen with a recovered password on a dialogue box. You can copy the password to clipboard and use it to unlock the Excel file.

Download Dr. Excel 


MS Excel Password Recovery Master

MS Excel Password Recovery Master

  • Price – Free / $14.98

If you have an older version of MS Excel from 97-2013, MS Excel Password Recovery Master can recover the password for your encrypted Excel file.  It is also a premium tool and requires installation to work.

It is a multi-lingual tool with support for English, French, German, Spanish and Russian languages. The user interface is simple and easy to use.  You can modify or remove password for Excel workbook and worksheet plus VBA projects using the tool.

Unlike other password recovery tool, MS Excel Password Recovery Master doesn’t make it clear what attack type it uses to crack the password except for the word “Hi-Tech” on its website. However, we believe the tool to use either dictionary or brute-force attack mode to crack the password.

Using the tool is a straightforward affair. After launching the program,  click the Open button and load your password-locked Excel file. Next, click on Crack link beside password modification and removing options.

After the process is complete, MS Excel Password Recovery Master displays the recovered password on the same page.

Download MS Excel Password Recovery Master 


Remove Excel Password Manually using VBA Code

If you don’t want to use a software to recover Excel password, there is a workaround using VBA code to help you to cancel your original spreadsheet password and unlock the document.

Here are the steps you need to follow to remove the Excel password for any file manually.

  1. To use the VBA code, you need to enable the Developer option in MS Excel. If you have the Developer tab visible, you don’t need to follow these steps
  2. To enable Developer option, click on File and select Options.
  3. Next, select Customize Ribbon tab. Under the Main Tabs section, check the “Developer” option. Click OK to save the changes.
    Excel Enable Developer Option
  4. From the Excel window, click on Developer and select Visual Basic option.
    Excel Developer option
  5. In the new window, click Insert and select Module. Now copy/paste the following line of code in the Module window.

Sub PasswordRecovery()
Dim i As Integer, j As Integer, k As Integer
Dim l As Integer, m As Integer, n As Integer
Dim i1 As Integer, i2 As Integer, i3 As Integer
Dim i4 As Integer, i5 As Integer, i6 As Integer
On Error Resume Next
For i = 65 To 66: For j = 65 To 66: For k = 65 To 66
For l = 65 To 66: For m = 65 To 66: For i1 = 65 To 66
For i2 = 65 To 66: For i3 = 65 To 66: For i4 = 65 To 66
For i5 = 65 To 66: For i6 = 65 To 66: For n = 32 To 126
ActiveSheet.Unprotect Chr(i) & Chr(j) & Chr(k) & _
Chr(l) & Chr(m) & Chr(i1) & Chr(i2) & Chr(i3) & _
Chr(i4) & Chr(i5) & Chr(i6) & Chr(n)
If ActiveSheet.ProtectContents = False Then
MsgBox "One usable password is " & Chr(i) & Chr(j) & _
Chr(k) & Chr(l) & Chr(m) & Chr(i1) & Chr(i2) & _
Chr(i3) & Chr(i4) & Chr(i5) & Chr(i6) & Chr(n)
Exit Sub
End If
Next: Next: Next: Next: Next: Next
Next: Next: Next: Next: Next: Next
End Sub

Click on the Start button (green) or press F5. If successful it will show a “One usage password is” message on a dialogue box.

Usable Password Excel Password remove

That’s it. You have successfully removed the Excel password without any software.

However, this method is only useful if you have put password restriction on Excel to prevent modification and can open the file. If the Excel file is password encrypted and requires a password even to view it, this method won’t work.


So these are some of the best software to recover Microsoft Excel password-lock file. The success rate of password recovery depends on the MS Office version in use, the type of password and of course the complexity of the password itself.

If you have a hard time remembering the password for all the accounts and files, let a password manager do this work for you so that you don’t have to remember any other password, ever again.