How to Remove Encryption from Excel

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When we encounter an Excel worksheet that is password-protected, making changes to the file will prompt this message:  

Figure 1.  Message prompt for protected sheet

Sometimes, even opening the file prompts this message:  

Figure 2.  Message prompt for protected file

This article will give us an overview on how to remove encryption, or how to remove password from Excel version 2007, 2010 or 2013.

Remove password from worksheet

In order to modify a password-protected cell or worksheet, we use the Unprotect Sheet command.  A password will be required to unprotect the sheet. Afterwards, saving the file will finally remove the password.  

Figure 3.  Protected sheet message prompt

Step 1.  Click Review tab, Unprotect Sheet.  We will be prompted for a password.  

Figure 4.  Unprotect Sheet preview pane

Step 2.  Enter the password and click OK.

Figure 5.  Entering the password to unprotect sheet

We have removed the password from an Excel 2010 worksheet, and we are now able to modify the worksheet.  

Figure 6.  Output: Remove password from a protected sheet

Remove password from workbook

A protected workbook can be identified through the highlighted “Protect Workbook” button under the Review tab.  

Figure 7.  Protected workbook preview of Review tab

In order to remove password from a workbook,  we follow these steps:

Step 1.  Click Review tab, Protect Workbook.  We will be prompted for a password.  

Figure 8.  Unprotect Workbook preview pane

Step 2.  Enter the password and click OK.

Figure 9.  Entering password to unprotect workbook

Password is removed from the protected workbook, and we can now modify the file.

Figure 10.  Output: Remove password from protected workbook

Remove password from a file

When we encounter a file that is password-protected prior to opening, we can remove encryption from the file through the File Info options.  But first, we need to open the file.  

Figure 11.  Password prompt to open protected file

Step 1.  Enter the password to open the file.  

Figure 12.  Entering password to open the file

Figure 13.  File preview once opened

Step 2.  Once opened, click the File tab, Info, then Protect Workbook.  

Figure 14.  Protect Workbook button in File, Info

The Encrypt Document dialog box will appear.  

Figure 15.  Encrypt Document preview pane

Step 3.  Delete the contents of the Password text box and click OK.   

Figure 16.  Deleting the entry in Password textbox

Finally, we have removed the password from the file.  Remember to save the file to complete the password removal process.  

Figure 17.  Final result:  How to remove encryption