How to Unprotect Excel Sheet: Step-by-Step Guide

Unprotecting an Excel sheet can seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually quite straightforward. If you’ve found yourself unable to edit a locked Excel spreadsheet, fear not! With a few simple steps, you can regain full access and make all the changes you need.

How to Unprotect an Excel Sheet Tutorial

Before we dive into the steps, it’s important to understand that unprotecting an Excel sheet allows you to make changes to a document that was previously locked for editing. This could be for various reasons, like updating data or correcting errors. Let’s get started with the steps.

Step 1: Open the Excel file

Open the Excel spreadsheet that you want to unprotect.

Opening the file is the first step in the process. Ensure that you have the correct file open before moving on to the next step.

Step 2: Locate the “Review” tab

Click on the “Review” tab in the Excel toolbar.

The “Review” tab is where you’ll find all the tools you need for reviewing and protecting your document. It’s usually located in the top toolbar alongside other tabs like “Home,” “Insert,” and “Page Layout.”

Step 3: Click on “Unprotect Sheet”

In the “Review” tab, look for an option that says “Unprotect Sheet” and click on it.

If the sheet is protected, you should see the “Unprotect Sheet” button. If the sheet is not protected, this option will be greyed out, and you won’t be able to click on it.

Step 4: Enter the password (if applicable)

If the sheet is password protected, you’ll be prompted to enter the password. Type it in and press “OK.”

Keep in mind that if you don’t know the password, you won’t be able to unprotect the sheet. However, there are some workarounds which we’ll discuss later in the tips section.

Step 5: Make your changes

Once the sheet is unprotected, you’re free to make any changes or edits you need.

Remember to save your changes after you finish editing. This will ensure that all your hard work doesn’t go to waste.

After following these steps, the Excel sheet will be unprotected, and you’ll be able to edit it as needed. Remember to protect the sheet again if you want to prevent further unauthorized changes.

Tips for Unprotecting an Excel Sheet

  • If you don’t know the password, try contacting the person who created or last edited the spreadsheet.
  • Always save a backup copy of the Excel file before attempting to unprotect it, just in case something goes wrong.
  • Be mindful of why the sheet was protected in the first place. It could have been to prevent accidental changes or to protect sensitive data.
  • If you’re unable to unprotect the sheet using the above steps, there are third-party software options that claim to unlock Excel files, but use these at your own risk.
  • If you frequently need to unprotect sheets, consider setting a standard password that’s known to all necessary parties within your organization.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I don’t have the password to unprotect the Excel sheet?

Unfortunately, without the password, there’s not a straightforward way to unprotect the sheet. You may need to contact the original author or try password recovery tools, but the latter isn’t guaranteed to work.

Can I unprotect an Excel sheet that’s been sent to me by someone else?

Yes, as long as you have the password or the sheet isn’t password protected, you can unprotect it by following the same steps.

I accidentally protected an Excel sheet. How do I reverse this?

Simply follow the steps above to unprotect the sheet. If you set a password, you will need to enter it when prompted.

Is it legal to unprotect an Excel sheet without permission?

Unprotecting a sheet without permission could be considered a breach of privacy or copyright laws, especially if the document contains sensitive or proprietary information.

Will unprotecting an Excel sheet remove any data or formulas?

No, unprotecting a sheet does not remove or alter any existing data or formulas. It simply allows you to make changes to the sheet.


  1. Open the Excel file.
  2. Click on the “Review” tab.
  3. Select “Unprotect Sheet.”
  4. Enter the password if needed.
  5. Edit the sheet as desired.


Unprotecting an Excel sheet is a handy skill to have, especially in a collaborative work environment where documents are frequently shared and edited. By following the simple steps outlined above, you’ll be able to unlock the full potential of your Excel spreadsheets, making changes and updates as necessary. Just remember to handle password-protected sheets with care and respect the privacy and security of the document’s contents. Whether you’re a seasoned Excel user or just getting started, the ability to unprotect a sheet is a valuable addition to your toolkit. So go ahead, give it a try, and see how easy it is to take control of your Excel files!

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