Is it possible to recover an Excel VBA password?

Will Smith April 11, 2013

I am using a very old .XLS file that was protected with a password by a former employee. I would like to recover the VBA project password. Does anyone know how to do this programatically, using an editor, or anything completely free?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  1. Christian W
    August 2, 2013 at 9:32 am

    There's plenty of VBA password recovery tools that instantly remove passwords in the online mode which is I believe the fastest and easiest way. Personally I used the one called and had its job done but I know there's also many others.

  2. Larry Smith
    April 19, 2013 at 1:53 am

    Yes, try a SmartKey Excel Password Recovery from recover lost password dot com.

  3. Paul Pruitt
    April 12, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    The Hex method is spelled out in two places: use either:

    From the Google Groups post. The other link has a few more details:

    "1. Create a new simple excel file.
    2. In the VBA part, set a simple password (say - 1234).
    3. Save the file and exit.
    4. Open the file you just created with a simple editor.
    5. Copy the lines starting with the following keys:
    6. with a simple editor (again), open the excel file you don;t know
    the VBA password for,
    and paste the above copied lines from the dummy file.
    7. save the excel file and exit.
    8. Now, open the excel file you need to see the VBA code in. The
    password for the VBA code
    will simply be 1234 (as in the example I'm showing here)."

    I don't know whether the Google Group poster was the originator of the method, but the post is 3 years older than the blog one.

  4. Paul Pruitt
    April 12, 2013 at 1:21 am

    The requestor is specifically asking about Excel VBA project password removal. That is different from both the password to open the file and password to protect it's data and formatting being changed. Try this freeware tool:

    If it doesn't work, try opening the file in a hex editor. Apparently according to this article,, that I go to starting with a link Ha14 posted, reports the password is decipherable by looking at the binary code of the file in a hex editor. You might try using a so called Structured Storage Viewer, for instance,, instead to get right to that part of the file containing the VBA and see its characters.

    This is an interesting issue. If it is not a sensitive document or the VBA is not proprietary, you might try uploading and posting a link here from DropBox to the file or the like so us responders can try taking cracks at recovering or removing the password.

    • ha14
      April 12, 2013 at 5:10 pm

      thanks for your input:)

  5. ha14
    April 11, 2013 at 8:42 am

    S1-Protection Excel Add-in: Free evaluation version
    Free Evaluation version (workbook structure and upto 5 sheets can be unprotected)

    Hack into a protected Excel 2007 Sheet

    Hack into a protected Excel 2007 or 2010 Workbook

    Removing Internal XL passwords

  6. Bruce Epper
    April 11, 2013 at 7:21 am

    What version of Excel was used to create the file? If it is old enough (2003 or earlier), I can go through my archives to find a short little program that can recover the password or remove it. Now what disc would that one be on?

  7. Alan Wade
    April 11, 2013 at 6:45 am

    There is a lot of Excel Password Recovery apps for sale, just Google Excel Password Recovery, but I couldnt manage to find any free apps.
    Unless someone else comes up with a free app I think you have to decide whether or not the file is worth upwards of $30 US to unlock.

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