Lazy Web request: Excel password protect removal


I get pretty good results from uploading the sheet to Google Docs and then exporting it back to Excel or LibreOffice/OpenOffice. (This has the beneficial side-effect of storing a permanent backup copy with the NSA)

Apart from that, have you tried turning it off and on again?


Not that I know much about the differences between Mac and Windows Excel, but I am curious, does the sheet in Windows show registers as being password-protected by Excel? I.e. is there an option to unpassword protect it in Windows? Also, is it possible to try copying and pasting the data from the original sheet to another sheet, thus possibly bypassing the password protection? You can always just insert the copied sheet into the original and then delete the original if it works if you have other sheets in that workbook.

Are you seriously using BoingBoing for free tech support?


You can see that he is.


I’ve seen various ways to crack the password for Excel for PC but not for Mac 2011.

,So crack it on a PC and then transfer it to the Mac?

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“Numbers” should open and save that.

Just tested it on Windows and apparently copying and pasting cells to a new sheet does not copy the protection. The protection is on the sheet or the workbook. The cells that are uneditable are locked. Subtle difference. Found an article from 2001 that suggested this work-around was a serious security flaw, since cells that are hidden and not viewable within the locked sheet/workbook can be unhidden once copied to a new sheet. As long as you can open the workbook, you can extract the data.

OK. Fine, I’ll bite. If you want to use BB for tech support, start with the basics and learn a bit about how the software actually works.

An excel template is not a workbook. When a template is opened it will create a new excel workbook based on that template. Any edits done after ‘opening’ the template will not alter the original. That’s why it’s called a template and not a workbook.

When opening your template, open from within Excel and select the file type template before opening. This will allow you to change the template to suit your needs.

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Sorry, it’s not a Template in the literal sense. I just meant that it’s a spreadsheet with categories and such that I populate.

Yes. Boing Boing is our site and we can use it for whatever we please.


Pesco, which format is it? .xlsx or .xls?

Well… it’s not like boingboing hasn’t been host to various other requests for help from the community. And certainly you would get quick responses. Maybe not the response you want. :wink:

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How is a major BoingBoing contributor not using open source software!?! Has the world gone mad?


It’s .xls.

I uploaded to Google and exported again but that screws up some of the internal links. (When I click them, it opens the old doc.)

Ahh, crap. Can you Save it forward to .xlsx? Bit twiddling in the .xls format is possible, but not recommended, (which is one of the reasons we now have the OpenXML formats).

I could but then it says “Visual Basic macros will be removed if you save the file in this format.”

Okay, save it as .xlsm. That is the OpenXML format that accepts VBA. “Excel Macro-Enabled Workbook (*.xlsm)”

Once you get it into OpenXML format you can either hack at it as XML in ZIP or run some code, like in this post:

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I’ve had luck overcoming this problem with opening Excel files in Open Office. The spread sheets were not super complicated, though.