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Lock Blog

A resource for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals

How To Pick An Office Door Lock

by Ralph March 16, 2022

Before we get into how to pick an office door lock, remember you should never pick a lock you do not own or have not been given express permission by the owner to pick. So check with your building manager or tenant agreement to see who is responsible for servicing the locks.

If it is the property owner’s duty to handle all lock and security-related issues, then you don’t need to concern yourself with how to pick an office door lock. But even if you are on your own to deal with an office door you can’t open, you can still call a locksmith.

To do the work yourself here is what you need to know about how to pick an office door lock:


Can you pick open an office door lock?

Traditional lock picking requires a keyway where a physical key is inserted and turned. Some offices do not use keyed locks, but still, all locks can be picked because lock picking refers to methods used to manipulate a lock into opening without the proper key, code, reading, etc.

What is the best way to open an office door without a key?

The simplest, fastest, and most accessible way of how to pick an office door lock relies on the building’s use of easily bypassable locks. With low-security locks, you can depress a door handle’s spring-loaded latch with a credit card or make improvised lock picks to rake a lock open.

How difficult is it to pick an office door lock?

The difficulty of lock picking depends on the types of commercial locks being used, your access to tools, and your skill level. A deadbolt is harder to open than a door handle. A non-traditional lock or keyway requires more specific tools and knowledge to open without a key.

Who can open a locked office door?

If you cannot open a door without a key yourself, being in an office environment provides you the option of contacting your building/property manager. If other employees or officemates have keys, they can also be contacted. But when all else fails, call a commercial locksmith.

Is an office door lock harder to pick than a residential lock?

There is often more invested in office security than there is in residential settings. This results in an office lock that is more difficult to open than a lock on your front door. However, if you are locked out of an interior door within a commercial building, the lock can be easier to open.

Does lock picking work on electronic office door locks?

If there is an override key, the answer is simply, yes. However, there are electronic locks that require more creative bypasses than lock picking, which may not be what is commonly thought of as lock picking. But if a lock can open, it can open without a key.

Unpickable Office Door Locks

You can check out our list of the best high-security locks to see some examples of door locks you will not be able to pick open with the methods we will be discussing. These locks are extremely secure and require more to open than can be covered in this article.

While every lock can be opened with enough time, there are certain locks that you are not going to be able to open with lock picking. For example, a broken lock may have limited functionality, so not even the key would open it. Or the lock is too secure to open for an experienced lock picker, let alone someone who wants to know how to pick an office door lock.

Of course, there is always a way to open locks, but you may need a form of destructive entry rather than know how to pick an office door lock. Before drilling a lock or breaking it, it is a good idea to contact a locksmith. Improperly handled prying, drilling, cutting, etc., can damage doors and result in more extensive replacement costs.

In some cases, you may be able to prep a door that would otherwise be unpickable. Examples of this include removing a broken key from the lock or similarly clearing away debris that is blocking the keyway. Sometimes people will maliciously fill lock cylinders up with glue, gum, or even epoxy.

Key Takeaways:

  • If a lock is broken, it may be unpickable.
  • Locks that cannot be picked can still be opened through other means.
  • A clogged keyway may be cleared to allow for easier lock picking.

0. Lubricant

Almost any method of how to pick an office door lock is going to go more smoothly (literally) if you have lubrication. Because many commercial property managers neglect lock maintenance, locks may stick or require greater force to turn, which increases the difficulty of picking.

Apply the lubricant to the various openings in the lock and moving parts. This includes the keyway and even the latch/bolt. Anything that is potentially going to get hung up should have a bit of lube on it before finding the best pay to pick an office door lock.

It is important to be using a proper door lock lubricant and not something oil-based. Oil will attract dirt and gunk up the lock, causing further problems down the road. Lubrication is not an example of how to pick an office door lock, but a lubricant should be in your tool bag.

1. Lock Picks

Traditional lock picking tools are often referred to simply as lock picks. When most people ask about how to pick an office door lock, chances are these are the tools they are picturing. And if you cannot buy from the best lock pick brands, you can make your own improvised picks.

There are two main tools, the tension wrench, and the pick. Tension wrenches go either at the top or bottom of the keyway and have different sizes and thicknesses. The tip of the picks has countless varieties, but they will either be designed to move all the pins at once or one at a time.

If you are making lock picks out of paper clips, bobby pins, etc., it is going to be much more difficult to figure out how to pick an office door lock. There will be very little indication as to whether problems with opening the lock are from your technique or the imperfect tools.

How To Pick An Office Door Lock With Lock Picks

  1. Insert your tension wrench into the bottom or top of the keyway.
    1. Whichever will not block the keyway.
  2. Apply rotational pressure in the direction you would turn the key to unlock the door.
    1. Keep torque consistent for the rest of the steps.
  3. Insert a lock pick with several bends/grooves (a rake).
    1. A single hook will not work for this method.
    2. You can also use a lock pick gun
  4. Move the pick to the back of the lock, then to the front, quickly and repeatedly.
    1. Do not attempt for longer than a minute.
  5. Turn the tension wrench as if it were the key, and the lock should open.
    1. If the lock does not open, change the amount of tension pressure and try again.

Lock Pick Tip:

Do not move the pick too vigorously or attempt this too often. You run the risk of breaking it or damaging the lock by performing this type of lock picking for prolonged periods. If your commercial lock uses security pins, this may require too much lock to be viable.

2. Lock Shims 

A shim is a thin material meant to slide between two components. In terms of how to pick an office door lock, a shim slides into a crevice to retract a spring-loaded locking mechanism (more on that later). This means the shim thickness and shape are most important.

The shim must be slender and flexible without being too brittle or fragile. Most people have seen how to pick an office door lock with a shim represented in film and television. This is often depicted with a credit card sliding between the lock and door frame.

Using a shim often warps, distorts, or otherwise damages it, so one cannot be used twice. For this reason, I would not recommend using any active credit cards or ID badges. For workplace doors secured with a padlock, you will need something smaller and thinner than a card.

How To Pick An Office Door Lock With Shims

Door Handles:

  1. Insert the shim into the door gap, slightly above the handle.
  2. Slide the shim down to catch the latch bolt.
  3. If the latch is not moving, cut a 45-degree angle triangle into the shim.
    1. This allows you to catch the latch in the cut.
    2. Then pull the shim out, instead of pushing in, to retract the latch.
  4. As the latch is moved out of the strike hole, push the door to open it.


  1. Acquire two padlock shims.
    1. Make shims yourself.
    2. Or purchase shims online by searching “padlock shims.”
  2. Insert all shims on the interior of the “U” bend.
    1. Start with the side that has a smaller gap. 
  3. With both shims in the padlock, depress them at the same time.
  4. Spring-loaded shackles will pop open, but other shackles will need to be pulled.

Shim Tip:

Shimming does not work on deadbolts or latches that have anti-shim protections. Unless your office door is secured by a privacy lock, standard keyed door knob, or low-security padlock, you will not be able to shim the lock open. There must be a spring-loaded locking pawl that can be depressed.

4. Specialty Tools

Chances are you will not have immediate access to professional tools designed for your specific office locks. However, just as having a spare key pays dividends during a lockout, having a tool that can open a damaged lock serves a similar purpose. Just make sure the tool is made for your lock.

Many keyed office door locks use a mortise lock manufactured by Adam’s Rite. For how to pick an office door lock like this, you can use the long reach adam’s rite tool. This will still open the door if the cylinder has broken or disconnected from the rest of the lock.

Tools like a double door bypass tool can exploit crash bars which are the most common type of fire door lock for an emergency exit. This is only an option of how to pick an office door lock with the gap that is common on double doors without a specific closing order.

How To Pick An Office Door Lock With Specialty Tools

  1. Find your lock type and brand name.
  2. Research available bypass tools from reputable lock pick manufacturers.
  3. Look for resources that explain the complexity of using the tool.
  4. If you cannot easily find the tool or resources, contact a locksmith.

Specialty Tool Tip:

You will have to follow the specific instructions or watch a video tutorial for the tool you are using. It is a good idea to also figure out how your lock mechanism works before using these tools to increase your chances of successfully picking the lock and decreasing the chance of damage.

In Closing

When it comes to how to pick an office door lock, there is no one size fits all answers. Office security is highly variable, so make sure you know more about what method can open your lock. The best solution for an office lockout can be performed fast and without damaging your security.

The specifics of this solution change depending on your skills and access to tools. For the top skills and best tools, contact a locksmith. And if you have any questions or thoughts on how to pick an office door lock, let us know in the comments section.

Category: Commercial, How To's, Lock Picking

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