How to Pick a Desk Lock?

If you’ve been locked out of your office, you know how frustrating it can be. Finding a way in can seem impossible, especially if you don’t have a key. But don’t worry; there are ways to pick a desk lock. 

Whether you’re trying to get into your locked office or want to learn how to pick a lock, this blog post will teach you how to do it.

Identify the Type of Lock you Need to Pick

Before picking a desk lock, you must first identify the type of lock you need to pick. This is to know how their locking mechanism works. There are four main types: pin tumbler locks, wafer locks, disk locks, and disk-in-shackle padlocks.

Pin tumbler locks are the most common type used on desks or cabinets in homes and offices. They consist of two halves with pins inside them that fit into holes between them (hence “pin”). 

The key turns these pins to prevent access by inserting or removing them from their holes so they can rotate freely when unlocked. 

Otherwise, they will catch on to each other, causing resistance when turning the key in an attempt to open up access to whatever it is securing. 

Learn the Basics of Raking

If you don’t know how to pick cabinet locks, this is where you should start. Raking is an essential skill that every locksmith needs to know. It involves inserting a tension wrench into the lock and turning it while applying pressure toward the back of the lock with your pick.

Gather Your Supplies

Now that you know the basics of how to pick a lock, you need to gather your supplies. To pick a desk lock, you’ll need two paper clips, a bobby pin, or a small screwdriver. If you don’t have any of those items on hand, you can also use a straightened-out coat hanger. Simply straighten out one of the loops at the end of the hanger to create a long, thin piece of metal.

Step-by-Step Guide to Picking Desk Lock

Now that you have your supplies, it’s time to start picking the lock. Preparing each of the tools above may vary, depending on which one you’re using. To help you out, we’ve provided instructions on how to prepare and use each tool below.


Step 1: Start by unbending the paperclip so that it’s straight. Then, bend one end of the paperclip so that it’s at a 90-degree angle. This will be the part of the paperclip that you insert into the lock.

Step 2: Insert the bent end of one paper clip into the keyhole. Once the paperclip is inserted, apply pressure to the top to flush against the bottom of the keyhole.

Step 3: Now, use your other hand to twist the paperclip. As you twist, you should feel the pins inside the lock start to move. Keep twisting until you hear a click. This means that the lock has been successfully picked!

Bobby Pin:

Step 1: Start by unbending the bobby pin, so it’s straight. Then, use your fingers to bend the top of the bobby pin at a 90-degree angle. This will be the part of the bobby pin that you insert into the lock.

Step 2: Insert the bobby pin’s bent end into the keyhole. The step is similar to the paperclip. Once you insert the bobby pin into the keyhole, use your other hand to apply pressure to the top of the bobby pin.

Step 3: Use your thumb and index finger to bend the bottom of the bobby pin. As you do so, you should feel the pins inside the lock start to move. You will know that you were successful when you hear the click because it means that the lock has been picked!

Small Screwdriver:

If you’re using a small screwdriver, you won’t need to do anything to prepare it. However, the screwdriver should be the right size. If it’s too big, it won’t fit into the keyhole. If it’s too small, it won’t be able to move the pins inside the lock. If you are certain that the screwdriver is the right size, proceed to pick the lock.

Step 1: Simply insert the tip of the screwdriver into the lock.

Step 2: As you insert the screwdriver, aim for the pins inside the lock.

Step 3: Keep twisting until you hear a click. It indicates that the lock has been picked!

Step 4: If you’re having trouble picking the lock, try wiggling the screwdriver as you twist it. This may help move the pins around so that they line up correctly.

Coat Hanger:

Step 1: If you use a coat hanger, start by straightening one of the loops at the end. Once you have a long, thin piece of metal, bend the end of it you can start picking the lock.

Step 2: Insert the end of the coat hanger into the keyhole. You should be able to feel at least two pins; one at the top of the keyhole and one at the bottom.

Step 3: Once you’ve located the pins, apply pressure to the lock cylinder. The goal is to push both pins up to level with the sheath.

Step 4: You may need to wiggle the tool around to find the sweet spot. Be patient—it may take a few tries to get it right.

Step 5: Once all the pins are level with the sheath, you should be able to turn the lock and open the drawer. If not, double-check that both pins are level and try again. Getting both pins in the right spot can be tricky, so don’t be discouraged if it takes a few tries.

Half Diamond Tool:

There are a few different types of picks and tools that can be used to pick a desk lock. The most commonly used is called a half-diamond tool because it looks like a half-circle with two points at 90-degree angles from each other. To use this tool to open your desk lock:

Step 1: Hold it in your hand with the point facing up towards you.

Step 2: As you push down each pin with the tip of your pick, raise all pins, so they are all at the same height.

Step 3: Repeat until all pins are picked, then turn over and pull up on your key to unlock your desk drawer!

Nail Clipper File:

If you don’t have paper clips on hand, a nail clipper file can also be used to pick a desk lock.

Step 1: Find a pair of nail clippers with a tiny nail filing tool. The nail clipper should have a curved tip.

Step 2: Insert the curved tip of the nail file into the keyhole.

Step 3: Push the tool as far into the hole as it will go, then carefully pull it back out. The curved tip should be pointing downward while you’re working.

Step 4: Rotate the file clockwise, then rotate it back counter-clockwise until you find the position that unlocks the cabinet. The nail file will slide easily when you’ve found the correct way to unlock it.

Step 5: Put a little pressure to easily unlock the filing cabinet.

Step 6: Slightly move the filing tool up and down. By doing this, you’ll shift the locks’ pins, making it much simpler to open the cabinet.

Step 7: As you do that, you will hear a click sound, which means that the locking mechanism moves into the “unlocked” position.

If you have tried all the steps and still can’t seem to pick the lock, don’t hesitate to call a professional. At MYA Locksmith, we are always here to help! We have the right tools to unlock your filing cabinet. We can also provide you with a new lock if you need it. Whether for your desk or a master key for your office, we’ve got you covered!

Tips to Remember When Picking a Desk Lock

  • When picking a file cabinet lock, always start with the pin furthest from the sheath. This will help you understand how much pressure you need to apply and how the pins move.
  • If one pin gets stuck, try wiggling the tool around a bit to loosen it up. You may also need to apply more pressure.
  • Once you’ve picked the lock, turn the key slowly. If you turn it too quickly, you may cause the pins to get stuck again.
  • If you’re new to lock picking, it’s always a good idea to practice with an old lock before trying it on a desk drawer. That way, you can feel how much pressure to apply and how the pins move. You can also try different techniques and tools to see what works best.
  • Picking a lock is a skill that takes time and practice to master. If you’re patient and take your time, you’ll be able to pick almost any desk lock. With a little practice, you’ll be an expert in no time!
  • Remember that picking a filing cabinet lock is technically breaking, so only do it with the owner’s permission. Otherwise, you could get into some serious trouble.


Picking desk locks are relatively easy and only requires a few common household items. With some patience and trial and error, you should be able to open any locked desk drawer in no time. So next time you’re locked out of your desk, don’t fret—reach for paper clips instead. You can also contact Locksmith Poughkeepsie for professional help!