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Imagine a tranquil morning, the first rays of the sun peering through the foliage, and there you are standing outside your home and, you’ve accidentally locked yourself out and thinking about how to open a window from the outside. Fear not! This comprehensive guide will empower you to open that stubborn window from the outside and imbue you with window security wisdom to fortify your domestic realm. Now let us explore the process of how to open a window from the outside.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Open a Window from the Outside

Learning how to open a window from outside is not just a skill for a few select moments; it’s part of understanding your home and its security features. Here’s a thorough breakdown:

Step 1. Assess the Window

How to Open a Window from the Outside

Identifying Your Window Type

Knowing what sort of window you’re working with is the first step towards opening it from the outside. Is it a casement, slider, or conventional double-hung window? Each has its mechanisms and unique methods of opening from the exterior. For many homeowners, this is unfamiliar territory, so let’s demystify your window type and the requisite procedures.

Double-Hung Windows

For double-hung windows, you’ll typically need to deal with the latches on either side of the sash. If these have been mistakenly locked, you might have some room to maneuver by slipping a thin tool like a putty knife or a credit card between the sash and the jamb. These windows often have a pivot bar that may need to be nudged out of position.

Casement Windows

Casement windows, which open outwards with a hand crank, are some of the easiest to open from the outside. Typically, you’d need to detach the crank from the window. This often involves simply unscrewing it, so a screwdriver is likely your primary tool.

Sliding Windows

Sliding windows might have additional intricate features. They are often secured with a thumb latch that you should look out for. The main thing to accomplish with sliding windows is to leave gap between the sash and the frame.

Step 2. Gather Your Tools

Different types of windows require different tools to open them from the outside. The tools can range from everyday items to more specialized pieces, all intended to help you navigate the various locking mechanisms and structures of your window. Being equipped with the right tools is a surefire way to boost your confidence in handling this task.

The Essential Toolkit

For your situation, having a good-quality flat-head screwdriver, a small pry bar or large putty knife, and a pair of gloves are essential. Gloves might help you have a firmer grip on the tools and prevent injuries from sharp or splintered edges. Duct tape or a similar adhesive could also be handy when dealing with certain windows to prevent the pane you’re opening from falling out.

Specialized Equipment

For more complex locking mechanisms or security features, you might need a lock-picking kit. These kits can vary widely in complexity, but most contain a range of picks and tension wrenches designed to manipulate the internal mechanisms of a lock. If you’re not comfortable using these, it might be wise to stop at the other tools and proceed with caution. Recall that the objective is to open the window securely and without causing any damage to it or the nearby structure.

Step 3. Use a Wedge

Creating the Needed Gap

Your first task will be to create a gap between the window and its frame or the sash and the jamb. This is especially crucial for sliding windows but can also be helpful for double-hung windows if the sash is too tight against the jamb for a credit card or similar tool to be inserted. Begin by lightly hammering a wedge into the gap and then gradually increase its size.

Safety and Patience

Patience is key here. You’re working to how to open a window from the outside, but you also need to proceed without breaking the glass or damaging the frame. Work the wedge gradually, if you encounter any notable resistance, halt and reevaluate the circumstances. You might need to return to the screwdriver or other tools to address an underlying issue.

Step 4. Slide the Lock

Sliding Windows and Their Locking Systems

Horizontal sliding windows are often secured with a latch or lock located on the inside track. These can sometimes be overridden or manipulated with the use of a thin, flexible tool, much like a credit card. The key here is to be gentle; you only need enough room to release the lock.

Safety and Structural Integrity

If the entire window begins to move with the lock, you might be dealing with a warped frame or a malfunctioning track. If you manage to open the window, ensure that it stays in the track on both sides to prevent it from coming off completely. This can not only be expensive but also potentially dangerous, especially if the window is on an upper floor.

Step 5. Remove the Stops

Understanding Stoppers and Their Role

Stops are typically used to prevent windows from opening beyond a certain point, particularly when you’re trying to limit how much they can be opened from the inside. These can be a major roadblock when you’re trying to gain entry from the outside. The key to removing them is to be thorough and cautious.

Safe and Steady Effort

Depending on the type of stop you’re dealing with, you might need to use a screwdriver to detach it from the jamb. Remember, the stop is there to hold the window in place. Work around the window as evenly as possible, and keep an eye on the sash to ensure it doesn’t suddenly move or fall.

Step 6. Pick the Lock

A Skillful Move

Lock picking is often seen as a last resort, especially for homeowners who are not members of a locksmithing guild. However, with the proper technique and tools, it can be a surprisingly effective method for how to open a window from the outside.

The Art of Picking

Use the pick to manipulate the pins inside the lock while applying slight tension to turn the lock open. This takes a bit of skill and practice, so it’s not something you should expect to master on the first try. But, in some cases, it can be the only option to regain entry to your home.

Step 7. Call a Locksmith

How to Open a Window from the Outside

When to Wave the White Flag

Sometimes, despite your best efforts and the arsenal of tools at your disposal, some locks are simply too complex or too secure to circumvent without the risk of significant damage. In such a situation, it’s time to think about getting expert help.

The Professional Solution

A locksmith is not only trained to open locks speedily and safely, but they can also do so without causing any damage to the window or the lock itself. While it may feel like admitting defeat, the peace of mind that comes with knowing your window—and the rest of your home—is secure can be invaluable.

Step 8. Prevent Future Lockouts

Learning from the Experience

After you’ve succeeded in regaining entry to your house, it’s critical to draw lessons from the previous event to steer clear of repeat incidents. Simple changes to your routine or the installation of additional security measures can prevent the need to how to open a window from the outside ever again.

Up Your Security Game

Consider installing security bars or grilles that can be easily opened from the inside to act as a backup plan in case of emergency. Additionally, smart locks or even a trusted neighbor with a spare key can offer peace of mind and a less stressful solution if you ever find yourself locked out again.


We’ve covered the various methods and precautions to take how to open a window from the outside. Remember, your safety and the security of your home are paramount, so these methods should only be used responsibly and with good intent. Encourage a culture of emergency preparedness among everyone in the household and establish clear plans for dealing with lockouts. Your window to the world should be an open one, but only when it’s meant to be.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How to open a window from the outside properly?

Answer: Use these procedures to open a window correctly from the outside. First, locate the window latch or handle on the exterior. Depending on the window type, lift the latch or turn the handle. Apply force to unlock it. Next, push or pull the window towards you. Watch out for any resistance or obstructions. Finally, adjust the window to your desired position and ensure it is securely locked. You can securely open a window from the outside by doing these procedures.

Q2. Can I open any window from the outside?

Answer: Not all windows can be opened from the outside, at least not without causing damage. Your ability to open a window will depend on the type and condition of the window and any locks or stoppers in place. In some cases, it may be easier to remove the entire window from its frame, but this should only be done as a last resort and with the help of a professional.

Q3. What should I do if the window has a double-lock mechanism?

Answer: Double-lock mechanisms are designed to provide additional security and are typically more complex to circumvent. In these instances, it’s imperative to exercise patience and consider the use of a lock-picking set or, more likely, the assistance of a locksmith.

Q4. Are there any safety risks involved in opening a window from the outside?

Answer: Absolutely. Climbing to reach a window, particularly on higher floors, carries inherent risks of falling. The operation of heavy tools in precarious positions further compounds these dangers. When trying to open a window from the outside, always follow the appropriate safety precautions.

Q6. How can I ensure the window remains secure after opening it from the outside?

Answer: After you have successfully opened a window from the outside, it’s important to secure it to prevent any unwanted entry or accidents. If at all possible, make sure the window is completely closed and locked from the inside. If not, consider using a temporary security measure such as a security bar until the window can be properly secured.


This guide’s content is solely intended for general informative purposes. It is not exhaustive or expert advice on how to open a window from the outside. The techniques described should only be used in emergencies and with caution, as they can carry risks for both individuals and property. Prioritise safety at all times, and when in doubt, consult a professional.

Personal Experience

I once found myself locked out of my home on a cold winter evening with my spare key comfortably inside my home. After a brief moment of frustration, I remembered an old trick my locksmith had shared with me. Utilizing some of what I had on hand and a bit of creativity, I managed to open a window and crawl inside. The experience, while chilly and not without its bumps, taught me the value of being resourceful in such circumstances. However, I also realized that luck was on my side, and I could have easily injured myself. From then on, I made sure to keep my locks maintained and to have a professional evaluate my windows’ security measures.

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