4 Ways to Remove Security from PDF

author_icon Nicholas Parsons time_icon Last updated: Oct 15, 2019 03:08 pm tips_icon PDF

"Help! I cannot open a PDF file, because I forgot the password. How can I remove the security from the file?"

Can't remove security or encryption from a secured PDF? A secured/protected PDF file are usually the files that has been encrypted with a password. There are two different types of passwords on PDF files. However, there are various ways to remove that protection which will be discussed in this article.

1. What You Need to Know about PDF Password Security

There are two types of security used on PDF; permission password and document open password. Adobe Acrobat supports password-protected encryption, which makes it super easy for anyone using any computer to secure PDF files.

1.1. Document Open Password

This password is needed to open the file and view it. Security restrictions may apply. A document open password refers to the password that you can put on a file which makes it inaccessible to anyone trying to view it.

1.2. Permissions Password

A PDF permissions password is a password used to set certain document restrictions such as – printing, editing, content copying, page and graphics extraction, any kind of commenting, filling of form fields given in the PDF file, signing and creation of template pages. A restriction password enables you to have complete control over your PDF content. It is a necessary option when you want to share your file and don't want it to be changed. Otherwise it would be modified by anyone.

1.3. Setting Up PDF Security

Setting up protection for your file is easy and just as important as knowing how to remove it for better access, there are several ways to do it such as installing an app and working with online services that work on your web browser. Here we will introduce how to use the official method Adobe Acrobat to do that.

Step 1: Open the file in Adobe Acrobat. Click Protect on the right panel.

Step 2: Find More Options on the top. Then choose Security Properties. You will see a pop-upwindow.

Step 3: Right next to the Security Method, tap and access the drop down menu and then choose Password Security to open the Settings window of Password Security.

Step 4: On the top of the same window, tick on the box next to "Require a password to open the document" or "Restrict editing and printing of the document" based on your needs.

Step 5: Enter a password in the box and confirm the password. That's it.

document open password & permissions password

2. How to Remove Security from PDF Files

The removal of that security is what we will be discussing further down in this part. There are multiple ways to remove PDF security. We will tell you how to do it one by one.

Method 1. Remove Security from PDF using Passper for PDF

First of all we would like to introduce a one-stop solution Passper for PDF. No matter your PDF files is locked with a permissions password or a document open password, you can use this tool to recover or remove the password. This is the best tool to unlock PDF files for its high efficiency. Here are some reasons why we recommend this tool.

  • Fastest Speed of checking passwords: Advanced technology and GPU/CPU acceleration make it possible to check about 300,000 passwords every second on a PC with a 6-core processor.

  • 4 Recovery Methods: Smart recovery strategies and algorithm greatly shorten the time to recover your password.

  • Full Compatibility: Supports all Windows systems including 10/8/7/XP/Vista and all versions of Adobe Acrobat.

  • Easy to use: User friendly interface and simple steps.

  • One Click to Remove Password:you just need 1 second to remove the permissions password from your PDF files.

Free DownloadFor Win 10/8/7/XP/Vista

A. Remove Document Open Password from PDF

Begin with downloading the software on your PC. Install it right after that and run it. When the program gets successfully installed,

Step 1: Click on the "Recover Passwords" tab given on the main interface.

homepage of Passper for PDF

Step 2: You could now notice the "+" icon. Proceed with hitting on it and select the password protected PDF file that you need. Next, choose one of the four different recovery methods, namely "Combination Attack", "Mask Attack", "Dictionary Attack" and "Brute Force Attack". Click "Recover".

choose a file and a recovery method

Step 3: You've done all the major parts. Now, wait patiently until the program equips you with the results by recovering password.

One of the good features of this program is that you can stop the recovery process and resume it later. It will save the progress and continue from where you left.

recover PDF password

B. Remove Permissions Password from PDF

Step 1: To remove PDF restrictions, launch the program after installation. From the main page, go to "Remove Restrictions".

homepage of Passper for PDF

Step 2: Subsequently, hit on "+" icon and choose the PDF file you need. Hit on "Remove" to further the process of unlocking the file.

choose a PDF file

Step 3: It's time to sit back and wait until the process gets done. The file that is not protected will get saved in a folder on the desktop and the folder will open. Accessing PDF file will be easier and you will be able to edit, modify, and copy the content as you want.

remove permissions password of PDF

Free DownloadFor Win 10/8/7/XP/Vista

Method 2. Remove Password from PDF using Adobe Reader

Install and run Adobe Acrobat on your device, then continue to follow the steps given below:

Step 1: Right clicking on the PDF protected file will bring down some options, Open it with Adobe Acrobat.

Step 2: Open the PDF file on Adobe Acrobat, when you open the document, it will ask you to enter the password. Enter the correct password and then confirm it.

enter document open password in Adobe

Step 3: Now click on the File option from the menu on the top and then choose Properties.

Step 4: Under the Security tab in the Document Properties, select No Security from the options listed.

choose no security

Step 5: It will ask for your password again. Enter your password to confirm removing security. Click ok and exit the document properties tab.

Step 6: Press Ctrl + S to save the document, and there you have an unprotected PDF file.

Method 3. Remove Encryption from PDF using Google Chrome

You can unlock an owner protected PDF file using Google Chrome using the following steps:

Step 1: Open Google Chrome.

Step 2: Open Google Drive on it.

enter Google Drive

Step 3: Drag your PDF file onto the google drive – you can also click New and then create and upload your PDF file instead of dragging it.

Add the PDF file to Google Drive

Step 4: Double click your file name, which will open your PDF file.

Step 5: In the text box that pops up, add the password and click on the Submit button. This will remove the encryption from the PDF.

enter password in Google Drive

Step 6: Now clicking on print icon. Then you will see a new window. Click Change and choose Save a PDF option. Now you can save then content to a new PDF file by click the blue Save button. It will ask you to choose a file location.

save as PDF

Method 4. Remove Encryption from PDF using Online Services

SmallPDF is an online service that helps in decrypting password protected PDF files. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Drag and drop your document to the website, which will upload your file to their server.

Step 2: Confirm to remove passwords by clicking 'Unlock PDF!'.

Step 3: The service will start to remove security from your PDFfile.

Step 4: When it is done, click 'Download File' to save the unlocked PDF.

Using online services such as SmallPDF is also an option to decrypt PDF files, however, they have some drawbacks as follows:

  • Using this online service might change the format of the PDF since it promises no reliable protection of the PDF.

  • This service is also not compatible with all PDF files causing it to be a 50-50 chance of it working on your specific PDF file.

  • You have to upload your PDF file onto their online site. It is not safe if your file is confidential.

  • You cannot remove the document open password.

  • If your file needs a password to open it, you cannot remove permissions password unless you know the document open password for it.

There are various ways to remove protection from a PDF as mentioned above, you can try the most easy to use method according to your situation.


By Nicholas Parsons to PDF

Posted on Jun 04, 2019 ( Updated: Oct 15, 2019 )

Being interested in password decryption, Nicholas Parsons has explored in this area for more than 5 years. His aim is to help these people who forgot the password of their files or Windows accounts.