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How to remove a password from a PDF document

You don't need elite hacker-level skills to handle password-protected PDFs.
By
December 27, 2022

If you’ve got a password-protected document, here’s how to remove a password from a PDF using Adobe Acrobat Pro.

Read more: How to password protect a PDF document

QUICK ANSWER

If you know the password, open the PDF in Acrobat Pro, then select Tools > Protect > Encrypt > Remove Security. If the PDF requires a password to open, click OK to remove it. If the document has a permissions password, type it in the “Enter Password" field, then click OK. Click OK again in the pop-up window.

Without knowing the password, you can attempt to print the PDF to a new file. This may not work, depending on the restrictions in place. To try it, open the PDF in another application that can view it, such as a web browser > Click the Print icon > Select Print to PDF or similar as the printer > Print the document and choose where to save the new PDF.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

How to remove a password from a PDF in Adobe Acrobat Pro

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You’ll need to know the password itself to remove a password from a PDF. If you do, here’s how to remove it:

  1. Open the PDF in Acrobat Pro.
  2. Select Tools > Protect > Encrypt > Remove Security.
  3. If the PDF requires a password to open, click OK to remove it.
  4. If the document has a permissions password, type it in the “Enter Password” field, then click OK. Click OK again in the pop-up window to confirm your choice.

Can you remove a password from a PDF without knowing the password?

If you do not know the password for a PDF, you cannot remove it. Some online tools and converters claim they can do this, but we cannot vouch for their effectiveness. You can try working around the password by printing the document to another PDF file. However, this may not work depending on the restrictions put in place by the password. If you want to try it, do the following:

  1. Open the PDF in another application that can view it, such as a web browser.
  2. Click the Print icon.
  3. Select Print to PDF or similar as the printer.
  4. Print the document and choose where you want to save the new PDF.

If the password-protected PDF you’re attempting this with prevents printing, the above steps won’t work.


Read more: How to create PDF files

FAQs

Sensitive documents may require a password so that only people allowed to view them can open them. If you are one of these people, ask the person who sent you the PDF originally for the password if they did not send it to you.

Yes, the free version of Adobe Acrobat does not permit altering or removing passwords.