How to remove a password from a pdf file

It’s all too common to create a password-protected PDF, only to come back to it later and be hit with an error when trying to open it. You quickly realize that you forgot the PDF password and don’t have a backup anywhere.

This used to be more of an issue, but these days you can use a PDF password unlocker to remove security from the PDF. While this doesn’t spell great news if you’ve been thinking your password protection is secure, it is handy if you made a mistake.

Free password remover tools can remove the owner password to allow editing or printing. However, removing the “user” password is much more difficult. These often require commercial software and what’s known as a “dictionary” attack. This method is universal to cracking passwords, rather than being PDF specific, and can take a very long time if you don’t know any of the password.

As you’ll see through the course of this tutorial the success rate of removing a password from a PDF is also variable, depending on the software and the encryption algorithm used. As a result, we’re going to show you how to remove a password from a PDF with both free and paid tools.

Print to New PDF to Remove Password

Though it sounds too easy, you can remove the owner password from some PDFs by just printing them as a new PDF. This essentially makes your own unprotected copy of the document, but will only work if it isn’t print restricted.

  1. Print the document with Bullzip PDF printer


    With the document open, press “Ctrl+P” and select “Microsoft Print to PDF” or any other installed PDF printer you might have. You can view our full tutorial on PDF printing to find out more.

    Windows 10 - Microsoft Edge - Print - Select Microsoft Print to PDF

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


How to Remove a known PDF Password with Adobe Acrobat DC Pro

If you want to preserve the original PDF file with all options and data and remove a known PDF password, you can use Adobe Acrobat DC Pro to do so. Adobe offers a week-long free trial of Acrobat Pro which is more than enough to get rid of the password.

  1. Open the PDF in Adobe Acrobat DC Pro and press the padlock button


    The button should be located on the left sidebar.

    Windows 10 Adobe Acrobat Pro DC - Open Security Settings

  2. Click “Permission Details”


    Windows 10 Adobe Acrobat Pro DC - Security Settings

  3. In the “Security” tab, remove password protection from the PDF


    Next to the “Security Method” heading, click the dropdown and change it from “Password Security” to “No Security”.

    Windows 10 Adobe Acrobat Pro DC - Security Settings - Document Security

  4. Press “OK” to the remove PDF password prompt


    Windows 10 Adobe Acrobat Pro DC - Security Settings - Document Security Removal - Confirmation

  5. Check the “Document Restriction Summary”


    Adobe Acrobat will tell you what the new permissions of the document are. Press “OK”.

    Windows 10 Adobe Acrobat Pro DC - Security Settings - Document Permissions

  6. Press the save icon to save the unrestricted PDF


    Windows 10 Adobe Acrobat Pro DC - Security Settings - Document Security - Save Document

If you found this tutorial useful, feel free to check out our guides on how to password protect a folder and how to enable/disable login after sleep.

How to Remove an unknown PDF Password with a PDF Password Remover

There are several free applications that remove encryption from a PDF, including PDF Password Remover Tool, Freeware PDF Unlocker, and Amazing Free PDF Password Remover. It’s usually worth trying these before spending money, but your results may vary. 

If the freeware doesn´t help you, it’s likely only commercial pdf software can remove your PDF’s owner password. Recover PDF Password, Birdie PDF Security Remover and A-PDF Restrictions Remover are tools that should do the job even with PDF files locked with the newest encryption methods.

We’re going to be showcasing the Free PDF Password Remover Tool and PDF Technologies PDF Password remover for this tutorial. 

  1. Add a file and start the removal process

    Windows 10 - Free PDF Password Remover

  2. Your password will be removed


    If the process was successful, you should see an information dialog with “Password Successfully Removed!” or similar.

    Windows 10 - Free PDF Password Remover - Success

  3. OR you’ll see the following error


    You may want to try the other freeware tools if this happens to you, though you may have better luck with the commercial one.

    Windows 10 - PDF Technologies Password Remover - Fail

Now that’s done, you may want to consider checking out some of our existing tutorials, such as how to open Microsoft Word documents without Word and how to cancel print jobs.