How do I remove the password protection on a pdf document?
January 20, 2010 1:59 AM   Subscribe

How do I remove the password protection on a pdf document?

I have a pdf document that is password protected, so that I get a dialog box prompting me to enter the password every time I open the document. I KNOW the password, so I can opten the document without problem.
However, I want to remove the password, but cannot figure out how. I am familiar with how to enable and disable password protection with MS Word (yes, I know it's not real protection), but cannot find the corresponding settings on my Acrobat Reader. FWIW, I am using Acrobat Reader version 9. I find the security setting, but there is only a lot of nonsense about certificates and adding IDs, but nothing on passwords.
Is it possible that I need a full version of Acrobat and cannot remove the password with the reader?
posted by sour cream to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
You could use a tool like the free PDF Unlocker to remove this protection.
posted by PontifexPrimus at 2:10 AM on January 20, 2010

Reader won't let you remove the protection, so unless you use a tool like mentioned above, you'll need the full version.

I'm running a full version of 9 on this machine, and under File -> Properties there's a Security Tab with a dropdown where you can modify the security method to either add or remove password protection.
posted by librarianamy at 4:45 AM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

You can do it online (for free) here:

5MB file size limit though.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 4:49 AM on January 20, 2010 [3 favorites]

Can you just print iit out as another PDF?
posted by aeschenkarnos at 5:07 AM on January 20, 2010

In case you're not sure what aeschenkarmos means, look up CutePDF or another PDF printer. It installs like a printer driver, so when you choose to print a document you can instead save it to a PDF file.
posted by monkeymadness at 5:29 AM on January 20, 2010

For what it's worth, I've tried printing a password-protected PDF as a new PDF to unlock it (using PrimoPDF) and it didn't work.
posted by Nothlit at 6:33 AM on January 20, 2010

You don't say what system you're on, my go-to free pdf tools are pdftk for Linux and PDFXChange viewer for windows. I think both can do what you want if you have the original password.
posted by Dr Dracator at 6:42 AM on January 20, 2010

Once you have opened the file with the password, go to Advanced\Security\Remove Security
posted by Eicats at 6:55 AM on January 20, 2010

Well...that's assuming you have the full professional version of Adobe Acrobat, though. If you only have the Acrobat Reader, I think you're out of luck.
posted by Eicats at 6:56 AM on January 20, 2010

PDF Pirate is free and has no limits or restrictions (or so it claims, I've never used it).
posted by clearlydemon at 7:24 AM on January 20, 2010

Yes, pdftk (download it here). Here's the proper command:

pdftk secured.pdf input_pw foopass output unsecured.pdf

Pdftk documentation is here.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 8:22 AM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

You might also try opening it on a Mac. I've encountered password protected PDFs that opened up just fine in Preview. Never hurts to try.
posted by drstein at 3:01 PM on January 20, 2010

If you have access to a Mac open the file and go to File -> Print. Click on the PDF button and select Save as PDF. I've used that to remove passwords on PDF files before.
posted by 6550 at 6:51 PM on January 20, 2010

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