How to Remove Password from a PDF

Protecting a document with a password is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it prevents other people from reading its content without authorization, but it also puts the legitimate owners of the PDF in a bind if you forget what the password was to unlock it.

Types of passwords for PDFs

Regarding passwords, you should understand that there are two types of passwords for PDF documents: opening passwords and passwords related to permissions. The latter allows you to restrict the permissions to edit, copy or print the document, being necessary to enter a password to perform any of these actions.

Regarding the security of passwords, you can protect PDFs with a simple password or encryption (requiring a password or a certificate to unlock them).

Encrypted PDFs are much more secure, and can have various degrees of encryption:

  • RC4 128 bits (medium-grade encryption),
  • AES 128 bits (medium-grade encryption),
  • AES 256 bits (strong encryption).

How to remove the password from a PDF document

To remove a password from a PDF to make it easier to read and share, everything will depend on whether or not you remember the access password.

If you remember the password

If you use the most popular PDF editor on the market, Adobe Acrobat DC, you can remove the password by following these steps.

  • Open the PDF document in Acrobat DC.
  • In the top menu click on “Tools”.
  • Go to “Protect -> Encrypt -> Remove” to remove the password.remove password from PDF

To perform this action, Adobe requires the paid version of the application. However, you can also use other free tools to remove the password from a PDF, such as Sejda’s free online editor.

  • Open the browser and go to https://www.sejda.com/en/pdf-editor.
  • Click on “Upload file” and upload the PDF you want to unlock.
  • Enter the access password.
  • Once you load the document, click on “Apply changes”.
  • Next, select the 3-dot icon to see more options and click on “Unprotect”.
  • Finally, click on “Unlock PDF” and then click on “Download” to download the PDF document.

If you open this new PDF, you will see that it no longer requests an access password to read the content of the document.

The problem with Sejda is that, although it is a great PDF editor, it only allows you to work with a maximum of 3 documents per day for free. If you need to unlock or edit several documents, you can use another free tool called iLovePDF.

The iLovePDF unlock process is practically identical to that of Sejda: load the document, click on the unlock button and enter the password.

iLovePDF has no limits regarding the number of documents that you can unlock and also the entire unlocking process is quite fast.

Other free tools to unlock PDFs (password required):

If you don’t remember the password

Protected PDFs are normally used mainly in the corporate and business world, where a lot of sensitive documentation is handled. In this type of work environment, many passwords are used, and it is possible that you have forgotten the unlock key for a specific PDF.

As we say, documents are protected for a clear reason: information security. For the information contained in the PDF to remain secure, you should obtain the unlock password legitimately.

  • If you received the PDF by email, check your inbox and try to locate the email. It is more than likely that the password will appear in that same email.
  • If the PDF is located on a corporate server, contact the company’s technical support. Some documents require the express authorization of the head of your department so that the technicians can give you access.
  • If you are working on a collaborative project it is possible that the PDF has also been received by someone else. Get in touch with her so she can give you the key.
  • Finally, if none of this works, contact the person who sent you the PDF and politely ask them to give you the password again.

In situations like this, it is important that you do not use third-party tools to unlock the document since you would be endangering the integrity of the information it contains and incur illegality with possible dismissals involved and even a possible complaint in the courts.

If it is a company document, as a last resort, the best thing you can do is contact the technical service, which will help you unlock the document or they can provide you with a valid copy to work with it.

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