We often receive PDF files that are password protected for security reasons. Think of bank statements, tax records, medical data, and confidential business reports. A protected PDF’s password can be removed as long as the document’s access permissions aren’t very strict. Getting rid of this password frees you from having to remember it and allows you to create duplicates for sharing. The following are some of the best ways to remove a password from a PDF in Windows 11 and Windows 10.
Dealing with a non-editable PDF? Make it editable by converting the PDF to a Word document!
How to Remove a Password From a PDF Using Desktop Tools
You can accomplish password removal from a PDF using a variety of installed apps and tools in Windows, including PDF readers and editors, Microsoft Office programs such as Word, and screen capture/recording software.
1. Print a New PDF Using a PDF Reader
This technique can be used with any PDF reader installed on Windows: Adobe Acrobat Reader DC, Foxit PDF Reader, Nitro PDF Reader, PDF Xchange, Sumatra PDF, Slim PDF, etc. The method is very simple: you just need to create a fresh PDF print and save it to your computer.
- Open the password-protected PDF file using your favorite PDF reader.
- Enter the required password to gain document access.
Note: you can’t proceed with the next few steps if you don’t remember the password of your PDF file.
- Check the document properties for any document restrictions. In Adobe and Foxit Reader, it can be opened via “File -> Properties -> Security.”
- If the security metadata suggests that printing is allowed despite password protection, you can create a new PDF print.
- Set the printer properties to “Microsoft Print to PDF” or any PDF reader app that shows there and click “OK” to take a PDF print.
- After creating a new PDF file, give it a desirable name. You can open this document from your PC as an unlocked PDF file – no password is needed.
2. Save as a PDF in Word
If you have a newer version of Word (Office 2019 and beyond), you would have noticed that it renders PDF files rather beautifully and can save in the same format. The trick is to open the password-protected PDF file in Word and save it as a PDF once again.
- Go to the PDF file’s folder and right-click the document for more options.
- Click “Open with” followed by “Choose another app.”
- Under “How do you want to open this file,” you should see an option for Word. If you don’t see this, click “More apps” to search for Word.
Note: don’t select the option “Always use Word to open .pdf files.” This setting is for one-time use only.
- If you’ve never opened a PDF file in the Word app before, you should see a message that “Word will now convert your PDF to an editable Word document.” Click OK to proceed. This conversion may take a few seconds, depending on how big your PDF file is.
- You will be asked to enter your password for the secure PDF document, then the PDF file will open in Word.
- Click “File -> Save As” to save the Word document to the desired location on your Windows PC.
- Instead of “.doc” or “.docx,” save the Word document as a PDF file using the option found in the “Save as type” drop-down menu.
3. Use Scrolling Screenshots
Windows offers many different ways to capture scrolling screenshots of multiple app screens from top to bottom. These screenshots are saved in JPG or PNG format and can later be converted to a PDF file using online tools. For this demonstration, we are using ShareX, which is easy to download and install on any Windows 11/10/8.1/7 device.
- In the screen capture software, you should see an option to capture scrolling screenshots. Click once to enable this.
- Once the entire PDF file has been captured as a screenshot, save the result as a JPG or PNG image.
- When the output image is ready, convert it to a PDF file once again using an online tool such as PDF2Go or your original screen capture software if it has the option to save the image directly as a PDF file.
4. Use a PDF Editor’s Remove Security Feature
This is a paid option that you can only access if you’ve subscribed to premium PDF editor software. Adobe Acrobat Pro, Foxit PDF Editor (formerly PhantomPDF), and EaseUS PDF Editor have a superb feature called “Remove Security,” which can be accessed from their Encryption or Protection menu tabs.
While the primary purpose of such software is to edit PDF files, it has several advanced uses, such as removing watermarks and passwords. Most PDF editor software supports a free trial for you to evaluate the available features.
Tip: learn how to compress PDF documents on desktop and mobile.
How to Remove a Password from a PDF Using Online Tools
There are many online tools that allow you to remove a PDF password on a browser installed on a Windows device. These methods work well for most modern browsers, such as Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Mozilla Firefox.
1. Using Google Drive and Google Docs
Google Drive and Google Docs are capable of opening and saving PDF files, including those that are password-protected. To remove the password, import the file into Google Drive, then open and save it in Google Docs.
- Import the PDF using the “File Upload” menu under “New” (the button with a big “+” sign.)
- Enter the document’s password in Google Drive to view it.
- Open the document with Google Docs, which is always available as a connected app.
- Once the original PDF file opens in Google Docs, rename it and download it again as a PDF from “File -> Download -> PDF document.”
2. Using Smallpdf
Smallpdf has an Unlock PDF option that quickly creates a new PDF file with the password removed.
- Go to the Smallpdf “Unlock PDF” link and click “Choose File” or drag and drop the PDF document.
- When asked to enter your password, check the option for “remove password protection” to disable any passwords in the newly created PDF file.
- Wait a few seconds for the password removal to be processed.
3. Using iLovePDF
iLovePDF is one of the best online tools for quickly removing PDF passwords. It is very easy to use and gives quick results.
- Go to the iLovePDF unlock PDF link and upload your password-protected PDF file.
- Click the “Unlock PDF” button on the next screen.
- Enter the file password and hit “Send.”
- After just a few seconds, the PDF password will be unlocked. You can download and save this PDF file for further use.
There is other online software with PDF removal capabilities, such as:
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I find my PDF password?
If you forgot your PDF password, the only way you can view it is by running the PDF file through a password-unlocking tool such as Smallpdf.
How do I select text from a protected PDF?
To select text from a protected PDF, it is a good idea to open the PDF in a browser. Right-click the PDF file and select a browser, such as Chrome or Edge, using the “Open with” option. The text will now be selectable for copy-pasting.
How to remove encryption from a PDF without a password?
To remove encryption from a PDF without a password, you need a PDF editor, such as Adobe Acrobat Pro, that has an unlock tool or a “Remove Security” feature. This method won’t work if the document permissions don’t allow editing.
How do I remove a password from a PDF file on Mac?
On a Mac device, you can remove PDF passwords using the “Preview” option. The trick is to open the password-protected file and save it as a new PDF file, which will then have the password removed.
Image credit: Pexels. All screenshots by Sayak Boral.
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