How to Unlock and Remove Password from PDF Documents?

This is a guest post by my colleague Steven Hodgin from http://www.pdf-tips.blogspot.com/

Portable Document Format file, commonly known as PDF file is a widely used file type for publishing text and image documents on the World Wide Web.

This is because it’s formatting remains the same irrespective of the device used to open it, the operating system used to open it, etc.

Moreover, it offers an additional feature to lock the documents for security reasons.

Two kinds of security can be applied on PDF files and they are user level password and owner level password.

The former is a type of password that restricts unauthorized users to even view the file whereas the latter allows viewing the document but restricts printing, editing, copying and extracting text.

A PDF, restricted with user level password can be viewed only when the password is known to the user.

The PDFs protected with owner-level security can be edited, printed, copied or data can be extracted from it only when such restrictions are removed.

Therefore, the question arises as how to unlock and remove password from PDF documents in case such situation arrives.

Through this guest post an attempt has been made to devise ways to get rid of both kinds of PDF restrictions; user-level and owner-level.

The former when password is not known so as to view the file while the latter to erase restrictions such as printing, editing, copying and extracting so as to be able to do so.

Methods to Unlock and Remove Passwords of PDF Files

Some methods have been mentioned and explained in this section so as to bring out an answer to the query: how to unlock and remove password from PDF documents.

Method 1 – pdfunlock Online Solution

  • Step 1: Visit http://www.pdfunlock.com to remove passwords and restrictions from secured PDF files as the web page says.
  • Step 2: There appears a tab with “// drop a file here or select from below” where the PDF can be selected from the system, Dropbox and Google Drive too.
  • Step 3: Once the PDF is selected, the file name appears on the tab which earlier had “// drop a file here or select from below” inscribed on it. Then click on the tab ‘Unlock’ present on the web page to remove restrictions.

An overview of the online solution to unlock PDF files from this method can be gained from the screen shot shown below:

 

Comment – On doing so the owner level restrictions gets removed and a success message comes up on the screen. But if the file is protected with user-level password a message asking for password comes up on the screen. Only if the password is known, the PDF can be unlocked and owner password can be removed.

Advantages:

  1. Free of cost online resolution.
  2. Easy and simple to use.

Limitations:

  1. Not safe for confidential or personal file.
  2. Only one file can be processed at a time.
  3. Free file size limitation is imposed.
  4. Cannot unlock user-restricted PDF file without providing a password.

Method 2 – Using http://foxyutils.com/unlockpdf/ rel=”nofollow” Online Solution

  • Step 2: As a first step any restricted PDF file should be browsed from the computer system.
  • Step 3: A password is required to be entered if the PDF file is protected with user-level restrictions. This proves that it cannot remove user-level restrictions.
  • Step 4: Finally, the ‘UNLOCK PDF’ should be clicked to upload and unlock the file from owner-level restrictions.

Unlocking PDF files from this method is a three step easy procedure whose overview can be achieved from the screenshot displayed below.

 

Comment Though the interface says that more than one file can be selected, the fact is just the opposite. Only one file can be added at a time for unlocking the owner restricted PDF file. The process becomes tedious if multiple PDFs are present and requires being unlocked.

Advantages:

  1. Free online solution.
  2. Simple, 3-step easy process.

Limitations:

  1. The maximum size of the PDF file can be only 30MB.
  2. A single file can be processed for unlocking at a time.
  3. Files with DRM encryption cannot be handled by this online solution.
  4. Unable to unlock PDF files that are restricted by user-level passwords.

 

Method 3 – Using PDFWARE PDF Unlocker Tool

  • Step 1: The PDF Unlocker should be launched on the machine. On completion of installation an interface as shown below appears on the screen. The interface provides an ‘Unlock’ button to proceed-with unlocking PDF file(s) and hence it should be clicked. Moreover, the tool provides one click facility to unlock the PDF file restrictions.

 

 

Step 2: Then, a window follows up that asks users to select the PDF file by browsing and also provides option to select the destination location for the unlocked PDF files. After selection of both of them the Unlock PDF tab should be clicked as shown in red rectangle in the figure below.

 

 

Step 3: Finally, the permission for printing, copying, editing and extracting is granted as shown in the figure below with check marks in green color.

 

Note – The screen shots of PDFWARE PDF Unlocker shown belongs to Personal License of the software application that supports unlocking of one file at a time. However, the Business and Enterprise licenses of the tool support batch unlocking of PDF files.

Comment – The external application is an easy to use tool and does not involve any complications. This can be understood from the screenshots displayed here.

Advantages:

  1. Can unlock multiple PDF files in bulk.
  2. Removes user-password once the PDF gets unlocked. The resultant PDF does not prompt for password again for opening.
  3. No limitation is imposed on the size of the document.
  4. Safe for personal and confidential documents.
  5. Maintains integrity of the stored data within the file.

Limitation:

  1. Not available free of cost.

 

End Words:-

Three methods have been elaborated by means of this guest post. A comparison has also been done amongst the three.

Any of the three methods can be used according to requirement. However, the use of third party PDFWARE PDF Unlocker external tool seems more appropriate as compared to others.

This is because it renders batch unlocking and also unlimited file size unlocking facility that is not possible with the other two.

But when the numbers of PDF files are less and of normal size (ranging in few MB) than the other two online methods described above can also be made use of.

Comments
  1. Hi Steven,

    Welcome to my blog and thanks for posting this tutorial. Hope, this will be helpful for all of my readers.

    Hope, You will enjoy discussing here with my readers and solving their queries.

    Thanks again for contributing here.

    Have a great day ahead!

  2. Hi Nisha and Steven

    Thank you for this post. Here am I looking at myself and saying Why did I not have this resource then. I once had a pdf that I purchased and lost the password in error and because I could not get the password. I deleted the resource. Maybe I should been a bit patient. .

  3. nice article’s…keep it up

  4. Hello Nisha,

    First thanks for publishing the article.

    I hope it will be helpful for the users who are using PDF Files.

    Thanks
    Steven

  5. Hi Steven, and welcome to Nisha’s blog 🙂

    Yes, sometimes when we lose the password of the PDF or it’s not given to us, and such times we can make use of this post, which I would surely be bookmarking, as and when I need to come back to it.

    Perhaps the last option is the best, though it’s not a free one. Honestly speaking, I haven’t come across such a problem ever because whenever there is a PDF online or available, it is free and easy to download to read. But perhaps there are many that are locked or password restricted. This post would be handy for those.

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead, both of you 🙂

  6. Hi Nisha and Steven,

    I have faced this kind of problem but now no more. After going through this article I am sure I can do it easily. Many times I need PDF files but unfortunately due to password I couldn’t able to access them. But now I can use PDF unlocker.
    Thanks for letting us know.
    Hope you both are enjoying your week.:)
    ~Ravi

  7. Hey Steven and Nisha,

    Thank you for taking your time to write and put up this article for us.

    I think with these three ways to unlock and remove password from pdf document, people who are in need of them would find them useful.

    I have heard of sites that are able to do exactly the same thing as you have explained above.

    Take care and have a nice day ahead.

    -Oloyede Jamiu

  8. Hello Ikechi,

    Thanks for the appriation

    For unlocking PDF files you must have the old password, without old password you couldn’t remove password from a PDF File

    Thanks

  9. Hello Harleena,

    Thanks for the appreciation

    As like you I also recommend Premium software, it will cost you $29 but it will help you to save your PDF File from being shared.

    Thanks

  10. Hello Nisha Mam,
    That was very helpful and much needed. I had too many problems in the past to open such PDFs. Now, I know the solution. I wanna thank you and Steven for coming up with this post.

    It was nice to read the advantages and disadvantages of all 3 of the methods 🙂

    Have a nice day! 🙂
    Regards,
    Rohan Chaubey.

  11. Hi Steven and Nisha,

    I do face problems with password protected PDFs. Now I got the solution. I have bookmarked this page. When I run into problem again, I will try your solutions.
    Thank you for sharing this post

    Umapathy

  12. I have been searching this post,, at last i found this.

  13. Hi Steven, This is very helpful and is well appreciated. I have too many challenges accessing the information in some pdf, now i think going by your methods,i can open any pdf. thanks so much.

  14. Nice Share Steven!

    There is also “PDF Unlocker”, this software is able to remove encryption passwords from 40 to 128-bit. It is a free utility that will also allow you to unlock protected PDF files

  15. This is really such a nice information. Article is very useful and awesome for those who are thinking about to decrypt a pdf password. Keep it up Neesha Mam and keep sharing useful informations like this.

  16. Hi Nisha,

    It’s a nice tutorial on unlocking or removing password from a PDF file, I remember sometime last year when I wished I came across this tutorial, though no knowledg is a waste, I’ll call on this tutorial whenever I’m in need of it.

    Thanks for sharing.

  17. Hello, Nisha and Steven,

    First of all, I’m glad to get to know Steven a little, as I was not acquainted with him before, so thanks.

    Then, I had no idea you could unlock a PDF, so this is new information to me. You provide several solutions and detailed information as to how to go about doing it, So thank you very much.

    I am bookmarking this article for future use, and I will be telling my friends about it because it is valuable content, and I think it could really help people.

    Thanks so much, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

    Talk to you soon,
    – Carol

  18. Hi Steven,

    It is my pleasure to have this article for my readers. Hope, they will found it useful.

  19. Thanks for stopping by Prabha!

  20. Hello Carol,

    I am very glad to know that you found this article useful for you and bookmarking it for the future preferences.

    Thanks for visiting here and leaving your wonderful feedback. I really appreciate it.

    Have a good week ahead!

  21. Hi Larry,

    Right, knowledges are never get wasted. We can need it any time. So better is to store every thing you learn or found useful.

    Sounds good that you are storing this post for future preferences. Thanks for sharing your views here. Have a good day ahead!

  22. Thanks for the comment worli.

  23. Thanks for your words Pratik. I am glad that you found this post useful for you.

    Thanks for stopping by here and sharing your views with us.

  24. Sounds good. Thanks for stopping by John.

  25. Hi Osuofia,

    This is good to know that this post is helpful for you. Thanks for coming by here and sharing your feedback with us. Have a nice day ahead!

  26. Steven Hodgin

    Dear Carol Amato,

    A big thanks for appreciating this article and bookmarking it for future re-source (also thankful for sharing this one among your friends).

    We will continue this journey of rolling out the detailed facts of Technology and would like to get the same response from you.

    Thanks & Regards
    Steven Hodgin

  27. Hi Ravi,

    I am glad to hear that you found this article useful. Hope, this will be helpful for others too.
    Thank you so much or the comment and sharing your personal experiences.

    Enjoy your weekend!

  28. Hi Umapathy,

    I am so glad that you found this article useful for you and bookmarked for future preferences.

    Thanks you so much for stopping by here. Have a nice weekend!

  29. Hi Oleyede,

    I really appreciate your feedback here. Yes, there are many resources online which are helping us in these ways. Thanks for stopping by here.

    Have a lovely weekend!

  30. Hi Rohan,

    I am glad that you liked the post and found helpful for you. Yes, Steven has done good work here for helping the people who are facing this kind of issue.

    Thanks for coming by and sharing your views here. Have a lovely weekend ahead!

  31. Awesome post, thanks for the solution.

ADD YOUR COMMENT

Share This