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.
- Free of cost online resolution.
- Easy and simple to use.
- Not safe for confidential or personal file.
- Only one file can be processed at a time.
- Free file size limitation is imposed.
- 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.
- Free online solution.
- Simple, 3-step easy process.
- The maximum size of the PDF file can be only 30MB.
- A single file can be processed for unlocking at a time.
- Files with DRM encryption cannot be handled by this online solution.
- 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.
- Can unlock multiple PDF files in bulk.
- Removes user-password once the PDF gets unlocked. The resultant PDF does not prompt for password again for opening.
- No limitation is imposed on the size of the document.
- Safe for personal and confidential documents.
- Maintains integrity of the stored data within the file.
- Not available free of cost.
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.