Unlock Protected PDF – Select, Edit, Print – Best Ways

adobe acrobat pdf icon The standard PDF security allows passwords at two levels.
‘user password’ – password for opening the pdf file.
‘owner password’ – for restricting printing; copying text, decrypting graphics, adding or modifying text notes, fields

There are times, when the owner forgets or have lost the actual password. In these cases, where has valid legal reason, follow the below methods. Please respect copyright laws and stay away from legal issues by unlocking unauthorized files.

Commercial Solution : Advanced PDF Password Recovery from ElcomSoft and PDF Password Remover from Very PDF are best commercial products. But, we are here to talk about free ways.

PDFCrack is a GNU/Linux open source (GPL) PDF password cracker for recovering owner and user passwords. PDFCrack is command line driven tool. PDFCrack version 0.8 is the latest version that has been ported to Win32 platform, and has been tested to work PDF version 1.6 from Adobe Acrobat version 7.0 with 128-bit AES encryption support.
– Download Linux source version.
– Download Windows pdfcrack-0.8-win32.zip.

If you are just looking to bypass ‘owner password’ for printing. Below are the various working ways.

Method 1: With Ghostscript and GSView. 

  • Download and install Ghostscript, an interpreter for the PostScript language and for PDF.
  • Download and install GSView, a graphical interface for Ghostscript.
  • Run ‘Start -> All Programs -> Ghostgum -> GSView’ to open and print/copy any security locked PDF files.
  • You can also save an unprotected version of the file. In GSView click "File -> Convert -> OK" and save it under a new name (unprotected.pdf).

Method 2.a : Using Online Service FreeMyPDF to Remove Restrictionsfreemypdf.com interface

FreeMyPDF is a online servive that lets you strip passwords and other restrictions from the file. Go to http://freemypdf.com/ and browse to upload the file you want to fix. It should be noted however that the process only works for files you are able to view—files which you need a password to even view can’t be unprotected by FreeMyPDF.

Method 2.b : Using Online Service Ensode.net/pdf.jsf

  • Goto http://www.ensode.net/pdf-crack.jsf 
  • Accept the terms and upload the protected file and Submit.
  • A new window will open up and prompt to save pdf-crack.jsf
  • Rename the file from jsf to pdf (pdf-crack.pdf)
  • Now you can open the file to print or anything


Method 3 : Use of Screen grabber software.

This method involves capturing the document as a picture, which can later be printed. Free Screen capturing software tool like Snipping Tool ( Vista free Screen Capture Utility) or SnagIt , which support auto-scroll to capture multiple pages of the document automatically. Also try Free Bug Shooting, Gadwin PrintScreen 4.3

Method 4: Freeware PDF Unlocker

Freeware PDF Unlocker allowing users to remove password and restrictions on any PDF file that you can read. The utility is very simple to use, simply drag and drop the file to remove restrictions. You do not need to know the "owner" password for this to work.  Download Freeware PDF Unlocker

Method 5: pdfFactory and Zan image printer

Download pdfFactory. Print to pdffactory. When the print preview comes up, save as pdf.

Otherway, Go to http://www.zan1011.com/ and download the Zan image printer. This is an opensource driver. In the config, choose printer redirect and then hook off your prefered pdf writer. It even works with adobe writer. Your result is a “graphical” pdf file with no restrictions and you can run OCR if necessary. In some cases though Adobe Acrobat Reader might refuse to print to MDI or PS printer, saying “The printer is not allowed for secure printing. Do you want to change your choice ?”. 
Printer port redirection tool such as RedMon can help.

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15 Responses to “Unlock Protected PDF – Select, Edit, Print – Best Ways”

  1. These days,remove pdf password is very easy as there are many tools available.PDF Password Recovery can help you remove the password instantly.

  2. I have downloaded Advanced PDF Password Remover 5.0 to try , quite good.

  3. Method 2.b : Using Online Service Ensode.net/pdf.jsf

    works like a charm. Awesome post.
    Thanks a lot websiee!!

  4. thanks for this article.it is useful.

  5. To unlock protected PDF file to copy, modify and print PDF files, you may try PDF Unlock tool – http://www.pdf1.org/pdf-unlock.html. PDF Unlock is an efficient utility that unlock protected, secured PDF file in just 2 clicks/

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