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4 Ways to remove a Password from PDFs

4 Ways to remove a Password from PDFs

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April 14, 2023

Looking to remove a password from a PDFs? Check out this comparison guide of four popular tools: Adobe Acrobat, Smallpdf, QPDF, and Ghostscript. Discover their ease of use, cost, security, quality of output, compatibility, additional features, and more to choose the best option for your needs.

4 Ways to remove a Password from PDFs

Table of Contents

Introduction

PDF documents are often password-protected to prevent unauthorized access and protect sensitive information. However, there may be situations where you need to remove the password from a PDF file. Fortunately, there are several tools available that allow you to do so. In this article, we will discuss four such tools – Adobe Acrobat, Smallpdf, QPDF, and Ghostscript – and compare their features and ease of use.

The four tools discussed in this article offer different levels of ease of use, cost, security, and additional features.

  • Adobe Acrobat is a popular and easy-to-use tool that provides high-security features and additional editing capabilities. However, it is also the most expensive option.
  • Smallpdf, on the other hand, is a free and web-based option that offers easy-to-use PDF tools, but lacks a password strength test feature.
  • QPDF and Ghostscript are both free and compatible with various operating systems, but they require some technical knowledge to use.
  • Ghostscript also has additional features such as PostScript to PDF conversion.

Comparative Table:

Adobe AcrobatSmallpdfQPDFGhostscript
Ease of UseEasyEasyModerateModerate
CostExpensiveFreeFreeFree
SecurityHighHighModerateModerate
Quality of OutputHighHighHighHigh
Compatibility with OSWindows and MacWeb-basedWindows, Mac, and LinuxWindows, Mac, and Linux
Additional FeaturesEditing and OCREditingEncryption and DecryptionPostScript to PDF conversion
Password Strength TestYesNoNoNo

Overall, each option has its own strengths and weaknesses, so the choice depends on the user’s requirements and preferences.

#1 Remove a Password from PDFs with Adobe Acrobat

Adobe Acrobat is a popular software used to create, edit, and manage PDF documents. In addition to these features, Adobe Acrobat also allows you to remove password protection from PDFs. Removing password protection from a PDF using Adobe Acrobat is a simple process that can be completed in just a few easy steps.

Step 1: Open the password-protected PDF in Adobe Acrobat

The first step to remove password protection from a PDF using Adobe Acrobat is to open the password-protected PDF in the Adobe Acrobat software.

To do this, launch the Adobe Acrobat software and navigate to the “File” menu. Select “Open” from the drop-down menu and choose the password-protected PDF that you want to remove the password from.

Step 2: Enter the password

Once you have opened the password-protected PDF in Adobe Acrobat, you will be prompted to enter the password for the document. This is necessary to remove the password protection from the PDF. If you do not have the password for the PDF, you will not be able to remove the password protection from the document.

Step 3: Go to the “Security” tab

After entering the password for the PDF, go to the “Security” tab in the Adobe Acrobat toolbar. The “Security” tab is located at the top of the Adobe Acrobat window.

Step 4: Select “Remove Security”

In the “Security” tab, select “Remove Security” from the list of options. This will bring up a dialogue box that allows you to choose the type of security that you want to remove from the PDF.

Step 5: Choose the security options to remove

In the dialogue box, choose the security options that you want to remove from the PDF. For example, you may choose to remove the password protection or the restrictions on printing, copying, and editing the document. Once you have made your selection, click on the “OK” button to remove the selected security options.

Step 6: Save the PDF without password protection

After removing the selected security options from the PDF, save the document by navigating to the “File” menu and selecting “Save” or “Save As“. The PDF will now be saved without password protection, and you can open it in any PDF viewer or editor without the need for a password.

Removing password protection from a PDF using Adobe Acrobat is a simple and straightforward process that can be completed in just a few easy steps. Whether you have forgotten the password for a PDF or no longer require the document to be secured, Adobe Acrobat offers a quick and efficient way to remove password protection from your PDF documents.

Remove a Password from PDFs

#2 Remove a Password from PDFs with Smallpdf

Smallpdf is an online tool that offers a range of PDF-related services, including the ability to remove password protection from PDFs.

Removing the password from a PDF using Smallpdf is a simple and straightforward process that can be completed in just a few easy steps:

Step 1: Go to the Smallpdf website

The first step to remove password protection from a PDF using Smallpdf is to visit the Smallpdf website.

Step 2: Select the “Unlock PDF” tool

Once you are on the Smallpdf website, select the “Unlock PDF” tool from the list of available tools. The “Unlock PDF” tool is specifically designed to remove password protection from PDFs.

Step 3: Upload the password-protected PDF

After selecting the “Unlock PDF” tool, you will be prompted to upload the password-protected PDF that you want to remove the password from. You can do this by either dragging and dropping the PDF onto the tool’s web page or by selecting it from your device.

Step 4: Enter the password

Once you have uploaded the password-protected PDF, you will be prompted to enter the password for the PDF. This is necessary to remove the password protection from the document. If you do not have the password for the PDF, you will not be able to remove the password protection from the document.

Step 5: Click on the “Unlock PDF” button

After entering the password for the PDF, click on the “Unlock PDF” button to remove the password protection from the document. The tool will then begin to process the document and remove the password protection.

Step 6: Download the PDF without the password protection

Once the tool has finished processing the document, you will be given the option to download the PDF without the password protection. Simply click on the “Download” button to download the PDF to your device.

Remove a Password from PDFs

Smallpdf is a convenient and user-friendly online tool that allows you to remove password protection from PDFs. Whether you have forgotten the password for a PDF or no longer require the document to be secured, Smallpdf offers a quick and efficient way to remove password protection from your PDF documents.

If you want to know more about how to password protect PDF files, you can read about it in our previous blog article.

Remove a Password from PDFs

#3 Remove a Password from PDFs with QPDF

QPDF is a free, open-source command-line tool that allows you to manipulate PDF documents. It can be used to perform a variety of tasks, including removing password protection from PDFs.

We will walk you through the steps to remove password protection from a PDF using QPDF:

Step 1: Install QPDF The first step is to install QPDF on your computer

QPDF is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. You can download the appropriate version for your operating system from the official QPDF website.

Step 2: Open the command prompt

After installing QPDF, open the command prompt on your computer. In Windows, you can do this by pressing the Windows key + R, typing “cmd” and hitting enter. In Mac and Linux, you can open the terminal.

Step 3: Navigate to the folder containing the PDF

Navigate to the folder on your computer that contains the password-protected PDF using the “cd” command. For example, if your PDF is located in the “Documents” folder, you can navigate to it by typing “cd Documents“.

Step 4: Run the QPDF command

To remove password protection from the PDF, run the QPDF command in the command prompt. The command is as follows:

qpdf –password=your_password –decrypt input.pdf output.pdf

Replace “your_password” with the password for the PDF and “input.pdf” with the name of the password-protected PDF file. The command will create a new PDF file called “output.pdf” that is not password-protected.

Step 5: Verify the output PDF

After running the command, verify that the output PDF is not password-protected. Open the PDF using your preferred PDF viewer and ensure that you are not prompted to enter a password.

Step 6: Save the output PDF If the output

PDF is not password-protected, you can save it to your desired location. You can do this by selecting “File” and “Save As” in your PDF viewer and choosing the location where you want to save the file.

QPDF is a powerful and versatile tool that can be used to remove password protection from PDFs. While it does require some command-line knowledge, the process is relatively straightforward and can be completed in just a few simple steps. Whether you need to remove password protection from a single PDF or multiple files, QPDF is a great option for anyone looking to manipulate PDF documents quickly and easily.

QPDF

#4 Remove a Password from PDFs with Ghostscript

Ghostscript is a powerful software that allows you to view, create, and manipulate PDF documents. It is an open-source software that can be used on various operating systems, including Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. Ghostscript is used to convert PostScript files to PDF and vice versa. It can also be used to add or remove passwords from PDF documents.

How to remove a password from a PDF document using Ghostscript:

Step 1: Install Ghostscript

First, you need to install Ghostscript on your computer.

Step 2: Open the Command Prompt

After installing Ghostscript, open the Command Prompt on your computer. You can do this by clicking on the Start menu and typing “cmd” in the search box. Then, click on the Command Prompt option.

Step 3: Navigate to the Ghostscript Directory

In the Command Prompt, navigate to the directory where Ghostscript is installed. You can do this by using the “cd” command. For example, if Ghostscript is installed in the “C:\Program Files\gs\gs9.27” directory, you can navigate to this directory using the following command:

cd C:\Program Files\gs\gs9.27

Step 4: Remove Password from PDF Document

Once you are in the Ghostscript directory, you can use the following command to remove the password from a PDF document:

gswin64c -q -dNOPAUSE -dBATCH -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -sOutputFile=output.pdf -c .setpdfwrite -f input.pdf

In the above command, replace “gswin64c” with “gswin32c” if you are using the 32-bit version of Ghostscript. Also, replace “input.pdf” with the name of the PDF document from which you want to remove the password. Similarly, replace “output.pdf” with the name of the output PDF document.

The above command will prompt you to enter the password of the PDF document. Enter the password and press Enter. Ghostscript will remove the password from the PDF document and create a new PDF document without a password.

Step 5: Verify the PDF Document

After removing the password from the PDF document, verify the document to ensure that the password has been removed successfully. Open the new PDF document using any PDF viewer and check if it asks for a password. If the document opens without a password, the password has been successfully removed.

Ghostscript

We have discussed how to remove a password from a PDF document using Ghostscript. Ghostscript is a powerful software that allows you to manipulate PDF documents. It is available for download from the official website and can be used on various operating systems. To remove the password from a PDF document using Ghostscript, you need to open the Command Prompt, navigate to the Ghostscript directory, and use a specific command. After removing the password from the PDF document, verify the document to ensure that the password has been removed successfully.

Conclusion

Removing a password from a PDF file is a task that can be accomplished using a variety of tools. The four tools discussed in this article – Adobe Acrobat, Smallpdf, QPDF, and Ghostscript – each have their own strengths and weaknesses. Ultimately, the choice of which tool to use will depend on the user’s requirements and preferences. Regardless of the tool chosen, it is essential to ensure the security of the document and its contents.


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