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4 Ways to Password Protect PDF Files

4 Ways to Password Protect PDF Files

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মার্চ 18, 2023

Looking for ways to password protect your PDF files? Check out our comparison of the top 4 methods, including Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Word, Smallpdf and PDFsam. Find the pros and cons, costs, and accessibility of each method to help you choose the best option for your needs.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Password protecting PDFs is a common practice for individuals and businesses who want to secure sensitive information from unauthorized access. There are several software applications and online tools available that offer password protection for PDFs. We will compare and contrast the features of five different methods for password protecting PDFs, including Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Word, Smallpdf and PDFsam.

Comparison Table:

MethodProsConsCostAccessibility
Adobe AcrobatOffers advanced password settingsExpensive, requires software downloadExpensiveDesktop
Microsoft WordFamiliar interface, easy to useLimited password protection optionsIncludedDesktop
SmallpdfSimple and easy to use interfaceLimited password protection optionsFree/PaidOnline
PDFsamFree and open-source softwareLimited password protection optionsFreeDesktop

#1 Password protection Using Adobe Acrobat

Adobe Acrobat is a powerful tool for creating, editing, and managing PDF files. One of its useful features is the ability to password protect a PDF file, which adds a layer of security and control to your document.

We will explain how to password protect a PDF file using Adobe Acrobat:

Step 1: Open the PDF file in Adobe Acrobat

Launch Adobe Acrobat and open the PDF file you want to protect. You can do this by clicking on the “File” menu, selecting “Open,” and then browsing to the location of the PDF file.

Step 2: Click on “Tools” tab

Click on the “Tools” tab in the top menu bar. This will open a toolbar with a range of functions.

Step 3: Select “Protect” option

In the Protect toolbar, click on “Protect.” This will bring up a range of protection options.

Step 4: Select “Encrypt PDF” option

Select “Encrypt PDF” option to password protect your PDF.

Step 5: Check the box next to “Require a password to open the document.”

Check the box next to “Require a password to open the document.” This will prompt the user to enter a password before they can open the PDF file.

Step 6: Enter password

Enter a password in the “Document Open Password” field. Make sure to choose a strong password that is not easy to guess. A strong password should be at least eight characters long, contain a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

Step 7: Confirm password

Confirm the password in the “Confirm Password” field. This ensures that you have entered the correct password.

Step 8: Set Permissions

Optionally, you can also set permissions for the document, such as preventing printing or editing. To set permissions, check the box next to “Restrict editing and printing of the document.” Then select the permissions you want to apply.

Step 9: Save the PDF file

Once you have set the password and permissions, click “OK” to apply the password protection to the PDF file. Save the PDF file by clicking on “File” and then “Save” or “Save As.”

PDF

Password protecting a PDF file using Adobe Acrobat is a simple and effective way to control access to your documents. By following the above steps, you can easily password protect a PDF file and ensure that your sensitive information remains secure. Remember to choose a strong password and keep it in a secure place.

#2 Password protection Using Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word is a widely used word processing software that can be used to create and edit various types of documents, including PDF files. While Word does not provide native support for password protecting PDF files, you can still use it to create a password protected PDF file by using the “Save as PDF” feature and a third-party PDF tool.

How to password protect a PDF file using Microsoft Word:

Step 1: Create your document in Microsoft Word

Create the document you want to save as a password-protected PDF file in Microsoft Word. Make sure to include any images, graphs, or other elements you want to appear in the final PDF document.

Step 2: Save the document as a PDF file

To save the document as a PDF file, click on “File” in the top menu bar and select “Save As.” In the “Save As” dialog box, choose “PDF” from the “Save as type” drop-down menu. Give the PDF file a name and choose a location to save it to. Click “Save” to save the PDF file.

Step 3: Use a third-party PDF tool to password protect the PDF file

While Word does not offer native support for password protecting PDF files, you can use a third-party PDF tool to add a password to the PDF file. There are many PDF tools available online that can help you password protect your PDF file. Some popular options include Adobe Acrobat, Smallpdf, and PDFMate.

Step 4: Upload the PDF file to the PDF tool

Upload the PDF file you created in Word to the PDF tool you selected. This can typically be done by clicking “Choose File” or a similar button and selecting the PDF file from your computer.

Step 5: Add a password to the PDF file

Once the PDF file is uploaded, you can add a password to the file by selecting the appropriate option in the PDF tool. Depending on the tool you are using, you may be prompted to set a password for opening the file or for making changes to the file. Follow the prompts and enter the desired password.

Step 6: Save the password-protected PDF file

After adding a password to the PDF file, save the file by clicking on “Save” or “Download” in the PDF tool. The file will now be saved as a password-protected PDF file, and anyone who wants to view or edit the file will need to enter the password you set.

Password protection

#3 Password protection Using Smallpdf

Smallpdf is an online PDF tool that offers a variety of features, including the ability to password protect PDF files.

This tool is user-friendly and requires no installation or download.

How to password protect a PDF file using Smallpdf:

Step 1: Open Smallpdf in your web browser

Navigate to the Smallpdf website in your web browser. Smallpdf is a free tool, but some of its features may require a paid subscription.

Step 2: Upload the PDF file you want to password protect

Once you are on the Smallpdf website, click on the “Protect PDF” option from the list of available tools. You will be directed to a new page where you can upload your PDF file. Click on the “Choose Files” button to select the file from your computer. You can also drag and drop the file into the upload box.

Step 3: Enter a password for the PDF file

After uploading your PDF file, Smallpdf will prompt you to enter a password for the file. You can choose to set a password for opening the file, making changes to the file, or both. Enter the desired password(s) in the appropriate fields.

Step 4: Save the password-protected PDF file

Once you have set your password(s), click on the “Encrypt PDF” button to create a password-protected PDF file. Smallpdf will process the file and create a new password-protected PDF file. You can download the file by clicking on the “Download” button.

Step 5: Verify the password protection

Before sharing the password-protected PDF file, verify that the password protection has been applied correctly. Open the file using your preferred PDF reader software and try to make changes or view the file without entering the password. If the file is password protected correctly, you should be prompted to enter the password before being able to make any changes or view the contents of the file.

password-protected PDF file

Smallpdf is a user-friendly and effective tool for password protecting PDF files.
Remember to choose a strong password and keep it in a secure place. Additionally, be aware that while password protection is a good first step in securing your PDF files, it is not foolproof and there are other security measures you may want to consider, such as encryption or digital signatures.

If you want to know more about how to sign a PDF file, you can read about it in our previous blog article.

Password protect

#4 Password protection Using PDFsam

PDFsam is a free, open-source software application that allows users to manipulate PDF documents. Among its many features, it also allows users to password protect their PDFs to prevent unauthorized access. Note that password-protection is only available in the paid version.

How to password protect a PDF using PDFsam:

Step 1: Download and Install PDFsam


The first step is to download and install PDFsam on your computer. PDFsam is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems.

Step 2: Launch PDFsam and select “Secure”

Once you have installed PDFsam, launch the application, and select “Secure” from the main menu.

Step 3: Add the PDF you want to password protect

Click the “Add” button and select the PDF you want to password protect. You can also drag and drop the file into the PDFsam window.

Step 4: Set the password for the PDF

Under the “Secure” tab, you will see an option for “Password.” Click on it and select “Open Password” or “Permission Password” depending on the type of password protection you want to set. An open password requires users to enter a password to open the PDF, while a permission password restricts certain actions such as printing, editing, or copying.

Step 5: Choose the password settings

Set the password settings according to your preference. For an open password, you will need to enter a password in the “User Password” field. For a permission password, you can choose which actions to restrict by checking the corresponding boxes. You will also need to enter a password in the “Master Password” field.

Step 6: Merge the PDF

Once you have set the password settings, click on the “Save” button to set the password protection. The new password-protected PDF will be saved in the location of your choice.

PDFsam is a tool that allows users to easily password protect their PDFs. With just a few simple steps, you can set a password to prevent unauthorized access to your sensitive documents. Whether you need to protect confidential business information or personal data, PDFsam is an excellent choice for securing your PDFs.

PDFsam

Conclusion

In summary, each of these methods has its own strengths and weaknesses, and the right method for password protecting your PDFs depends on your individual needs and preferences. Adobe Acrobat offers advanced password settings but can be expensive and require a software download. Microsoft Word and Smallpdf offer easy-to-use interfaces but have limited password protection options. PDFsam is a free and open-source software with basic password protection options. It is important to consider factors such as cost, accessibility, and security needs when choosing a method for password protecting your PDFs.

Adobe Acrobat:

  • Pros: Offers advanced password settings, including encryption strength and permissions for specific users or groups.
  • Cons: Expensive, requires software download, and may have a steep learning curve for novice users.
  • Cost: Expensive, with prices ranging from $15-$25 per month or a one-time purchase of $449.
  • Accessibility: Desktop software that can only be accessed from the computer it is installed on.

Microsoft Word:

  • Pros: Familiar interface for most users, easy to use for basic password protection.
  • Cons: Limited password protection options and may not be sufficient for high-security needs.
  • Cost: Included in most Microsoft Office packages, with prices ranging from $69.99-$149.99 per year.
  • Accessibility: Desktop software that can only be accessed from the computer it is installed on.

Smallpdf:

  • Pros: Simple and easy-to-use interface for password protection, with additional features like file compression and conversion.
  • Cons: Limited password protection options in the free version and may not be sufficient for high-security needs.
  • Cost: Free version available with limited password protection options, paid plans range from $6-$12 per month or $108-$144 per year.
  • Accessibility: Online tool accessible from any device with an internet connection.

PDFsam:

  • Pros: Free and open-source software with basic password protection options.
  • Cons: Limited password protection options and may not be sufficient for high-security needs.
  • Cost: Free to download and use.
  • Accessibility: Desktop software that can only be accessed from the computer it is installed on.

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