How to Unlock a Secure PDF File
This wikiHow teaches you how to view or print a password-protected PDF file's contents. There are two types of secure PDFs: user-locked, which means you need a password to view the contents, and owner-locked, which means you need a password to copy, print, or otherwise modify the PDF's contents. While unlocking a user-locked PDF without the password is impossible, you can unlock an owner-locked PDF for which you've forgotten the password from within Google Chrome. If you want to remove a known user password from a PDF, Google Chrome will also work, or you can use either Soda PDF or Adobe Acrobat Pro.
Part 1Using Google Chrome
Google Chrome is the only browser in which you can use the "Print" feature to remove the owner password from your PDF.
Go to in your computer's web browser. This will open your Google Drive page if you're logged into your Google account. If you aren't already logged into your Google account, you'll need to click Go to Drive and then enter your email address and password.
This will add the file to Google Drive. You can also click New in the top right corner of the Google Drive Window, click File Upload, select your PDF, and click OK to upload it.
Doing this will open the PDF inside of Google Chrome. If your PDF is user-locked, you'll need to enter a password and click Submit to view its contents.
Once the PDF opens, press either Ctrl+P (Windows) or ⌘ Command+P (Mac). You should see a "Print" window pop up.
This option is beneath the "Destination" heading on the left side of Chrome. A menu will appear.
This option is under the "Local Options" heading in the "Select a Destination" menu.
It's in the top-left corner of the window. Doing so will download the PDF to your computer as an unsecure file; you should now be able to print, edit, and copy text from the PDF. You may have to select a save location before your file properly downloads.
Part 2Using Soda PDF for a User Password
Go to in your computer's web browser.
It's a green button on the right side of the page. Doing so prompts a File Explorer (Windows) or Finder (Mac) window to open.
In the window that opens, go to the location in which your PDF is stored, then click the PDF once to select it.
It's in the bottom-right corner of the window. Doing so uploads your selected PDF to Soda PDF.
In the text box which appears, type in the password used to unlock the PDF. If you don't know the user password, you cannot unlock the PDF.
This green button is below the password text box. Soda PDF will remove the encryption from the PDF.
It's on the right side of the page. Doing so will prompt the unlocked PDF to download onto your computer, where you'll be able to open it without entering a password. Depending on your browser's settings, you may have to select a save location or confirm the download before the PDF will download.
Part 3Using Adobe Acrobat for a User Password
This is the paid version of Adobe Acrobat; if you only have the Adobe Acrobat Reader, you won't be able to unlock your PDF with this method.
This option is in the top-left corner of the window (or the screen on a Mac). Clicking it prompts a drop-down menu. Alternatively, if your PDF reader has a "Recently Viewed" tab, you can check there to see if the PDF you need is displayed.
If you elected to look for the PDF in the "Recently Viewed" section, skip this step.
Doing so will prompt the PDF to open in Adobe Acrobat. You may have to select a new directory (e.g., Desktop or Documents) first to locate the PDF in question.
Type in the password needed to unlock the PDF, then click OK. If you don't know the user password, you cannot unlock the PDF.
It's on the left side of the screen beneath the "Home" tab.
This is a link below the "Security Settings" heading.
It will say something like "Password Security".
This should be an option in the drop-down menu that appears.
Type in the PDF's password, then click OK twice. As long as your password was correct, your PDF will no longer have a password lock on it.