How to Print a Secure Pdf

There are two types of protection for PDF files: one, called user password, which prohibits the opening of documents if you do not enter the right password and a lighter one, called owner password, which allows you to view PDF content but not edit or print it. If you are currently dealing with an owner password protected PDF and you are desperate because you do not know how to print its contents, know that you have come to the right place at the right time.

Today, in fact, I want to introduce you to some excellent free solutions that allow you to remove owner passwords from PDFs in a very simple way. The solutions in question are both online and offline, so they are both classic software to be installed on the PC and online services that work directly from the browser, and they are all extremely easy to use. Another important thing to underline is that they all preserve the original content of the documents, so they do not modify the texts, they do not insert watermarks and they do not alter the unlocked PDFs in other ways.

So what about you? You are ready to take action and find out how to print a secure PDF? Come on, take five minutes of free time, choose one of the software or online services that I am about to recommend and find out how to use it thanks to the instructions you find below. I bet you will be amazed by the simplicity with which you can do everything!

Online Services to Print a Secure PDF

If you are interested in understanding how to print a secure PDF without downloading new programs to your PC, you can rely on gods online services fit for purpose.

Web services are much more convenient than software, but they have two problems: they have gods upload limits (therefore they do not allow you to process files larger than a certain amount of MB) and do not allow you to have a direct control on documents uploaded to their servers. The managers of these services promise the deletion of the files uploaded to their servers within a few hours of uploading, but we cannot know if the promises are actually kept (we must trust them).

In this regard, I do not recommend using online solutions - and more generally, solutions over which you cannot have direct control - if you need to unlock PDFs that contain credit card numbers, personal information and other sensitive data. For the most important documents, turn to offline solutions, even better if open source (therefore verifiable by third parties) and reliable.

Having made this necessary clarification, let's ban the chatter and see how to print a password protected PDF with some of the best web tools fit for purpose. I assure you that it really is a breeze!


iLovePDF is a service that allows you to edit PDFs in various ways and among its many features also offers the unlocking of documents protected against printing (and / or modifications). In its basic version, free and without registration, it allows you to unlock files with an upload limit of 100MB. To get around this limitation, you need to switch to one of the paid plans (with costs starting from 6 euros / month), which allow you to upload files with a maximum weight of 1 GB and to unlock other extra features.

To unlock a PDF with iLovePDF, connect to the service using the link I just provided and drag the document to unlock into the browser window (or select it "manually" by clicking on the button Select PDF file). Then click on the button Unlock PDF and wait a few seconds for the unlocked PDF to be automatically downloaded to your PC.

If you want, by clicking on the appropriate buttons, you can also import documents from dropbox, Google Drive or other cloud storage services.


Online2PDF is another online service that I recommend you consider to print a secure PDF. Perhaps it is slightly less intuitive than iLovePDF, but this mainly concerns the conversion and modification functions of documents: for the removal of the owner password it is as simple to use as the other services examined above. Then it's free, without registration and allows you to process up to 20 files at a time for a total weight of 100MB (50MB if you unlock a single file).

To remove the protection against printing from a PDF with Online2PDF, linked to the home page of the latter and drag the file to be unlocked on the button Select files (or click on the latter and select the file to be unlocked "manually"). At this point, click on the button Converted, wait a few seconds and the unlocked PDFs will be downloaded to your PC within a few seconds.

Programs to Print a Secure PDF

Do you need to unlock PDFs that are very heavy and / or that include sensitive information? Then I advise you to turn to offline solutions. Below, therefore, you will find listed some programs that might be right for you and, more importantly, you can find out how to print a secure PDF using them.

QPDF (Windows / MacOS / Linux)

The first software I recommend you try to print a secure PDF is QPDF, which is compatible with Windows, macOS and Linux. It only works from the command line, it does not have a graphical interface, but I assure you that it is much easier to use than you imagine.

To download it to your PC, if you are using Windows, linked to the SourceForge page that hosts it and select the version of the program that best suits the operating system you use: (if you are using a 64-bit version of Windows) or (use a 32-bit version of Windows).

It was used MacOS, to download QPDF you need to get the package manager Homebrew (which is completely free and open source) and install the software through it. Fortunately, everything is done with two simple commands to be given in the terminal macOS (which, if you don't know, is in the Other from the launchpad).

  • / usr / bin / ruby ​​-e "$ (curl -fsSL" to install Homebrew (you will be prompted for your user account password on macOS).
  • brew install qpdf to install QPDF.

You are now ready to take action. So let's see what needs to be done to remove protection from a PDF with QPDF per Windows.

  • Open the zip package that contains QPDF (ex. and extract the contents into any folder;
  • Open the folder where you extracted QPDF, hold down the button Shift on the keyboard and right click on the folder bin;
  • Select the item Open command window here from the menu that appears in order to open the Command Prompt and direct the latter to the folder containing QPDF;
  • Give the command qpdf --decrypt input.pdf output.pdf where instead of input.pdf you must enter the full path and name of the PDF file to be unlocked and in place of output.pdf you have to enter the full path and name of the PDF file you want to get as output (therefore the PDF in unlocked version).

If you want to do this first, you can also type the qpdf --decrypt command and drag the PDF you want to unlock into the Windows Prompt. This will automatically insert the path and file name into the command. To specify the name and path of the output PDF you can repeat the same operation by changing the name of the document (in this way the output file will be saved in the same folder as the original one).

If you are using a Mac, you can use QPDF by simply opening the terminal macOS and typing the command you see below.

  • qpdf --decrypt input.pdf output.pdf where instead of input.pdf you must enter the full path and name of the PDF to be unlocked and in place of output.pdf you have to enter the full path and name of the output PDF (therefore of the unlocked PDF).

Again, if you want to do this first, you can type the command qpdf --decrypt and drag the PDF to be unlocked into the macOS Terminal. This will automatically insert the path and file name into the command.

Portable PDF Unlocker (Windows)

Be vuoi scoprire how to print a locked PDF and QPDF seems a bit too difficult to use, come on Windows you can also contact Portable PDF Unlocker: a free program that, as the name suggests, does not require installation to run and allows you to easily remove owner passwords from PDFs.

To download it to your computer, connect to the SourceForge page that hosts it and click on the item Portable PDF Unlocker x86 x64 x.x.7z.

A download complete, apri il 7z package you just downloaded on your PC (if you don't know how to extract 7z files, consult the tutorial I wrote on the subject), extract the contents in any folder and start the executable Portable PDF Unlocker.exe.

Well: now you just have to take the PDF to unlock, drag it into the Portable PDF Unlocker window and wait a few seconds.

When the green progress bar reaches the end of its run (it should take a short while), you'll get an unlocked version of your PDF, which will have the suffix unpw.pdf in its name and will be saved in the same folder as the source PDF.