How to Remove Pdf Password

Documents in PDF format can be protected with two different types of passwords: the owner password which can prevent printing or modification of the files and the user password which completely blocks the viewing of the documents.

Today we will see how to remove PDF password in both cases, but there is an important clarification before starting: the owner passwords are very simple to remove, you can even rely on Web services that do all the work in a few seconds; user passwords, on the other hand, can only be overcome with the brute forcing technique, ie by trying all possible combinations of characters until the right one is found. And this is an operation that takes a lot of time and computing power to complete.

Furthermore, I remind you that unlocking a document of which you are not the legitimate owner (or which in any case you are not authorized to view / modify) can constitute a crime. I do not take any responsibility for the use you will make of the information reported in this post, understood? Well, having made these necessary premises, let's get to work and see how to unlock password-protected PDF documents.

▶ ︎How to remove PDF owner password | How to remove PDF user password

How to Remove PDF Owner Password

If you want to unlock a PDF document protected against printing, editing or text selection, you can rely on free solutions that allow you to get the desired result in just a few seconds.

The simplest solutions to use are those online, which are accessible directly from the browser and do not require the installation of programs on the PC. However, if you have to deal with files that contain sensitive information (e.g. credit card numbers, personal data, etc.) I suggest you waste a few more minutes and use offline solutions, which are slightly more difficult to use but ensure a greater degree of privacy (as the user has direct control over them and do not require uploading PDFs to be unlocked on remote servers). All clear? Well, then let's roll up our sleeves and see how to remove PDF password using some of these solutions.

Online2PDF (Online)

The first Web service that I recommend you try is Online2PDF which allows you to process a maximum number of 20 files for a total weight of 100MB. How does it work? Nothing easier. Connect to its home page, drag the PDFs to unlock on the button Select files and click on the button Convert.

The “smooth” PDFs will be downloaded to your computer within seconds. Furthermore, to protect your privacy, the files you uploaded to Online2PDF's servers will be automatically deleted at the end of processing.

Please note: if you remove the protection from a PDF file that contains fillable fields, they will no longer be fillable in the output document.

iLovePDF (Online)

In the context of online services, I suggest you also take a look at iLovePDF, which is as effective as Online2PDF and also preserves the privacy of users by deleting the files that are uploaded to its servers a few hours after upload.

To unlock a document with iLovePDF, connect to the site using the link I just provided, drag the PDF to unlock into the browser window (you can only process one file at a time) and press the button Unlock PDF. The unlocked document will be automatically downloaded to your PC. Fillable documents are kept as such.

QPDF (Windows/Mac/Linux)

If you need to unlock PDFs that contain private information, try QPDF: it is a free and open source software that allows you to remove the owner password from PDF files in a few seconds. It's available for Windows, macOS, and Linux, but sadly it only works from the command line, so it doesn't have a graphical interface to interact with.

That said, if you use a Windows PC and want to try QPDF, connect to the SourceForge page that hosts the software and click on the item qpdf-6.0.0-bin-mingw64.zip a 64 bit operating system was used oppure sulla voce qpdf-6.0.0-bin-mingw32.zip if you are using a 32-bit operating system. Once the download is complete, open the zip package that contains QPDF and extract the contents to a folder of your choice.

If you use a Poppy, to install QPDF you need to get the package manager Homebrew (another completely free open source software) and you need to download QPDF via the latter. Fortunately, you can do it all with two simple commands to be given in the terminal say macOS.

  • / usr / bin / ruby ​​-e "$ (curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)" to install Homebrew. You will be asked to type the password of your user account on macOS.
  • brew install qpdf to install QPDF. You will be asked to type the password of your user account on macOS.

Now you can take action! If you have a Windows PC, open the folder where you extracted QPDF, hold down the key Shift on the keyboard, right click on the folder bin and select the item Open command window here from the menu that appears. When you open the Command Prompt, give the following command.

  • 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 instead of output.pdf you must type the full path and name of the "smooth" PDF to be get as a final result.

If you want to do this first, you can also type the command qpdf --decrypt and copy the PDF to be unlocked in the Command Prompt: its path will be automatically indicated in the Prompt.

If you are using a Mac, you need to open the terminal (located in the Other of the Launchpad if you do not know) and use the same command seen above on Windows.

  • 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 instead of output.pdf you must type the full path and name of the "smooth" PDF to be get as a final result.

How to Remove PDF User Password

Removing the password from an access-protected PDF document is quite complex, but not impossible. To attempt the enterprise you can rely on PDFCrack: a free and open source software available for Windows, macOS and Linux that works from the command line (so it doesn't have a graphical interface) and in my tests it proved to be quite effective. Of course, the longer and more complex the password to discover, the more difficult it becomes to find it, but trying doesn't hurt. If you agree, then, let's not get lost in chat further and let's find out how to use PDFCrack.

Windows

To download PDFCrack on Windows, connected to the program's website and click on the item Download located in the right sidebar. Then open the zip archive that contains the software and extract the contents to any folder.

At this point, hold down the button Shift on the keyboard, right click on the folder where you extracted the program files and select the item Open command window here give the menu to compare.

The Command Prompt will open, in which you will have to give the following command to find the password of your document.

  • pdfcrack file.pdf where instead of file.pdf you have to type the path and the full name of the document to be unlocked.

If PDFCrack does not recognize the file and the message "[file name] not found" appears, take the PDF to be unlocked, copy it to the folder where you extracted PDFCrack and give the command pdfcrack file.pdf where instead of file.pdf you have to type just the file name (without path). If the file name contains spaces, put it in quotes (eg pdfcrack "file name.pdf".

If PDFCrack can find the keyword, it will notify you with the message found user-password followed by the password required to view the PDF content.

Poppy

If you use a Mac, download PDFCrack on your computer by connecting to this website and clicking on the link next to the item Looking for the latest version. Then open the tar.gz archive that contains the software, extract the contents in any folder, open the terminal macOS (located in the Other Launchpad) and give the following commands to compile the program.

  • cd [path where you extracted PDFCrack]
  • make -f makefile

When completed, open a new window of the terminal and type [path where you extracted PDFCrack] / pdfcrack -u [path and name of the PDF to be unlocked] to start searching for the document password.

If you want to simplify your work, give the command [path where you extracted PDFCrack] / pdfcrack -u and drag the PDF file to be unlocked into the Terminal window. This will automatically write the file path to the command. If PDFCrack cannot find the PDF to unlock, take the document, copy it to the folder where you extracted PDFCrack and use the command [path where you extracted PDFCrack] / pdfcrack -u "file name.pdf" to start the search for the document password.

If successful, the message will appear in the macOS Terminal found user-password followed by the password required to view the PDF content.