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I am trying to fill out some docs, but the provided PDFs are "SECURED", meaning I can't use FoxIt's typewriter tools.

Is there any way to remove the security?

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What I understand is that these pdfs are signed - in acrobat all you need to do is remove the signature and then they will be editable (as it would be invalid after editing). Suppose foxit will have a similar feature. –  bdecaf Sep 18 '13 at 9:48
I don't think so removing security is a type of question which should be allowed here. If it is secured, it must be for a reason. –  Firee Mar 4 '14 at 17:47

8 Answers 8

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I used to remove passwords in the past; don't know if that's the same.

But in any case, I cannot try it out on the machine I'm writing this from, since there is neither a PDF printer in here, nor any of the readers. So all this is on a best-of-wishes basis. Try some of the softwares mentioned here (link to forum dealing with the subject).

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Unfortunately that tool simply removes passwords. –  AngryHacker Aug 22 '10 at 17:46
@AngryHacker - what tool specifically? There are several mentioned there. –  ldigas Aug 22 '10 at 18:10
There are also some (as mentioned by #22 Guest_bi-ik_* ) ways mentioned of removing the "secured". –  ldigas Aug 22 '10 at 18:11
Hmmm, I'll give that a shot. Thank you. Interesting approach. –  AngryHacker Aug 22 '10 at 18:26
  1. Print to a PostScript (PS) printer (where the printer's port is set to print to file, not to the printer -- or check the "Print to file" option in the Print dialog)
  2. Edit the resulting .ps file and remove:

    mark currentfile eexec
  3. Save and distill the .ps file

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Works for me. I have scripted it here: andorian.blogspot.ie/2014/05/… –  Lmwangi May 19 '14 at 15:37
I've used this trick before, but now I don't remember how I managed to convert to .ps. :( –  Isaac Kleinman Oct 28 '14 at 21:16

Assuming it's simply a 'rights' (owner) password that restricts things like editing, printing, and copying (i.e. the password does not need to be entered to open the file) the following will remove the restrictions:

  1. Grab http://qpdf.sourceforge.net/
  2. Unzip/Install and navigate to the bin folder that holds qpdf.exe (or similar for your platform)
  3. Place the PDF you wish to work on in the same folder
  4. Run: qpdf -decrypt InputFile OutputFile (use "s if the file name has spaces).
  5. Do what you like with the OutputFile.

This won't work for Adobe Digital Editions, files with a user password (although if you know the password you may be able to use QPDF in the same way), and may have issues with digitally-signed files.

Some discussion on the background of these owner password restrictions at https://lwn.net/Articles/335415/ .

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Worked instantly. –  Chris Marisic Jul 30 '14 at 20:27


  1. From the full version of Acrobat (I used v9.3), select "File..Export..Postscript..Postscript". This creates a ".ps" file.
  2. Click on the .ps file, it converts it back to pdf automatically with Acrobat distiller.
  3. You now have a perfect copy of the original file, minus any signatures, restrictions on editing, etc.

I needed this technique fix the pdf file so it would display on my Kindle DX, via the "Advanced..Preflight" menu. This method worked perfectly on a file that had resisted all attempts by the four major utilities that offer to remove restrictions on pdf files (i.e. A-PDF, pdftk, Kernel PDF, UnrestrictPDF) .

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Nope, this didn't work for me... Got this error: This PostScript file was created from an encrypted PDF file. Redistilling encrypted PDF is not permitted. Looks like they caught up with this trick. –  Jon Apr 27 '12 at 13:03
This site unlocked a PDF for me. pdfunlock.com –  Jon Apr 27 '12 at 13:10

Analog conversion. Print and re-scan.

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Hmmmm ... even if you wanted to go that way, isn't it easier to just "Print to PDF" from the full version of Acrobat? However, this ruins the margins, so you get a perfect conversion if you export to Postscript, then reimport to pdf (see my answer below)? –  Contango Sep 3 '10 at 8:58
@gravitas That's only easier if you've paid for the full version of Acrobat, as the questioner is talking about FoxIt I'd assume they haven't got Acrobat Pro. –  GAThrawn Sep 3 '10 at 12:07

Removing user/open password is next to impossible, but if your PDF file is only protected with owner password, i.e., PDF print, edit, copy and other functions are disabled then there are several programs available to remove PDF security like the one mentioned in this article: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Remove-PDF-Password-Security-PrintEditCo/

Due to security and privacy reasons I would not recommend those online services where you’re supposed to upload your PDF documents to remove PDF security.

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In my case, there was a view password that maintained its state through save -- but print, etc. were not blocked. That left open the analog method, or print-to-PDF-printer, which is what I did. The resulting file lacked a password, and seemed to suffer no degradation.

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For Linux users, Thebozo Already answered this question here: http://superuser.com/a/367356/278746

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protected by nhinkle Jul 24 '11 at 19:50

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