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I have a PDF that requires a password to view. I know what the password is. I frequently open this PDF to print it, and find entering the password each time incredibly annoying. How can I remove the password from the PDF?

Since I need to print it, simply taking a screenshot isn't a good solution.

I tried printing the file to a PDF, but Preview disables the "Save as PDF..." option in the print dialog.

disabled option

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5 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Nathaniel's answer inspired me decide to try File/Save As... in Preview, which let me save a copy of the PDF with no password.

Save As dialog

I'm surprised that it was that straightforward, but it worked.

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Doesn't work under 10.9, but then maybe it depends on the type of PDF. DavidThompson's solution worked, both Chrome and Firefox. –  what Nov 1 '13 at 23:23
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For those looking for a loop hole to save password protected PDF's in OS X 10.8.3 ... I found Opening the PDF in Chrome then Printing it to PDF using the Chrome dialog did the trick.

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Ohhh nice you can use the "Chrome" method in FireFox as well.. –  user235901 Jul 5 '13 at 9:14
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There's a command-line tool called qpdf that can remove the password encryption from your PDF files, even in cases where Preview won't let you save a copy of or export the PDF.

  1. Install MacPorts if you haven't already.
  2. Install qpdf on your system by typing the following in Terminal:

    sudo port install qpdf

  3. Once qpdf is installed, use it to decrypt the file by typing the following in Terminal:

    qpdf --decrypt --password=xxxxx encrypted-filename.pdf decrypted-filename.pdf

  4. Open decrypted-filename.pdf in Preview to verify that it worked!
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You would likely need Acrobat Pro to remove it, if you can open it, are you able to print it to PDF?

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Unfortunately, no. Preview grays out the "Save as PDF..." option in the Print dialog. –  Brant Bobby Feb 12 '11 at 2:56
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I did not find that Bobby Brant's solution worked on either 10.7.4 (the only 10.7 version I had available) or 10.8.2.

What I did find worked (most likely a loophole) was that I could export the file to TIFF (which created a massive 250MB file) and then print the tiff to PDF (which created an only slightly less awful 8MB file) --- all this from a 400kB original. Obviously the end result of this is a bitmap for each page, not a "real" pdf.

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