I have a secured PDF document that allows printing but not saving.

So printing to a real printer will work but using a PDF printer to save it won’t work.

Is there a way to fool Acrobat Reader to think I’m a printing to a printer but actually using a virtual printer that enables me to save the file as a PDF?

  • Can't use a unlocker tool as this is a PDF that in need to login
  • Can't copy the text to a another document as there is a restriction that prevent copy
  • Again, I know I can't save, just looking for a virtual printer that works around, I'm using pdfwriter that works fine for "printsaving" PDF for everything else, just it doesn't work in adobe as it won't allow any saving prompt after you click "print".

4 Answers 4


There are websites that will remove the security from a PDF for you, e.g. http://www.pdfunlock.com/.

  • 5
    @MikeScott Absolutely nothing in the world sounds safer and risk-free than taking a protected PDF and uploading it to a fly-by-night website run by who knows who so they can “help you” unlock the document. Dec 8, 2014 at 21:35
  • @JakeGould any idea what could go wrong if you use a service like this to unlock a publicly available pdf file before filling out the forms?
    – bers
    Oct 6, 2017 at 7:05
  • @bers If it is a “publicly available” PDF file, I don’t know if there is any risk since the file is public already. Oct 6, 2017 at 16:34
  • @JakeGould great, I agree. So I guess we both think that MikeScott's answer may not be that bad after all 😎
    – bers
    Oct 6, 2017 at 20:17

No, it is not possible for you to save the PDF by using “Save PDF” print option because it is a secured file.

But you can try the follow three options, may work for you:

  1. If you are able to open the file, then copy all the content of the file and create your own pdf file.
  2. Install Foxit Reader and try opening the document and take a print from there.
  3. Or, use "Microsoft XPS Document Writer" instead of 'Save PDF". This works only if you have installed Microsoft Office suite.

Hope this helps.

  • Regarding your option 3, the MS XPS Document Writer is available in Windows Vista and later, and can be downloaded for XP: Microsoft XPS Document Writer (MXDW). Dec 8, 2014 at 18:51
  • I've had success before with printing a secured PDT to the XPS Document Writer, then converting it back to PDF from XPS using Adobe Acrobat.
    – nhinkle
    Dec 8, 2014 at 19:45

As wbeard52 suggest, you could try a virtual printer driver, I'm used to Ricoh Print&Share, but any other would normally also work. (I'm affiliated with the product)

  • You're recommending this product at a rate that suggests spam. It's a commercial product that people would need to jump through hoops to purchase, and the 30 day trial is watermarked. There are plenty of free PDF printers so if one will work for this requirement (which the OP says is problematic), there would be no reason to use this product. If you're not spamming, please be more judicious in your recommendations. Thanks.
    – fixer1234
    Nov 9, 2015 at 19:46
  • @fixer1234 I'm answering questions on a topic and after answering i click the Related topics. Some questions don't even have an answer that I provide and some don't have an accepted answer. I'm just sharing my experience with the application that I have here and trying to provide a solution for their question. I'll keep it in mind to add more alternatives in future comments or answers. I'm even busy taking screenshots trying to give a decent answer on some questions.
    – juFo
    Nov 9, 2015 at 19:49

There are quite a few PDF printers available that will emulate a real printer.

Try CutePDF Printer. It has always worked for me.

  • 1
    This printer does not work for me with a FileOpen secured PDF.
    – lblb
    Nov 29, 2017 at 11:15

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