I have a couple of ebooks as PDFs with passwords, however my ebook reader (sony prs600) doesn't seem to support PDFs with passwords. What is the easiest of removing the password from a PDF (I know the password, which presumably helps a lot). It's a bit annoying buying a book and then only being able to read it in front of a computer.

  • What did you finally use to remove the password? I was in similar situation except I forgot the permission password I used to protect my PDF's. Tried some of the solutions mentioned here but I couldn't remove the password. Somehow I managed to remove the password and the restrictions only from FEW PDF's by following the tips mentioned in this guide: techbii.com/remove-pdf-password-restriction
    – Sairana
    Feb 21 '17 at 12:15

With A-PDF Restrictions Remover, you can remove the password and other restrictions in a few seconds.

A-PDF Restrictions Remover is shareware ($10), try before you buy.

  • The trial version of this worked perfectly - I think I'll be registering ;-)
    – Alister
    Feb 17 '10 at 1:12
  • @Alister - if you work a lot with protected PDFs, it's well worth it :)
    – Molly7244
    Feb 17 '10 at 12:48
  • -1 Why pay, when there are free solutions available?
    – Sun
    Aug 22 '16 at 15:11


I tried the Win32 pdfclean binary for MuPDF 0.5: https://web.archive.org/web/20191119070425/https://mupdf.com/downloads/archive/mupdf-0.5-win32.zip

I was able to remove the password without having to know the source password.

pdfclean clean protected.pdf pdfwithnopassword.pdf

MuPDF, available for at least Windows and macOS (via Homebrew) has a free command line tool called mutool. I personally used it to remove the password on my American Express statement and merge all my separate PDF statements into one giant PDF. The command line is: mutool clean protected.pdf pdfnopassword.pdf

  • 1
    I found this the easiest. You don't need to install anything. No trial version. No nagging to buy something. It just works. Dec 27 '17 at 20:40
  • 3
    In 2017 this is an excellent free option. mupdf is available for OSX users via Homebrew as well. Jan 22 '18 at 15:14
  • 1
    This didn't work for me on the latest (1.14.0) version of mutool, the output file was still password protected. I then tried with an earlier version (1.3) and it stripped the password out, but I had to supply the password for the original. So ended up with mutool.exe clean -p "myPassword" protected.pdf I found 1.3 here
    – Matt
    Nov 7 '18 at 9:30
  • 3
    As of version 1.15.0 (which can be downloaded from here), password protection can be removed (assuming the password is available) with: mutool clean -p "myPassword" -D protected.pdf pdfnopassword.pdf. The -D flag is not currently documented, but was added in commit 60b13ad. @Matt
    – Tamir Evan
    May 23 '19 at 15:36
  • My comment wasn't to criticize your answer (I didn't down-vote it), but to bring new information, and was somewhat in response to Matt's comment.
    – Tamir Evan
    May 26 '19 at 1:36

You can try Easy Pdf Password Remover Free. Other alternatives are:

If none of the above worked for you, have a look at this page: 7 easy ways to unlock a PDF file.

NOTE: If you have Adobe Acrobat (not the free Acrobat Reader), you can remove the passwords from File > Document Security > Security Options by selecting No Security.

  • 1
    The Easy Pdf Password Remover Free only allows for passwords of 3 characters, and you can't specify a password. I couldn't get PDF Password Remover or Unlocker to work - they are both the same tool based on ghostscript or something.
    – Alister
    Dec 21 '09 at 23:03
  • 1
    I found that pdfunlock.com (from the 7 easy ways to unlock a PDF file) works pretty good, however it was sloooooooow.
    – Alister
    Feb 24 '10 at 7:58
  • 1
    PDF Unlocker worked like a charm!
    – Frankie
    Jul 10 '11 at 23:00
  • After a lot of searching, this one worked me. blog.rubypdf.com/pdfcrack Apr 12 '19 at 10:30

If you have access to a Mac (and Preview.app), you can try "File", "Print", "Save as PDF" or "File", "Save as" a PDF document.

This has removed the password on some documents for me. I don't know if these tips are applicable to Adobe Reader.

  • 1
    For Linux users I suggest they do this using Okular rather than Evince. Okular maintained text information in the process, while Evince failed to maintain that, or page orientation.
    – badp
    May 6 '12 at 18:11
  • This doesn't work anymore.
    – Tyilo
    Aug 15 '12 at 15:10
  • @Tyilo It does, for any Mac running 10.7 or earlier. It didn't stop working, you just upgraded to a newer software version since this answer was posted. On Mountain Lion, try Preview's File » Save…, File » Duplicate or File » Export….
    – Daniel Beck
    Aug 15 '12 at 15:13
  • File > Save, exports the file with all pages blank and the other two options, requires me to type the "owner" password although I only know the "user" password.
    – Tyilo
    Aug 15 '12 at 15:19
  • @Tyilo Please note that the question states the password (presumably owner password) is known. You don't know it, so this question — and therefore my answer — just don't apply to your situation.
    – Daniel Beck
    Aug 15 '12 at 16:33

You can use SysTools PDF Unlocker:

  • Microsoft Windows
  • non-gratis if you don't want the SysTools Watermark or need to process batch of PDF files

enter image description here

It allowed me to remove the security on a password-protected document (for which I knew the password) certified by Adobe EchoSign e-signature service, whereas Adobe Acrobate Pro XI wouldn't let me do it:

enter image description here

You cannot change security on this document because the document is signed or certified.

enter image description here

Trying to print the document also wasn't working:

%%[ ProductName: Distiller ]%%
This PostScript file was created from an encrypted PDF file.
Redistilling encrypted PDF is not permitted.
%%[ Flushing: rest of job (to end-of-file) will be ignored ]%%
%%[ Warning: PostScript error. No PDF file produced. ] %%

On GNU/Linux, use the qpdf utility:

qpdf --password=YOUR_PASSWORD_HERE --decrypt your_input.pdf your_output.pdf

this is also easy to automate with a shell script to decrypt multiple PDF files.

qpdf is available as a package on many/most GNU/Linux distributions. For example, on Debian/Ubuntu-based distributions, you would get it by running:

sudo apt install qpdf

Caveat: If you specify your password on the command-line, your shell may place it, as plain-text, in your command history file.

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