How to Password Protect a PDF

If you’ve got a confidential document (financial statements, passwords, trade secrets, etc.), it’s only natural that it’s not for everyone to see or use it without your permission. You can secure your document by password protecting your Pdf.

PDF files are meant to be private and you can enhance their privacy by securing them with a password. Learn how to password protect a Pdf file via online software, Acrobat Reader, and how to restrict its printing, editing, and copying.

If you’re creating a PDF file, you can password protect a PDF document through online software. Here’s the normal process:

  1. Drag and drop your PDF to a toolbox on the website.
  2. Enter the password you'd like to set.
  3. Click 'Encrypt PDF' to add the password to the PDF.
  4. Download your encrypted PDF file.

Go through this guide and you'll find it useful for pdfs encryption

What is Pdf?

PDF stands for Portable Document Format. Developed by Adobe in the 1990s, the file format is used to present documents, including text formatting and images.
The user-friendly, downloadable file format works across all systems, making it a highly preferred format when it comes to sharing presentations and other official documents.
The digital age has replaced paper documents with digital formats which easily get leaked or hacked, making it critical that they are secured.
Fortunately, PDFs have password-protected encryption built directly into the format. It doesn’t matter if you’re running Windows or macOS, you have the option to password protect a PDF file.
The reason for password protecting a PDF file is to eliminate any chances of duplication and unwanted eyes viewing/editing the document.


Basics about Passwords Everyone Should know

When you’re creating a PDF file, you can limit its access by setting a password and restricting certain features, such as printing and editing.
Keep in mind that you cannot prevent others from saving a copy of your PDF file. Rest assured that the saved copies will have the same restrictions as the original PDF. When setting up a password on PDF, you’ll come across two types:

  1. Document open password
    Also referred to as a user password, it requires a user to type a password when opening a PDF file.
  2. Permissions password
    Also known as a master password, this requires a password when changing the permission settings. With a permissions password, you can restrict printing, editing, and copying content in the PDF.
    If a PDF file is secured with both types of passwords, it can be opened with either password. However, only the permissions password allows the user to change the restricted features. Because of the added security, setting both types of passwords is often beneficial.

Protect your PDFs Using Adobe Acrobat Reader

Here’s how you can protect your PDF format using Adobe Acrobat Reader.

  1. Head over to the main Adobe Acrobat Pro DC free trial page. Once there, click the blue Get Started button.
    To move forward, you’ll need to sign up for an Adobe Creative Cloud account, which involves providing your name and email address, as well as setting a new password.
    Note: If you’ve already subscribed to Adobe Acrobat Pro DC and have the software installed on your system, skip to step 4.
    You’ll also have to input a payment method so that Adobe can charge you after the trial period — be sure to cancel prior to the indicated date if you don’t want to keep up the subscription.
    Once all that information is input, click the Sign-up button at the bottom of the forms. From there, the download will begin.
  2. If you’re new to Adobe Acrobat Reader, you’ll need to install the DC Pro version.
  3. Once Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is launched, click the Filemenu in the upper-left corner, and select Open. Choose the PDF file you want to password protect from its respective save location and click the Open button.
  4. Click the File menu again when viewing the open document, followed by Properties, and then click the Security tab.
  5. Click the drop-down menu beside Security Method, then select Password Security from the list of options.
  6. A window should appear prompting you for a password. Check the box beside Require a password to open the document and enter your desired password in the corresponding text field.
    Ensure that you choose a unique password and not a password you’ve been using it for a different website.

How to Restrict Editing of a PDF

You can prevent users from editing PDFs. The restrict option prohibits users from editing text, moving objects, or adding form fields. Here’s how to restrict editing of a PDF:
Open the PDF in Acrobat DC, and do one of the following:

  1. Select File. Then choose Protect Using Password.
  2. Select Tools > Protect > Protect Using Password.
  3. If you receive a prompt, click. Yes .to change the security.
  4. Choose Editing, and then type and retype your password. The password strength is displayed next to your password to indicate whether the chosen password is weak, medium, or strong.
  5. Click Apply. Acrobat displays a confirmation message that the file was successfully protected using a password.

How to restrict printing, editing, and copying

There’s a method to prevent users from printing, editing, or copying content in a PDF. You have the ability to set restrictions on a PDF. Once you’ve set a password, users won’t be able to change these restrictions unless you give them the password.
To open a restricted PDF, the user must enter the permissions password. Here’s the usual process:

  1. Open the PDF in Acrobat DC, and do one of the following:
    • Choose Tools > Protect > More Options > Encrypt with Password.
    • Choose File > Protect Using Password, and then choose Advanced Password Protection from More Options.
  2. If you receive a prompt, click Yes to change the security.
  3. Select Restrict Editing And Printing of The Document.
  4. Type the password in the field. The password strength meter will assess your password and specify its password strength.
  5. Select what the user can print from the Printing Allowed menu:
    None – Prevents users from printing the document.
  6. Select what the user can change from the Changes Allowed menu:
    • None
    • Inserting, Deleting, and Rotating Pages – Allows users to insert, delete, and rotate pages, and create bookmarks and thumbnails. This option comes with high (128 bit RC4 or AES) encryption.
    • Filling in Form Fields and Signing Existing Signature Fields – Allows users to fill in forms and add digital signatures. This option is only available for high (128 bit RC4 or AES) encryption.
    • Commenting, Filling in Form Fields, and Signing Existing Signature Fields – Allows users to add comments and digital signatures, and fill in forms.
    • Encrypt All Document Contents – Encrypts the PDF and its metadata. If you select this option, search engines won’t be able to access the document’s metadata.
    • Encrypt All Document Contents except Metadata – This option encrypts the contents of a document but allows the search engines to access the document’s metadata.
    • Encrypt Only File Attachments – This option requires a password to open all file attachments. However, users can still open the document without a password.
    • When confirming the password, you’ll be prompted with the message, just Click OK.


Remove password security

If you wish to remove password security from an open PDF, you can do so if you have the permission. Here’s the process to remove password security:

  1. Open the PDF, select Tools > Protect > More Options > Remove Security.
  2. Options may vary depending on the type of password security set to the PDF:
    • If there’s only a Document Open password, click OK to remove it from the PDF.
    • If the PDF has a permissions password, you’ll need to first type it in the Enter Password box.
    • Once that is done, click OK. Click OK again, confirming your choice.


Securely Share Files Online

By ensuring the utmost security of your PDF file, you eliminate the chances of eavesdropping. If a PDF file is password protected, you can share it online without worrying about the file landing into the wrong hands. If a file isn't password-protected, you risk your private data being exposed to unintended recipients, making online privacy of eminent importance.
When choosing a password to secure your PDF file or any other internet account for that matter, opt for a strong password. Strong passwords consist of alphanumeric characters which make it difficult for the intruder to guess. Use a reliable password generator to come up with a robust password.


Want to reclaim your online privacy? You might want to check below guides:

How to Password Protect a PDF