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How To Encrypt Or Password Protect A PDF File Before Sharing

May 23, 2022

PDF is a blessing for everyone who struggles with formatting. In addition to locking your files into your desired format, its main advantage is that just about anyone can view or open the document as long as they have an internet browser. 

However, this means that your files are at risk of being vulnerable, and if they contain any sensitive information, then it's no-brainer that you need a password to secure them. 

That’s exactly what we’ll cover below here.

We’ll cover almost all the grounds from various OS systems to online sources, and free to paid software. Keep reading to find out ways in which you can password protect and encrypt your sensitive PDF documents easily within a few simple steps. 

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • Why Password Protect PDF Files And Documents?
  • How To Password Protect A PDF On Windows?
  • How To Password Protect A PDF File In Adobe Acrobat?
  • How To Password Protect A PDF File On Mac With Preview?
  • How To Add Password Protection To A PDF File Online?
  • How To Remove A Password Protection From a PDF?

Why Password Protect PDF Files And Documents?

If you don’t want your sensitive information hacked, or precious original work copied, then password-protecting your PDFs is the way to go. 

It only requires a few simple steps, could be done online or offline, and doesn’t require a single penny.

Before we dive into ways in which you can achieve this, let’s have a look at why it’s important to protect and encrypt your PDF documents in the first place:

Confidentiality: PDF documents often contain confidential information. Which if hacked, could not only have a negative impact on your business but could also lead to the compromising of your users’ information via privacy breach. Therefore, having your PDFs password protected is essential for protecting them against hackers, phishing, wrong recipients, and scams.

Documents’ Management: Most the password protection software and tools provide you with the option of placing passwords on viewing and editing. This provides you control over who can view or edit your documents. In today’s virtual world, where everything is online, it is essential to share information, but not everyone wants that information to be edited. Therefore, having control over who gets the editable version and who gets the viewable version of a PDF provides you with better documents management. 

Protection of Original Work: PDFs are a great source to lock your formatting but leaving them around with your original work without any password isn’t wise. After all, anyone can copy-paste it by simply pressing CTRL C and CTRL V or download it in two clicks. To take it a step further, you can even watermark your PDF to show proof of authenticity.

Now, let’s cover the practical steps on how to protect your PDF documents.

How To Password Protect A PDF On Windows?

Windows don’t offer its own PDF protection editor to secure the files of the owner from getting into the hands of hackers. 

But there are external software that can do the task. 

Such as Adobe Acrobat (see below), or other third-party PDF management software.

Here’s one way to password protect a PDF file on Windows with EaseUS PDF Editor.

Step 1: Download and Install EaseUS PDF

Once you’ve downloaded EaseUS PDF, click on ‘File’, and then ‘Open’. Navigate to the file that you want to password protect and click ‘Open’.

open a pdf file with EaseUs editor

Step 2: Encrypt the PDF with a password

Now, click on ‘Protection’ in the top toolbar. On clicking it, a sidebar will appear, select ‘Encrypt with Password’.

encrypt your documents with a password

Step 3: Choose a secure password for your document.

The following window will open where you will be asked to enter the password for the protection of the file. Choose a secure password with a mixture of alphabets, numbers, and special characters for maximum protection. 

Click on ‘Ok’, you have successfully protected your PDF.

choose a secure password and add it to your document, it'll be requires when you open it

How To Password Protect A PDF File In Adobe Acrobat?

Adobe Acrobat can help you in imposing an extra layer of protection on your documents that contain important and sensitive information. 

However, this feature is NOT available in the free version, you’ll require the paid Adobe Acrobat DC

Here’s how you can use Adobe to add password encryption to your PDF document.

Step 1: Open your PDF in Adobe

Begin by opening the PDF you want to protect with a password in Adobe Acrobat. 

If Adobe is set as your default PDF viewer, then the PDF will open directly in it. 

If it isn’t, then open Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, click on ‘File’, then ‘Open’. A new window will open, navigate to the PDF that you want to password protect, and click on ‘Open’. 

open a pdf file with Adobe Reader

Step 2: Open the protect feature

On the right menu bar, you’ll see an option named ‘Protect’. If it isn’t there, then go to ‘Tools’ and click on ‘Protection’.

protect your document with adobe

On clicking the ‘Protect’ option, a toolbar will appear, where you’ll see further options; click on ‘Protect using password’.

use a password to protect and encypt your documents

Step 3: Choose between password for viewing or editing

On clicking ‘Protect with password’, a new window will open with the option of putting a password for either viewing or editing. 

What’s the difference between blocking a PDF for viewing or editing?

If you don’t want the viewer to edit your document, then select ‘Viewing’. 

If you are okay with the viewer editing your PDF, then select ‘Editing’. Type and re-type a strong password with a combination of alphabets, numbers, and special characters. 

Click ‘Apply’.

use a strong password when protecting your documents

Looking for more ways to manage or edit your PDF documents with Adobe Acrobat?

Be sure to also read:

How To Password Protect A PDF File On Mac With Preview?

You can password protect your PDF file on a Mac with Preview in less than a minute by following four easy steps.

Here’s how you can do it:

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Step 1: Open the PDF document in Preview

The first step is to open your required document on Mac in Preview. 

This is quite simple as Preview is the default PDF and image viewer in Mac, so all you have to do is double-click on your desired PDF.  

Step 2: Export PDF

After opening the document, click on ‘File’, and select ‘Export…’.

export a pdf document in your mac

Step 3: Select a password

Navigate to the folder where you want to save your file and type a name. 

Below the name bar, you’ll notice an option for ‘Encrypt’. Click on the box next to it. A password bar will appear. Type a password and then re-type it in the Verify bar. Click ‘Save’. 

Voila! your PDF is password-protected. 

click to encrypt the file

For other ways to password protect a PDF on Mac, see our full guide on how to protect PDF files on Mac.

How To Add Password Protection To A PDF File Online?

If you don’t want to download any software to password protect a PDF, then you can utilize the numerous options available online, which offer this service free of cost. 

However, it isn’t wise to trust just any of them with your information. As is the case with many free third-party tools.

One way to add password protection to a PDF document online is with PDF24 Tools. 

Step 1: Open PDF24 Tools PDF protect tool

Go to PDF24 Tools PDF Protect page online.

Step 2: Open the PDF Document you want to protect

In order to open the PDF, click on ‘Choose Files’. Navigate to the file that you want to password-protect, and click on ‘Open’.

open your file with PDF24

Step 3: Select a password

Your PDF document will be uploaded to the PDF24 Tools Protect PDF tool. You’ll notice a small bar on the bottom of the document, as shown in the image. Type a strong password inside it; make sure it’s a combination of alphabets, numbers, and special characters for strong protection. 

create a password you'll remember when trying to open the encrypted document

Step 4: Download the protected PDF

Once you've chosen a password, you’ll be directed to a download page. 

Click on ‘Download’, and your password-protected file will be downloaded to your PC’s Downloads folder. 

download your now protected document

How To Remove A Password Protection From a PDF?

Now, what if you want to remove password protection from a PDF document?

There are several ways to remove a password from a PDF file ranging from various software to online tools. 

We recommend using Adobe Acrobat Pro DC. As you would have gathered by the name, we are referring to the paid version of Adobe Reader, the free one doesn’t come with this feature. 

Here’s how to remove a password from a PDF document if you DO know the password.

Step 1: Open the PDF

The first step of removing a password-protect from a PDF is to open it in the Adobe Acrobat Pro DC. 

You’ll have to input the password that has been put on it. 

Once the file is open, click on the lock button on the left pane. The security settings will open on the left side of the document. Click on ‘Permission details’.

open the permission details for the document on adobe

Step 2: Change the security method for the pdf document

On clicking ‘Permission details’, the ‘Documents Properties’ pop-up will appear. 

Click on the drop-down next to the ‘Security Method’ and click on ‘No Security’.

change the security protocols to no security

Step 3: Save the PDF

The final step of removing password-protect through Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is to go to ‘File’, and then select ‘Save’ to save your recent changes. 

Click on ‘Yes’ on the popup that asks you whether you want to save changes or not. Now, your PDF is free from password-protect and anyone can open it without the protection prompt.

save all the changes in your now unprotected document

What if you want to remove the password protection from a PDF document and you don’t know the original password?

Well, that might be more complicated. So, you might want to read our guides on that topic here:

Conclusion

These are a few ways in which you can password protect a PDF on various OS systems, through different software, and via online sources. 

We have also shared a way in which you can remove password protection from a PDF in case you don’t want it anymore. 

So, hope this guide to encrypting or password protecting your PDF documents was helpful.

Now, if you’re looking for more PDF management guides, you might also want to read:

Out-of-the-box PDF generation
The easiest way to automatically generate and manage paperless documents at scale.
By submitting this form, I confirm that I have read and understood Inkit's Privacy Policy.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.