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How to Remove PDF Metadata and Properties From Your Files

January 8, 2022

PDFs are perfect for keeping data organized and trackable

But sometimes, you might want to remove some of the metadata from a PDF for privacy or confidential reasons. Otherwise, the recipient can tell a lot of onfirmation about you or the document.

Such as the date of creation, author, title, and other information that was used to create the file. 

Sometimes, you’ll want to keep that information private and remove the PDF metadata and properties.

Not sure how to do this?

You’ve come to the right place.

Today, we’re looking at the best methods for removing metadata from PDF files through a variety of different ways.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • Editing PDF Files And Metadata Overview
  • 6 Different Types of PDF Metadata You Should Know About
  • Why Remove Metadata From PDFs?
  • How to Remove Metadata from a PDF Using Adobe Acrobat
  • How to Remove Metadata from a PDF Online
  • Removing Metadata from PDFs with Third-Party Apps

But first, let’s have a quick review of metadata and PDFs, so we’re on the same page moving forward. 

Editing PDF Files And Metadata Overview

PDF stands for Portable Document Format.

It’s a format used to store document files on the internet. PDF files can be opened in many different applications, including Microsoft Word, Chrome, Safari, and Edge

Although PDF files are usually used for documents that have a lot of data, there are other benefits to using them.

One benefit is the use of graphics in PDF files. Graphics can be used to make your document stand out and provide a more visual experience. 

Another benefit is the fact that PDFs are easy to share with people. And since many applications can open PDFs, this makes the format a convenient choice sharing and sending PDF files.

But perhaps the most notable benefit of PDF files is their ability to be manipulated by multiple users

For instance, you can add drop-down menus to PDF files, as well as selectable options and various other items that the user can access.

PDFs are often used by medical and government entities that need to collect information on a mass scale. And when the user completes the PDF form, the provider can easily email or print it.

6 Different Types of PDF Metadata You Should Know About

Metadata is the information that describes something. It can be data, text, images, or anything else that can be used to identify or describe something. 

Moreover, metadata can help you keep track of your objects and documents, and it can also help you create search engines for your data. Metadata has many applications depending on the need of the user.

There are several different types of metadata, too. Each type serves a unique purpose, as you’ll learn below. 

These are the various types of metadata and the functions they serve:

Descriptive: This metadata refers to descriptive information pertaining to a resource. For example, descriptive metadata is used to identify and discover. As such, it can include elements like keywords, titles, and authors.

Structural: This metadata refers to containers of data, indicating how compound objects form together. A good example of structural metadata is a book’s chapters. It displays the pages and how they correlate to each chapter. As such, this metadata can contain types, versions, and other digital characteristics.

Administrative: This metadata type refers to information that helps in managing a resource, such as permissions, resource type, and creation data.

Reference: Statistical data that discusses the quality and contents of the information.

Statistical: Also referred to as process data, statistical metadata describes processes related to statistical data, namely, how it’s collected, processed, or produced.

Legal: This type of metadata details information about content’s public licensing, creator, and copyright holder data.

Now that you know what metadata is used for, let’s explore the steps needed to remove it from content. 

There are numerous scenarios where you might not want these types of metadata readily available to the user. 

So it’s important to know how to remove it.

Why Remove Metadata From PDFs?

As we discussed earlier, PDFs often get sent out to many different people, such as when a government entity needs to collect information from the public. And since many PDFs are sent via email, the user could view the file’s properties and see sensitive information as it relates to the metadata.

If it was just a typical Word document, redactions could be made by the provider to white out PDF sensitive information.

Alternatively, you could also password protect your PDF documents.

But since metadata isn’t in the main source of the PDF, special tools may be needed to remove it, as you’ll see below.

Let’s take a look at a couple of different ways you can do this.

How to Remove Metadata from a PDF Using Adobe Acrobat

adobe acrobat pro for pdfs

It makes sense that you can remove metadata from PDFs using Adobe Acrobat. After all, Adobe is the company responsible for inventing PDF files.

With that said, you will need the Pro version of Adobe Acrobat to effectively remove metadata from PDFs. Once you have access to Adobe Acrobat Pro, follow the steps below:

  1. Run Adobe Acrobat as an Administrator. To do this, simply right-click on the Acrobat Pro icon and select “Run as administrator.”
  2. When the program loads, go to “File” and select “Properties.”
  3. A window will appear. From here, select “Additional Metadata...”
  4. This will display the PDF’s metadata. You will have the option to edit the data or remove it altogether.
  5. Choose to remove it, and then click “OK.”
  6. After making the appropriate changes, it’s important to remember to save your PDF.
  7. So go back to “File” and select “Save.” You may also press “Ctrl + s” on your keyboard to achieve the same action.

The process of removing metadata is simple, but there are some important things to note. 

If you think you will need any information in the file, such as author names, dates, or even text, you’ll need to copy it into a different document prior to removing it from the PDF. 

Additionally, if you’re copying text or images from other documents in order to paste them into the new one, be sure that both documents have equal formatting before the conversion takes place because some formatting may not convert correctly when converted into an Adobe PDF file.

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How to Remove Metadata from a PDF Online 

pdfyeah metadata tool website

There are online tools that allow you to remove metadata from a PDF. 

This is handy if you don’t want to pay for the Pro version of Adobe Acrobat. 

What’s more, you can use this method on just about any web browser, so you don’t necessarily need a powerful system to complete the action.

A popular website for online metadata removal is PDFYeah. You can remove the necessary metadata in just a few easy steps, as seen below:

  1. Go to the metadata removal section of PDFYeah’s website.
  2. Select “Browse.” This will let you choose a file to import for metadata removal.
  3. Click on “Remove PDF Metadata.”
  4. PDFYeah will then process the file for proper removal. When complete, you’ll see a downloadable link. 
  5. Click the link to download the new PDF with removed metadata. Be sure to save it under a new name or overwrite your existing document. 

For your peace of mind, PDFYeah automatically deletes your PDF file from its servers, so any sensitive information that may have been in the metadata won’t be available for others to access. 

It’s important to note that PDFYeah has a 50MB file limit on what you can import. But as long as your PDFs are under the limit, the website should serve you well.

Removing Metadata From PDFs with Third-Party Apps

Adobe Acrobat isn’t the only tool when it comes to applications removing metadata from PDF files. And because not everyone is willing to pay for the Pro version of Acrobat, it’s nice to know that there are third-party alternatives that can also remove metadata from PDFs.

One such app is Wondershare PDFelement. Not only is it a more affordable option compared to Adobe Acrobat, but many users find it easier to use, as well. 

PDFelement eliminates the need for such navigation, giving you a simple and straightforward interface to complete the necessary steps to remove metadata from PDFs and more. For example:

  1. To remove PDF metadata, open PDFelement and select “Open files.”
  2. Next, click on the “File” tab and then select “Properties.”
  3. Locate and click on “Description.” This will display the PDF metadata.
  4. Like Acrobat, you’ll see options to edit or delete the metadata.
  5. To delete it, simply press “Delete” or “Back” on your keyboard.

If you’re on a budget but need a reliable PDF application that won’t break the bank, check out PDFelement. You can perform identical metadata removal just like Adobe Acrobat but at a much lower price.

Conclusion

Removing metadata from PDF files is an essential step for many businesses and individuals alike. 

While you might not always need to perform this action, it’s good to know the appropriate steps in the event that you ever do need to remove PDF metadata.

If you regularly use Adobe Acrobat, you likely already have the Pro version and can edit your PDFs as you please. But if you don’t have Acrobat and you need a viable solution for removing metadata from PDFs, you have options.

Choosing the right option comes down to your needs as a user. If you require robust PDF editing tools, you’re going to need a program like PDFelement to help you meet your needs. 

But if such tools aren’t important to you and you just want a basic way to remove PDF metadata, a website like PDFYeah is all you should need.

Such websites make it easy to cut right to the chase and remove PDF metadata. Best of all, you can remove the metadata without costing you a dime. 

Or, if you’re looking for managed infrastructure, hyper scalability, and powerful security controls for your PDF formats - try Inkit’s PDF Render for free now!

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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.
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