How to Remove PDF File Password on Windows/Mac OS X

Many people prefer to password protected their PDF file when share it via email, this is a widely needed feature for many people especially the PDF contains some sensitive information, so only the authorized receiver could open and view it. But if you download a password protected PDF files and can't access it Or even you forgot the password, what should you do? And the answer is yes, but firstly, you need figure out which encryption type is applied in your PDF file because this can help you to determine how to remove PDF file password. There are two encryption types in Adobe PDF file: "Open password" and "Owner password". Open password is for protecting PDF content from viewing and accessing, and Owner password is for protecting PDF content from from unauthorized editing, copying or printing, is also called permission password.


This article we will deeply research 5 ways to remove open password and owner password from PDF files on Windows 10/8/7 and Mac OS x.


Method #1: Remove PDF Password with Kali Linux

QPDF is a command-line program based on Linux system that can save one PDF to an new PDF without damaging the data structure, at the same time the password will be removed during the transformations. Don't worry about your PDF content, it will preserve the entire content inside the PDF.


Step 1. Step 1. You need to first install the QPDF,  just press Ctrl + Alt + T to open a Terminal window and type the code below.


Step 2. The press Y key to continue installing the QPDF on your Linux,


Remove PDF Password with Kali Linux


Step 3. Once the QPDF program is installed on your computer, type the following command to create a unencrypted copy of your PDF file.


remove PDF password with QPDF


Step 4. Once your type the --decrypt command above, it will create a new PDF copy file without protection. If it prompt to ask a full path and file name of the PDF, just replace the full path and filename with one for your file.


Method #2: Remove PDF Password on Windows/Mac using PassCue for PDF

If you seek for an easy and effective way to unlock your password protected PDF file with typing complicated command like method 1, then I'd like to highly recommend using PassCue for PDF program. It's one of the most popular desktop applications that works with core libraries to handle PDF decryption in Adobe PDF document. It note only recovers your open password from PDF file but also can be able to remove PDF owner password instantly without modifying the internal data. Once the password is removed, It can be viewed normally in different PDF reader and print without limits.


This PDF password recovery tool fully supports to recover PDF open password with 128 & 256 bit encryption. For the Open password, it can recover original PDF passwords with configurable attacks. along with GPU and CPU, this program can generate hundreds of thousands consecutive guesses to your open password, in our test, finding 6 length password only took 3 hours, this is the fastest speed in the industry.

Function 1. Remove PDF Open Password

Step 1. Download PassCue for PDF tool on your Windows or Mac computer, then install and run it. For open password, you need to select the fisrt option.


passcue for PDf


Step 2. Click the Add File button to import your PDF, and select a right attack type in the list: Dictionary attack, Brute-force with mask attack and Brute-force.


pdf password recovery


Generally, we highly recommend you to chose Mask attack as it will take less time to recover your original password, but you need to provide some important password info like password length, password range, prefix and suffix and more.

start to remove PDF password


Step 3. You can click Settings to enable GPU and more CPUs if you have, this will accelerate the password recovery speed up to 30 times.


Step 4. Then when all settings are complete, click Start button to let the program start to find your password. Once the password is found, it will pop up a Window with showing your open password.

pdf password remover


Function 2. Remove PDF Permission Password

If you forgot the PDF permission password then you will not be allowed to edit, modify, copy and print your PDF due to security settings. This PDF password recovery also instantly remove permission password from PDF without using brute-attack.

remove owner password on PDF


Step 1. Just select the second option in the main interface, then add your PDFs that you want to remove owner/permission password, you can add dozens of hundreds of PDF files once.

Step 2. Click the Remove button to start. Just 5 or 10 seconds, hundreds of PDF's password will be removed! The program is still stable.


And this is arguably the greatest software in PDF password encryption field. If you ask me which methods or software is the best, I will undoubtedly recommend this one as it doesn't require to change anything and type the commend.

Method #2: Remove PDF Password on Mac with Notepad

Maybe most people has successfully removed the Excel password by changing the file extension to .text, .zip or .Xlsx. This method really works for a password protected Excel document. However, it also works in PDF document. What you need to do is just open your PDF using notepad application and adjusting the password in the txt file, and changing it back to PDF. This is only works PDF owner password with 128 bit encryption algorithm, it doesn't work on the PDF document that created by latest Adobe. 


Remove PDF Password with Notepad


Step 1. First, open your encrypted PDF document int he Notepad,

Step 2. Click CTRL + F to open the search Window and type the "Encrypt"  word to search.

Step 3. Replace Ûtà with 5³tà' and Replace 'IžC0 with IžC0.

Step 4. Then save the changes and the password should be removed now.


NOTE: I don't recommend using this method as you require to change the data structure which may corrupt source PDF file.


Method 3. Remove Protection from PDF using Hex Editor

A hex editor is a type of program that allows you to manipulate  binary data including Type, Cut, Copy, Paste, Fill, Delete, Insert, Import and Export. If you're a code export, then all the file can be manipulated and modified by hex editor, PDF password also can be removed by hex editor. I'd like to recommend using XVI32 Freeware editor. I was luck to unlock PDF password on Mac with it but i'm not sure it will works for you. Sometimes all we need type little snippet of code to modify the data.


Remove Protection from PDF using Hex Editor


Step 1. Open your password protected PDF file in the hex editor.

Step 2. Now search for the Text string “DPB” in the list and once found it, just change it to “DPx” (simply type over the value).

Step 3. Then in the code window, try the code:

import pyPdf

pdf = pyPdf.PdfFileReader (open("file.pdf"))

pdf.decrypt ("password")

Step 4 . Save it and check if the password is removed.

In my test, this method will only work fine with 128 bit of encrypted password in PDF.

Method #4: Remove PDF Password with Chrome

Google Chrome comes with two built-in features, namely PDF Reader and PDF Writer, which helps in removing the password of PDF files without damaging your PDF document. It works by converting your locked PDF file as a new PDF file and the owner password will be removed autocratically during the conversion. All the conversion progress will be completed in the in background and you just need to click Save as button. Follow the below mentioned steps:


Step 1. Firstly, you will have to install the latest Google Chrome version in your computer.


Step 2. In the second step, you need to drag and drop the PDF file having password protection in the Chrome tab.


Remove PDF Password with Chrome


Step 3. You will now be prompted by Google Chrome browser to type in the password for opening the PDF.

Step 4. On doing the needful, the PDF document shall open. You will now have to navigate to the ‘File' menu of Google Chrome and click on ‘Print.' Alternatively, you can press Command + P (Mac) or Control + P (Windows).

Step 5. Ultimately, you need to select ‘Save as PDF' as your destination printer before hitting the ‘Save' button.


save as PDF to remove password


NOTE: You can also select ‘Save on Google Drive' option to enable Google Cloud Print. This can open up greater storage possibilities as you get to save your PDF file directly into Google Drive without any password.


Method #5: Remove PDF Password Protection using 'Print to PDF'

This method can be used in all desktop browser in Windows and Mac. Simply opening a PDF file and printing it to a new PDF can serve as a convenient and easy way for removing PDF owner password. A duplicate PDF will be generated by your system and this one doesn't have password protection. However, this trick will work only if your PDF does not have any sort of printing restrictions and has no open password. All you need to do is follow the steps mentioned below:


Step 1. Firstly, you need to open the PDF document from your browser and type in its password.


Print to PDF


Step 2. Next you need to hit the ‘print' button present in the PDF toolbar.

Step 3. In the third step, you need to navigate to the ‘Destination' section and click on the ‘Change' button as well as check the ‘save as PDF' box.

Step 4. After doing all of this, you will have to click ‘Save' and will be prompted to type in the name as well as location of your brand-new PDF file. Although it will contain the same content as that of the original one, it will not have any password protection.



Nowadays, Adobe makes it so easy to password protected a PDF, but unfortunately, it doesn't provides a official way to remove password from PDF if you forgot. It only allows you to disable the protection feature only if you know the original password. From a technical standpoint, it's very difficult to remove PDF open password without professional tool. PassCue for PDF is such a program that I'd like to strongly recommend to you, because it doesn't require you to type that complex commands, just one click, it will find your original password.





Nadine is the Editorial Director at PassCue Studio. You can also find her on social network.