All The Ways You Can Unlock A Secure, Password-Protected PDF


Secure PDFs come in two forms – user-locked and owner-locked. When you download a shared PDF that has a password-protection, most, if not all, are user-locked documents, especially if the File contains private and confidential information. With user-locked secure PDFs, you need to have the password to open the file, before unlocking it for future use.

Owner-locked PDF files are quite different. You can’t entirely edit these files because formatting and graphics, and other internal elements within the file are locked by the original creator and owner of the file. This type of document can be unlocked without a password’s help, and you can do so without so much technical knowledge. If you need to unlock a PDF file, here are the top ways to do it:

Through online, browser-based tools like PDFBear

We’ve arrived at a point in time where Internet access and connectivity have afforded us with so many developments, including streamlined online tools for quick PDF edits. There was a time when online PDF edits are a pain to do, but that era is behind us now. Today, browser-based PDF tools and applications rule the game when it comes to quick and easy PDF edits including splitting and merging, even when you want to unlock PDF file.

These online PDF tools like PDFBear offers a more straightforward way of unlocking a PDF. Most people will shy away from the task if they heard it for the first time, probably because unlock a PDF sounds technical and needs quite the learning process. But that’s not the case anymore. With browser-based PDF applications, the process is a walk in the park. Here’s the basic procedure:

  1. Open a new tab on your favorite browser. Chrome works best, but Safari and Mozilla Firefox are good as well. Load the PDFBear site or any online PDF application you prefer.
  2. Access the Unlock PDF tool.
  3. On the uploader, choose the PDF file you want to unlock.
  4. Once that’s done, if you have the password for a password-protected user-locked file, input it.
  5. Let the tool process the file. Wait for it to finish the said process.
  6. Download the resulting file and check if you can send and share it without password-protection.

Through a browser

Believe it or not, you can use a browser, specifically Google Chrome, to unlock a PDF file. As of writing, Chrome is the only browser you can do this through its “Print” feature. What you want to do is open the file on the browser. To do this, you need to go to Google Drive and upload the file. Once that’s done, double-click the file to open it. Again, if it has password-protection, you’ll need to enter the password.

The file should open on another tab, but if it doesn’t, that’s fine. You don’t need to open it properly on a separate application. What you need to do instead is go to the printing window. You can access this from File, then Print or CTRL+P on Windows, Command+P on Mac. On the pop-up window that appears, choose the Change button, then opt for it to be saved as PDF.

This will prompt the browser to download the PDF file without security. So, basically, your downloaded file will have no restrictions at all. You can easily send, share, alter, and edit it without the hassle of inputting a password every time you open the file.

Through a third-party PDF software

Time and time again, a separate, standalone PDF software is the go-to way to do all PDF edits, conversions, and unlocking. Unlocking a password-protected PDF file on a dedicated third-party app means that you need to have the app’s premium version of the app because developers deem this procedure a premium feature. The process is the same – open the app, input password, then unlock the document for future use.


There you have it. Those are three basic ways you can unlock any PDF file, whether its user- or owner-locked. Always bear in mind that the first option is the most accessible, as you only need a working internet connection to do the operation!