Remove PDF Document Restrictions

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 19, 2008
Updated • Jan 2, 2017

PDF Documents can be protected during the creation process to disable specific features that are otherwise available to users accessing them in a PDF reader.

Some options that can be blocked are for example the printing, copying or editing of documents. One way around those restrictions would be to make simple screenshots and print those screenshots if printing is disabled, but it is obviously not always that easy to deal with protections.

This however is not the best way and there is actually a solution that can remove PDF document restrictions easily.

Portable PDF Unlocker is a free software program for Microsoft Windows that can remove restrictions from PDF documents.

portable pdf unlocker

The program itself is super easy to use. Simply start it,and drag and drop the restricted PDF document on the program window to unlock it. The process is automated, and should not take longer than a couple of seconds to complete.

The unlocked file is identical in all regards to the original file but without any of the restrictions imposed on the original PDF.

Portable PDF Unlocker creates a copy of the original PDf document in the same folder but does not overwrite the original document. The application is capable of enabling PDF edit, copy and print functions.

The program itself is offered as a 32-bit and 64-bit version that is compatible with all recent versions of Windows.


PDF Unlock is a free online service to remove restrictions and passwords from PDF documents. Please note that you will transfer the PDF document to the service. It is therefore not recommended that you transfer documents with important information to the service.

To use it, simply select browse on the website and select the locked PDF file on the local device. Click on the unlock button afterwards to start the unlocking process. You can then download the PDF document to your local system after the process completes.

ThePDF PDF Unlock is an alternative that works exactly in the same way. Make sure you uncheck the "I agree to share this PDF to the public and I'm the owner of the document" before you start the process.

Closing Words

The programs and online services unlock PDF documents for free. The majority of services and programs out there are not free on the other hand.

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Remove PDF Document Restrictions
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  1. Yvonne said on October 30, 2013 at 11:11 am


  2. Kevin said on November 13, 2010 at 11:53 pm

    You’re a f*** moron. “Free” software? Where on the website does it say the software is free? Watermarks on every page and each alternate page is blank? Is that even usable?

  3. Zoe said on October 26, 2010 at 11:59 am

    As we all know ,pdf can be protected by pdf password and pdf restriction including copying,printing ,editing etc.Now i can remove all of this usd advanced pdf password 5.0 in seconds,but if you want to do this,make sure you have the right to remove or edit ebooks

  4. jye said on November 11, 2009 at 12:30 am

    I downloaded this tool for a pdf file that i had rights to access but it would not retain my password info. It did not unlock the file so I uninstalled the program. Now, everytime I go to start my computer it is back and trying to run. I can only find one file for it (in my user files) and I keep deleting it but it keeps coming back. I cannot find a solution anywhere on the internet to solve this problem…BEWARE!

  5. Melvin James said on September 23, 2009 at 10:20 am

    Great post, it’s useful to PDF users. As I know, owner password can be removed, but open password is difficult to crack. I’m using another way to remove the restrictions.
    I’m using AnyBizSoft PDF to Word Converter, it can convert protected PDF files. And the original text content, layouts, images can be well preserved. It’s also convenient.

  6. blah said on April 15, 2009 at 3:21 am

    A working link to the download of the program would be helpful (DUH)

  7. Reg Toye said on April 4, 2009 at 10:46 am

    I have used PDF to print from Abilty Write,to print from Abillty Write no problem,

    But I now find if I whish to change the name of my files or folders, I cannot,

    What do I do, Thank you,

  8. w1re said on January 14, 2009 at 4:19 am

    Hi, is there any way to get to the program?
    It seems that the website doesn’t have it any more…

    maybe someone could send it to me or upload it on rapidshare or sth…

    thank you

  9. Reece said on December 5, 2008 at 5:24 am

    Works if you just want to remove the password or something, but this tool also removed all the text fields from the PDF so this solution did not keep the PDF functional for me. I’ll have to find something else.

  10. trial said on November 16, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    Hey! I tried running it. It does not work :-O. It outputs a file with exactly the same restrictions!


  11. vivek vichar said on September 10, 2008 at 7:07 am

    Wonderful pdf unlocker ! Thanks !

  12. Zathrus said on July 30, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    As best I can tell, all this is is a simple CMD script that uses GhostScript to open the PDF and then write it back out as a new PDF.

    Note — v1.04 is broken. The CMD file has errors in it.

    Change the CMD file to the following and it will work (for those who care, I fixed the set command to only take off “.pdf” and added the missing double quotes around the file names that should’ve been there — the script had a single, unbalanced double quote):

    @echo off
    echo This may take a minute, please wait.
    echo Converting %1
    set ttt=%1
    set tt=%ttt:~0,-4%
    gswin32c -dSAFER -dBATCH -dNOPAUSE -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -sFONTPATH=%windir%/fonts;xfonts;. -sPDFPassword= -dPDFSETTINGS=/prepress -dPassThroughJPEGImages=true -sOutputFile=”%tt%_noPW.pdf” “%1”

    REM ‘Written by SMTguru

    1. kar_ser said on October 12, 2011 at 5:46 pm

      Thank you, Zathrus. Your script worked like a charm.

  13. Kyle B said on July 3, 2008 at 1:26 am

    Wow. This tool was the BEST thing to happen to me today. I spent all day struggling with a stupid I9 form that the guv’ment decided to secure, thus preventing the editing/creating of Objects. My company’s software specifically requires the use of Objects on the documents so that we can populate data on these fields for our clients. I even called DHS on the phone, and got no help at all. Thanks a ton for this tool! It took about 4 seconds to fix my problem once I got it installed.

  14. Mosey said on June 22, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    Interesting software! :D I’ll definitely bear this in mind for the future. Luckily haven’t had to edit any pdfs so far.

  15. Jojo said on June 20, 2008 at 1:35 am

    Be nice Martin if you could segregate the actual user comments in your posts from the linkback references like most other bloggers do. Who links back to you is of no interest to the user.

  16. darkkosmos said on June 19, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    :O Yes!!! I love you martin!

  17. Yogi said on June 19, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    Thanks – this sounds very useful.

  18. Jojo said on June 19, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    I always worry about software like this when I can’t find an author’s direct website. This program is available from many sites. But who is the author and does he have a webpage that describes program details? If not, why not?

    Functionality like this is very useful. For instance, Adobe itself seems to protect its own info data sheets so you can’t copy text out. I don’t know why. But a program like this can get past that.

    I have owned a similar payware product (Orvis PDF-Recover) for a couple of years and it works fine when I’ve had occasion to use it. A payware product like this could be a useful for companies that don’t like or won’t let you use freeware but yet want the same functionality (it’s only $28.50):


    1. Nick said on February 19, 2017 at 10:46 am

      Hey there, I was struggling with a PDF file that was protected with the owner password as a result I wasn’t able to modify and print this file. I’ve tried numerous software to decrypt this PDF but I couldn’t because it was probably protected by latest version of Acrobat or probably some other software. And. honestly I’m not a fan of these online services where you’re suppose to upload your PDF file on some unknown random website. I mean are these secure?

      Finally, I got to know about this tool from Quora and it did unlock my PDF file. Hope my experience will help someone who is in a similar situation.

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