How to Enable Full Control on a PDF File

by Alan Bradford

The PDF format is considered a fixed, final publication format with little ability to manipulate or otherwise change the content. But PDF files can have security features enabled to prevent a variety of other functions, such as opening, printing, copying or using the limited editing tools that some PDF viewing programs provide. Adobe Acrobat is the primary application that provides security features and therefore allows you to disable them. There are also some programs, such as GuaPDF, and websites, such as FreeMyPDF.com, that will remove most security features from a PDF.

Adobe Acrobat

1

Open the PDF file in Adobe Acrobat.

2

Enter the password for the PDF file or your Digital Certificate password, if necessary.

3

Click the "File" menu, then click "Properties."

4

Click the "Security" tab.

5

Click the "Security Method" list and click "No Security."

6

Enter the password, if necessary.

7

Click "OK" in the message that appears.

8

Save the PDF.

FreeMyPDF

1

Open the FreeMyPDF website in a web browser.

2

Click the "Browse" button.

3

Locate and select a PDF file that has restrictions and click "Open."

4

Click the "Do it!" button.

5

Click the "Save file" option, then click "OK."

6

Locate the destination folder, enter a file name, then click "Save." The unlocked PDF file is saved to your computer. This service does not work if the PDF is password-protected against opening the file.

GuaPDF

1

Download and install the GuaPDF program from the GuaPDF website.

2

Launch GuaPDF, click the "File" menu, then click "Open."

3

Locate and select a PDF file that has restrictions and click "Open." A Decrypt file window appears listing the types of encryption and restrictions on the PDF file.

4

Click "Yes" to decrypt the PDF file.

5

Locate the destination folder, enter a file name, then click "Save." The unlocked PDF file is saved to your computer. Note that GuaPDF has a free version that can only decrypt certain security features on a PDF. Some decryption requires you to purchase the full license.

Tips

  • check PDFs with security enabled in Adobe Acrobat usually use a password or a digital certificate to protect the security settings. To disable these settings in Acrobat, you will need to have the password or an authorized digital certificate to access and disable the security settings.
  • check Many programs that bypass or remove PDF security settings cannot access the PDF if the security restrictions require a password to open the PDF.

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About the Author

Alan Bradford began his career as a technical writer and editor in 2000. He has worked in a variety of fields, including medical devices, military applications and PC/console game development. Bradford specializes in such topics as computers, PC gaming and family and spiritual life. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from San Diego State University.

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Photo Credits

  • photo_camera old lock unlocked image by ennavanduinen from Fotolia.com