How to Add Password to PDF on Mac(OS Big Sur Included)?

Rosa Reyes
September 15, 2020 Preview 5.6K Preview 3
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Nowadays, PDF files had been used widely in our works, our studies and daily life. Do you have a PDF document that has something very important you don't want any others know? Or do you need to send a PDF document by email that is so secure it needs a password to prevent others change it? Adding password to your PDF file will solve this problem perfectly. As a carrier of file, that is PDF’s outstanding place. Adding security to PDF will be a valuable way to secure the important data against unauthorized access. Some users may know little about how to add password to PDF file on Mac, in fact, there are three methods or PDF Tool for Mac you can choose:

1. Add Password to PDF by Using PDF Protection Tool

The first method is using a third-party PDF protection tool. When talking about PDF protection tool, the best is Cisdem PDFMaster for Mac. With this application, you can set open passwords for your PDF files, preventing the PDF files from opening or reading. And you can also set owner passwords, preventing your PDF files from printing, editing, coping, and changing. It is a good helper for you to protect PDF or control the use of your PDF. In addition, Cisdem provides a free trial for everyone, you can click the “Free Download” button below to try it.

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Step 1. Add Your PDF Files to This PDF Protection Tool

After downloaded and installed Cisdem PDFMaster on your Mac, you need to run it. Then go to PDF Encrypt, add PDF files that you want to add password. Just drop and drag your PDF files to it.

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Step 2. Choose the file you want to lock

Set the output folder on the bottom. Next, select a PDF, and click the lock icon on the right to encrypt.

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Step 3. Add Password to PDF Files

Then you will go to the encrypt panel. You know, PDF has two types of passwords, "open password" and "permissions password", you can set either of them or both. Plus, you can choose the encryption level.

After finished it, click “Save”. 

Finally, start encryption by clicking "Encrypt".

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The other features you cannot miss of Cisdem PDFMaster:

  • Organize and view PDF files on Mac.
  • Edit PDF files on Mac – rotate, highlight, add comments, text, text box, sticky notes, and annotate PDF.
  • Create PDF from Word, PowerPoint, HTML, CHM, ePub and so on;
  • Convert PDF to 13 formats: Word, PowerPoint, HTML, CHM, ePub, Image, etc.;
  • Merge, split, compress and extract images from PDF files.
  • Quickly fill and add signature to PDF on Mac! No need to print & scan!

2. Add Password to PDF by Using Online PDF Service

There is also online PDF service you can choose to add password to PDF file, PDFProtect. And the greatest strength of it is free. PDFProtect is an online tool that allows users to add password and permissions to your PDF files online. It is super easy-to-use, you just need to upload your PDF file, and input your password, click “Protect!”, it will add password to your PDF file.


You need to be careful with using online service. There are some risks you may face if you use online PDF service:

Your PDF file will be saved for a period of time, so if it is a secret document, some else may get your file.

Website will store the information of users’ action and document information.

Online PDF to word converter can’t guarantee the effect and others.

The liability of free online PDF to word converter is limited.

Online PDF to word converter will use cookies on this site.

3. Add Password to PDF by Using Adobe Acrobat

PDF directly by using Adobe Acrobat. Adobe Acrobat is powerful PDF tool, which provides comprehensive PDF solutions for users. The only drawback of it is the price is too expensive. But if you have installed it, it is OK.

Step 1. Open your PDF file on Adobe Acrobat.

Step 2. Click the Tools Pane at the top right in Acrobat to open the Protection panel.

Step 3. Click “Encrypt”, and select “Encrypt with Password”. In the Password Security Settings dialog box, you can add two types of passwords, open password restrict and permissions password restrict.

Step 4. Click OK and confirm the password chosen.

Step 5. Type a name for your file, and click "Save".

4. Add Password to PDF by Using Preview

Mac users know that there is a built-in tool allows you to open your PDF files on Mac, Preview. Yes, it also can natively create secure password protected PDF documents, and it’s also impressively easy to do.

Step 1. Open the PDF file you want to add password on Mac Preview.

Step 2. Then you need to go to "File", and click "Export as PDF", then a window will pop up.

Step 3. Next, you need to click the "Show details" button to go to protection panel.

Step 4. Check out the "Encrypt", input your password and verify it.

Step 5. Save the PDF document as usual.


But Preview only allow users to add open passwords to prevent other access to your PDF, it not supports adding owner passwords to prevent your PDF files from printing, editing, coping, and changing.


Whatever, online PDF service is not a good choice for most people, unless you don't worry about the risks. Adobe Acrobat is the most powerful PDF tool for everyone, if you installed it already, it is your best choice. The features of Preview is limited, it isn’t a perfectly choice. For other people, Cisdem PDFMaster seems more attractive, it also does great in this respect. And in other ways, it's not worse than Adobe Acrobat except its price is cheaper.

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Rosa Reyes
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Rosa has worked in Mac software industry for more than eight years. She believes that the purpose of software is to make life better and work more productively. In addition to writing, Rosa is also an avid runner.

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Comments (3) Leave a Reply

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  • Rebecca

    I get used to protect my PDF file with Preview, but i kind of like your point about the PDF Manager Ultimate,I think it is good for interactive PDFs.

    7 years ago Reply

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  • henry

    Cisdem PDFManagerUltimate for Mac is good, i like it.

    8 years ago Reply

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  • Sam

    Preview is the most convenient tool, but I want to add owner passwords to prevent my PDF files from printing, editing, coping, and changing. Maybe method one is suitable for me. I will try.

    8 years ago Reply

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