How to Edit a Secured PDF Without Password: 4 Secure Methods

Connie Wisley
January 12, 2024 Preview 11.8K Preview 2
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Get an locked PDF file and being asked to edit it or fill out the PDF form within 2hrs? Try to retype it only find that it’s unable to copy and it is 5 pages long, just too much work to redoing it from scratch.

We know how it feel. In this guide we tested and list all possible ways you need to unlock a PDF for editing without a password. Ranging from reliable third-party free PDF unlocker, free online sites to browser based method. For more details, continue reading. No sweat.


What is a secured PDF and why you can’t edit it

If this is your first time met a locked PDF and needing to edit the protected PDF file, you may want to find out what it is and why you can’t edit the PDF.

PDF files are widely used for sharing. From a security perspective, users may apply restrictions like opening, editing, copying, printing to PDF files so that no one can add comments, rearranging pages or change the text and image. 

A lock PDFs may be protected with

PDF open passwords: The entire document can only be opened and viewed after entering the password.

PDF permissions passwords: You can normally open and view the PDF, but other operations like copying content, printing, modifying, and adding comments, are restricted.


Edit a secured PDF file without knowing the password? - difficult but not impossible!

To edit protected PDF documents, users must first remove the password from the PDF document, then enable editing on the locked PDF file. 

The password that blocks editing and copying is quite easy to remove, as we can see the content, we can utilize the print function to get the content from it and most of the online PDF unlocker can handle this.

While the password that prevents opening of PDFs is much more difficult to overcome and the only workable way we find is using an app named Cisdem PDF Password Remover.


Option 1. How to Edit Locked PDF Without Password - Works on open password and permission password

We put this method in the first place is that this method is the only workable solution that handles PDF open password.

Cisdem PDF Password Remover, which is available on macOS and Windows. It is a great PDF unlocker designed to remove unknown and known passwords from locked PDF files. For PDFs with owner password, you just need to start the Remove process and get a unsecured PDF; for PDFs with open password, it can also decrypt the file without needing for a password.
Free Download   Free Download

To edit a secured PDF without the password:

Step 1: Upload Your locked PDF files

Note: Batch unlocking is supported, you can add as many as 200 PDF files to unlock in a single session.

Step 2: Remove Edit Security Instantly or by click forgot

For PDF with permission password, You just need to add PDF files and click remove to unlock the edit restriction.

It you see a padlock icon and a red lock with settings button appear, then it means that the PDF has an Open or User password. Just Clicking the red lock symbol >> Forgot

In the pop up window you give some clue to help this program remove the lock from PDF files.

Step 3: Edit the PDF using a PDF editor


Option 2. Print & Edit PDF “Hack” (Chrome, Firefox, Edge)

If you don't want to download additional software. You can also utilize the print hack on web browsers like Google Chrome, Firefox, Edge, etc.

To use this hack you need to make sure that you can open and view the content in the PDF (so, no open password), and the PDF also must allow printing.

You can use any web browser to open the PDF file and Print to save it as a PDF, then edit the document in your favorite PDF editor. 

How to Edit Secured PDF Without Password Using Chrome?

  1. Open the PDF that you want to edit.
  2. Click on the print icon in the top right corner. 
  3. Select "Save as PDF" in the "Destination" field and click "Save". The PDF saved here will be unlocked and can be edited.


Option 3. Unlock PDF and directly edit a locked PDF

You may also need an option that can unlock PDF and edit PDF. Cisdem PDFMaster is the all in one PDF solution that has numerous functions that allows you to directly edit any PDF file, even protected PDFs. 

Unlike other software that requires you to convert PDF to word for editing, this program helps one edit PDFs within the program. It offers functions like edit PDF text, edit PDF images, add signatures, add comments, redact, etc. I explained how to use it in great detail in my tutorial on how to edit a PDF.

Moreover, it is integrated with advanced OCR algorithms that helps you turn scanned PDF to editable and searchable PDF.

If you want to secure your document again after editing, use the protect PDF tool to encrypt your PDF with a password of your choice.

Steps to unlock PDF for editing without password

Step 1. Launch PDFMaster

Download and install PDFMaster from the official website or the button below.

Free Download Windows 11/10/8/7 Free Download macOS 10.11 or later

Step 2. Open the Protected PDF

Click on the “Open Files” button at the bottom left to select and import the secured PDF. The program will load permission password locked PDF files without need to enter the password.

Step 3. Edit the unlocked PDF

After the PDF loaded, switch to the “Edit” tab, there you can edit secured PDF file the way you need. You can direct change text or images, add text boxes, notes, comments, signatures to the PDF document. Additionally, you can convert the PDF documents to other file formats if needed.

edit windows11 master2


Option 4. Edit Secured PDF Without Password Online

For most people, when they need to edit a locked PDF, they will turn to online tools. Unlike offline PDF unlocker, online site are convenient since you don’t have to install any apps. They are browser based, so it can work on any OS – Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, etc.

However, when using online PDF password removers you must upload the PDF file before its protection removed. Files are uploaded unencrypted, which means that anybody with access to this server can potentially read your PDF. 

In our test, Smallpdf is a reliable tool for unlocking PDFs for is very quick and can unlock most PDFs with permission password. However, when the password is strong, you’ll be required to enter the correct password.

How To Edit a Secured PDF File Online

  1. Drag and drop your protected PDF into Smallpdf. You can also upload PDF from Dropbox or Google Drive.
  2. Pinky swear that you have the right to edit this file and remove its protection. 
  3. After the secured PDF document is unlocked, then select “Edit & Organize.”
  4. Edit your document, then download.


The Bottom Line

That's all about how to edit a locked PDF without a password. Let us make a brief conclusion.

Cisdem PDF Password Remover is only workable way that can edit open password protected PDF without password. Print is also an effective way, but it requires that the PDF can be opened and allowed for printing. If you need an PDF editor that supports unlocking PDF files, PDFMaster is a good choice. You can also use online sites like SmallPDF to edit secured PDF with ease.

I hope this guide is helpful to you.

Free Download Windows 11/10/8/7 Free Download macOS 10.11 or later

Connie Wisley
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Connie has been writing for Mac productivity and utility apps since 2009. Each review and solution is based on her practical tests, she is aways energetic and trustworthy in this field.

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Comments (2) Leave a Reply

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  • Merri

    It is indeed easy and fast to make my secured PDF editable again.

    7 years ago commonReply

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  • Sam852

    YA~~~ I got a protected PDF last week, and I wanted to edit it. Tank you for providing so detailed course for me.

    8 years ago commonReply

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