PDF editors are mostly known for their ability to change things like text, images, and other design elements of PDF files. But they also have more to offer by way of security and safety. Many users store private and confidential information on their PDFs and they need to ensure that they are kept secret. For these reasons, many online PDF editors allow users to password encrypt their files to keep out unauthorized users and limit access to a select few. These are some of the ways you can keep your PDF files safe with online PDF editors.
Choosing Which Type of Security to Use
The type of security that users wish to attach to their PDF files depends on their needs and what programs they have installed on their devices or desktop. Windows, for example, does not have a dedicated PDF editor/viewer that gives users the ability to password-protect their PDFs. Mac users, on the other hand, can open their files in Preview and select the encryption option to secure their files.
Windows users can opt to download a third-party PDF editor that does have password-protection capability. There are many types of free PDF editors that give users the ability to encrypt their files and each of them has its own method to protect PDFs. The procedure to encrypt PDF files is simple and requires nothing more than a few clicks and typing in a password.
How to Password Protect PDFs
How to Add a Password with Preview (macOS)
macOS users have the advantage of a pre-installed PDF viewer/editor, Preview, loaded onto their device, which eliminates the need to buy or download third-party software. Mac users who want to password encrypt their PDF files must do the following:
- Open the Preview app and load a PDF file
- From the File menu, select the Export option
- Click on the Show Details icon and choose Encrypt
- Type in a password, confirm it, and click Save
The PDF is now password protected and can only be opened with the password. The file can be shared but users must share the password as well for other users to open and access the file. Users can also password protect as many files as they want with the Preview app.
How to Add a Password with Adobe Acrobat
Adobe Acrobat is the highest-rated PDF editor for its myriad of features that include viewing, editing, document creation, and, of course, password protection. Adobe users can add a password to any PDF file by doing the following:
- Open the PDF file in the Adobe browser
- From the Tools menu, select Protect, then Encrypt With Password
- Select Require Password to Open Document
- Type the Password and select the level of compatibility (which Adobe programs can open the password-protected file)
- Confirm the password and click OK
Users need to be sure to select a version of Adobe Acrobat that a recipient has loaded onto their device, otherwise, the file will not open, regardless of whether they have the password or not.
How to Unlock Password Protected PDFs
It is not unusual for a user to forget or lose a password to open a protected PDF file, making it impossible to access the document. Fortunately, Lumin PDF offers users the ability to unlock locked PDF files with a few clicks. The feature is a free one available to Lumin PDF users and can unlock any type of encrypted PDF file. To unlock a PDF file in Lumin, users need to:
- Open the file in the Lumin program
- Click on the Unlock PDF icon
- Open and download the unlocked file
After the password has been removed, users are free to change, edit or do whatever they want with the file. Users can print, send and share the PDF file freely and even edit it using the Lumin PDF browser.