World Executive Digest | A Step by Step Guide on Ways You Can Edit a Locked PDF | PDFs are among the most popular document formats in the world. They’ve enjoyed success because, firstly, PDFs are WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get). No matter which device you open a PDF on, you can expect that its format will be the same.
A second reason as to why people leverage PDFs is because of the cutting edge security they offer. PDF documents allow publishers to lock certain features within documents and even lock files from being opened.
Those security protocols have left some wondering how to edit a locked PDF which is the subject of this post!
If you’ve run into a PDF that’s locked, there are a few steps you can take to side-step security measures and finesse your document. Below, we walk you through actions that are worth exploring.
Enter Your Password
PDF documents that are locked from opening will only show you a password box when you click on them. The simplest and most obvious way to get past this screen and enable yourself to make edits is to enter your password.
Whenever you’re setting up locks on your PDF files, make sure you keep your passwords in a safe place, preferably in a non-PDF format.
Cloud-based password depositories like Passpack are great places to consider for password storage.
Remove Permission Locks
If you’re able to get into your PDF but are not able to edit it because permission locks have been applied to the file, there’s a possibility you may be able to remove those locks. To find out, navigate to “Tools”, “Protect”, “Encrypt”, and “Remove Security” within Adobe Acrobat.
So long as the permission locks are not password protected, you should be able to tick off protections after going through a few prompts. Odds are though that your document’s administrator did apply a password at the time of encryption.
Talk to The Document’s Administrator
It may be that the PDF document you need to edit has a document administrator who’s willing to allow you to make changes. If that’s the case, all you need to do to answer your “how to edit a locked PDF” question is to shoot them an email.
If you’re not sure who created the PDF document you’re handling, right-click on the document’s file, and scroll to properties. In the properties window, the document’s author may have opted to feature their credentials as a creator or publisher.
If the author you contact is hesitant to send you their password, consider asking them for an unlocked copy of the PDF file so you don’t have to handle their sensitive data.
Save Your PDF as a Non-Locked Copy
Some PDFs that are locked to edits are just trying to protect the integrity of a source document. Therefore, they allow you to save the locked PDF as a copy by going to File, Save As, Save As a Copy.
Copies that are saved of locked PDFs can be saved without security attached to them.
Keep in mind that some PDF authors may have disabled saving copies of their documents when they set their security provisions.
Copy and Paste Your PDF’s Text
This is a manual how to edit a locked PDF strategy but can be useful if you find yourself running up against a wall. If your PDF is mostly just text, you should be able to copy and paste that text into a Word document, make edits in Word, and save your file to a new PDF.
The process of doing this becomes more complicated if your PDF is rich with media.
PDF authors can lock a person’s ability to copy and paste text so this will not work if the PDF you’re managing has that security measure set.
OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition. It enables people to have images of text scanned so text can be dumped into an editable file format.
To leverage OCR on your PDF, you might head over to https://setapp.com/how-to/convert-pdf-to-jpg to convert your PDF to a native image format. From there, you can use any number of images to text tools online to dump your picture’s text to a .txt file or Word format.
Leverage Decrypting Tools
There are tools online that you can drop a locked PDF into and they’ll automatically undo the document’s password settings. These tools only work if the encryption on the PDF file in question is not particularly strong.
It is considered unethical to many to force remove security protections from a PDF you don’t own so keep that in mind should you choose to go this route. Also, note that certain decryption errors may occur when force removing security which could scramble elements of a PDF.
Look over a PDF you subject to forced security removal to ensure its integrity is still intact.
You Now Know How to Edit a Locked PDF
There’s no one way how to edit a locked PDF. The process of getting into secure documents so you can make tweaks is a process of trial and error.
We said it once and we’ll say it again, if you don’t own the PDF you’re trying to make edits to be mindful of the tactics you use to circumvent security. Document authors have the right to protect their work from certain changes so, when in doubt, always ask for permission before making adjustments.
If you’d like more insight on PDF editing or anything related to technology, consider reading the newest content we have available in our blog.