Can Not Edit PDF File? How to Unlock PDF Document for Editing

Question: "I downloaded an PDF document online and can not edit the text in PDF with Adobe Acrobat Pro DC. It says this is a secured document. Editing is not permitted." Shared by Jimmy.

PDFs are useful to save precious data and share them but if you can't edit them then it becomes a huge problem as most of them are protected with a password. Sometimes we receive a PDF document that needs to be filled up (form) but we failed to do so because it can not be edited due to password protection. Most of us end up scratching our heads to solve the problem. Thankfully there are a few tools that you can use to unlock PDF for editing.

Method 1. Use QPDF to Lift Editing Protection

QPDF is a free and command-line based PDF management tool that is available on Windows, Linux, and Mac. One of the main features is for PDF password removal., which allows the user to unlock restrictions applied to a PDF document. Once the restriction is lifted, you can edit the PDF within any PDF editing software. You can follow the below steps to unlock a PDF document for editing.

Step 1. Download the proper version of QPDF zip file based on the computer system from GitHub and extract the files in a download folder.

Step 2. Now copy the contents of the bin folder the current user folder and open Command Prompt from Start Menu. Also copyt the protected PDF in to bin folder for convenience.

Step 3. Move to bin folder in Command Prompt and type this command to unlock PDF restrictions:

qpdf --decrypt source.pdf output.pdf

qpdf unlocker

source.pdf is the file with editing protection. And output.pdf is the newly-createdly unlocked version of source pdf. Usually, there is no message displayed when running the command successfully like the above screenshot says.

That's it you are done now follow the instructions on your desktop (program window) to unlock and edit PDF file. This tool requires you to have a good command over the cmd. If you type a wrong command then it might damage your system. Use it only if you are comfortable with the command prompt.

Method 2. How to Unlock PDF for Editing Using Dr.PDF

Well, running command line based tools might be painful for Windows users, who get used to GUI based application. So our second recommendation is a beautifully designed app called iSeePassword Dr.PDF. It is very useful and effective software with a smooth user interface. It can be used to unlock PDF for editing as it removes PDF copying, editing, and printing restrictions with just a few clicks. Besides, it can also be configured to crack open password from PDF files with the help of three password attacking engines, namely Brute force attack, Brute Force with Mask Attack and Dictionary Attack. You can read the features of the attacks below.


Step 1. Download and Install

Download the software on your computer and install it. After launching the program you will see two options "Recover Open Password from PDF" and "Remove Owner Password from PDF". The first option is designed to recover forgotten PDF password and the second is used to remove PDF restrictions. So we need to get started with second option here.

pdf password remover


Step 2. Add PDF File and Start Unlocking

Click on the add tab to import the locked PDF. Now specify the location where the files will be saved after the PDF is unlocked. That's it, now click on start to initiate the process and wait for a few seconds to get the result.

pdf password remover unlock


How to Crack PDF Open Password

Step 1. Add PDF Document and Make Password Settings

Upon selecting "Recover Open Password from PDF", you have to tap on the "Add File" option to import the password-protected PDF file.Now you have to choose the attack type. Choose the one according to your requirements. Here I have selected the Mask Attack type. Now click on the settings tab and enter any password information like its length or capital or small letters. This will help accelerate the recovery process.

pdf password remover import file

Dictionary Attack: A dictionary file is provided by the user which is imported on to the software. The software automatically searches the password from the dictionary file.

Brute Force Attack: This method tries all the possible combinations in a password. It can be time-consuming if you can't provide any information about your password.

Brute Force with Mask Attack: The most advanced cracking method. If you can provide any hint about the password like length, number, capital or small letter then use this method to recover your password instantly. It also has the ability to remove the batch PDF password to help you edit them easily.

You can also change the settings by clicking on the settings tab to change the GPU acceleration according to your systems configuration. Selecting the right option will fasten the recovery process. This software supports. Multi-Core CPU processing.

pdf password remover options


Step 2. Start Password Recovery and Wait for Result

This PDF Password Recovery program will begin the password cracking task once the settings is completed. You will see a progress bar on the screen, which tells you how many password has been cracked. Wait until the password is found by the software.

pdf password remover done


This software has got a 100% recovery rate and easy to use even for a novice user. It also helps to continue your last search history by saving a log file at an interval of five minutes.

Method 3. Can Not Edit PDF File? Unlock PDF for Editing Online

For simple PDF tasks (convert, merge, split, unlock), it is no need to download additional software. Why? We found online PDF service is more convenient. It is an ideal choice for small size PDFs with no confidential information. is a website providing solutions to unlock PDF for editing. However, you have to input the restriction password before unlocking starts.

Step 1. Open any browser on your computer and visit the website.

Step 2: You can either drag or drop your locked PDF or you can click on the "Choose file" button to import the file.

online pdf unlocker

Step 3. After the PDF is uploaded, it will ask you to type the correct password; you can type any password of your choice and then click on "Unlock Now" to unlock the uploaded PDF document.

online pdf unlocker input password

Step 4. That's it, wait for a few minutes to let the website analyze and decode the PDF. After it is done you can save the PDF on your computer or you can also select the Edit option to edit it online.

This Website is a good option to consider when it comes to unlock and edit PDF but in order to use it, you need to have an active and stable Internet connection. If your PDF file is large then it can take a good amount of time to unlock it.


Method 4. Quickly Unlock PDF for Editing via Cain & Abel

This software is more complex than the other PDF password recovery tools in this article. But it's quite effective. Cain & Abel is a reliable password recovery software designed for Windows OS. This program has the potential to crack all sorts of passwords. This program provides Brute Force, Dictionary, and Cryptanalysis attacks to choose from. It can decode some of the most complicated passwords. Many people have tested this program and praised it for its remarkable performance. Since you want to unlock PDF for editing, the method is as follows:

Step 1. Find and download the Cain & Abel program. Launch the program to initiate the password cracking process!

Step 2. You will have to extract the PDF file's hash value to unlock its password. Use a reliable online Hash Cracker tool to find the required details. That tool will ask you to upload the protected PDF file. And you will get its hash value within a minute, and you can copy and paste the value into a text file.

Extract the hash value file


Step 3. Go to the Cain & Abel software and click on the "Cracker" tab.

Step 4. Check the left-side column where many tabs are given in the menu. Click on the "MD5" option. Now, click the "+" button to import the hash value.

Unlock password from PDF


Step 5. You can choose between three types of attacks to remove PDF passwords. The Brute Force attack is perfect for this job. This program is now all set to find the PDF password, and it will initiate the cracking procedure.

Note: You might not find its latest version because its stable version was introduced in 2014. And it takes a long time to get the job done! Unless you have to wait patiently for the results.



You can use any of the above-mentioned tools to unlock PDF for editing but if you are looking for a software that is fast and reliable then go for iSeePassword Dr.PDF as it has got a 100% recovery rate and you can use it on PDF of any size. It does the job within a few seconds and that too with a few clicks of your mouse. It can also run on the background while unlocking multiple numbers of PDF in case you want to multi-task on your computer. So next time you are looking for a software to unlock and edit PDFs, give iSeePassword Dr.PDF a try.

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