Working with PDF Password Protection

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Portable Document Format or the PDF is one of the best ways to exchange files and to create a tamper-free document for sharing. For added security, it offers password protection that is a great feature for securing your document. However, it is not always that you would like to deal with password protected PDF.

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At times when you are looking for getting rid of PDF password protection then it seems that the job is tough. You require more than few steps to deal with it. You may require creating an unsecured copy of a PDF file. It can be for personal use where you do not wish to enter the password each time you access it, as it is more about user convenience. Given here are few ways that you can apply on your Linux system with Ubuntu to remove the password of a PDF file. You will learn about two easy to apply methods that will help you remove the password security.

Why do you need secured PDF?

There are many reasons why you would opt to use the password to secure their file. Often confidential documents are converted into PDF version for easy share and viewing. Additionally, the one, who created the file format, wants to protect it to ensure that only authorized personnel would access it. It can be due to the sensitivity of the information or the need to keep it secure from prying. Whatever the reason be, it is all about avoiding tampering and data theft.

Using the command line method

The method that involves using the command line comes handy when you have installed Linux on the system. Additionally if you are using Ubuntu then the utility is already there for you to use. However, if this is not the case then you need to use the following command like to install it:

“sudo apt-get install xpdf-utils context”

Ensure that you have all the relevant things and then execute the pdftops command that will help convert the protected file into postscript or .ps file:

“pdftops -upw [password] [complete-path-to-pdf-file] [complete-path-to-ps-file]”

When the command line template appears, the upw option is displayed and used for password that is used for PDF. Now you need to replace it, complete the path of the file, complete the .ps file using the password that you use to access the file. The file path of the PDF and the location should be saved to .ps file. It should be as follows:

“~/Downloads/PDF/secured.pdf” and “~/Downloads/PDF/”, respectively.
After executing the above-mentioned command, a .ps or postscript file will be generated at the specified location within the command line.


Now it is essential to convert the .ps file into a .pdf file. This command is easy to work with when you use the ps2pdf command. Following command can be used for carrying out the relevant change:

“ps2pdf ~/Downloads/PDF/ ~/Downloads/PDF/unsecured.pdf”

Once you successfully apply the command, it produces the “unsecured.pdf” within the directory.


When you access the new PDF file, you will not be asked to enter the password to open it. The password security is removed from the file.

Using the method of Document Viewer

This method is all about Document Viewer; it is the default option of PDF viewer in Ubuntu.

Launch the PDF that is secured by a password and enter the password.


After you have launched the file, go through File > Print.

In the General tab selects the Print to File option.


Now you need to ensure that the File option has the output PDF name along with the location that you specified. If you wish, you can execute changes to the information at this moment. Click the button near the option to make changes.


Click the option of Print, this will not print the PDF but instead save it at the file location that you specified in the File option. In our example, it was “~/Documents.”

After saving the file whenever you access it or open it, you will not be prompted for a password.

After doing the needful, you will be able to work with a PDF version that is not secured with a password. However, there are many more ways to work with removing the protection on your Linux with Ubuntu. However, the methods mentioned here are easy to use and apply. The methods mentioned use the GUI and the command line methods for user convenience.

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Working with PDF Password Protection, Seekyt
General Contributor
Janice is a writer from Chicago, IL. She created the "simple living as told by me" newsletter with more than 12,000 subscribers about Living Better and is a founder of Seekyt.