Someone from IT just sent out a company directory as a PDF, which is great, but the PDF is encrypted, which is a pain in the butt. Is there any way to remove the password from the PDF file on my Mac OS X system?
One of the things I really like about the portable document format (PDF) is the ability to send documents that are encrypted: without the password it’s so much gobbldygook. Enter the password, however, and it’s good to go and good to print. Indeed, on a Mac, that’s one way you could decrypt the document: by printing to PDF the decrypted document within Preview.
There’s an easier and more straightforward solution, however, one that Preview is actually designed to do and one that’s worth knowing so you can decrypt future PDFs with ease.
Before I show you, though, I want to ask you why you want a decrypted version. If you copy an encrypted PDF onto your iPad, for example, it’ll just prompt you for the password before letting you access it, which is good because it’s clear that someone in corporate doesn’t want the directory out in the wild. An extra 30 seconds isn’t too much to ask, is it?
Well, you’ll make your own call on this. Here’s how I decrypted a recent encrypted PDF by using Preview…
First off, here’s the familiar desktop icon for an encrypted or enciphered PDF document:
Double-click and it’ll almost open in Preview, except you’ll be prompted for the password:
Enter the proper password and the file is shown as you’d hope, readable and ready to work with or print:
Once you’ve removed the password protection, you can go to the File menu and choose “Export…” to proceed:
Once here, there are a number of options, but notice that by default the new PDF will not be encrypted:
Give the new PDF doc a different name, make sure you don’t check the “Encrypt” option, remember what directory you’re saving it to, and click that “Save” button to create the clear copy. Its icon is a lot more user friendly:
Do take a minute to decide if it’s a good idea to remove the encryption protection. If you’re sure, take the steps shown, you’ll find it’s about a 90 second process, tops.