Edit secured PDFs

This document explains how to edit secured PDFs on Microsoft Windows. (If you're looking for information on editing text or images in a PDF or more, select the appropriate choice above.)

If a PDF document is secured, only the author should edit it. Contact the author or the PDF creator to edit the document.

Edit password protected PDFs

You can limit access to a PDF by setting passwords and by restricting certain features, such as printing and editing. You can remove security from a PDF if you have the document password. If the PDF is secured with a server-based security policy, only the policy author or a server administrator can change it. Contact the creator or the author of the PDF to get the password to edit the PDFs

When you try to edit a password protected PDF, you get the following error.

Error editing a secure PDF

If you have the document password, follow the steps below to remove security from the PDF. 

  1. Open the PDF in Acrobat.

  2. Select Tools Protect Encrypt Remove Security.

  3. Your options vary depending on the type of password security attached to the document:

    • If the document has a Document Open password, click OK to remove it from the document.
    • If the document has a permissions password, type it in the Enter Password box and then click OK. Click OK again to confirm the action.

    You can now edit the PDF.

  • If you are the owner of a PDF and don't remember the password required to open the PDF, you have to re-create the PDF. There is no way to recover the password in Acrobat.
  • If you are the owner of a PDF and have forgotten the permissions password used to restrict certain features in the PDF, follow the workaround below to make the PDF editable by printing a copy.

Printing a file to PDF using the Adobe PDF printer removes interactive elements in the printed file, such as bookmarks, hyperlinks, and buttons.

  1. Open the PDF in Acrobat.

  2. Go to File > Print or click the Printer  icon in the toolbar.

  3. In the Print dialog box, choose Adobe PDF as the printer and click Print.

  4. Type a name for your file and click Save. The PDF is created, and it opens in Acrobat.

    You can now edit the PDF.

Edit signed or certified PDFs

Certifying a document assures recipients that the document is authentic. If a PDF is signed using a digital ID or certificate, it’s locked to prevent changes to the document. Digital IDs or certificates used to sign PDFs are used for the commercial and legal purpose and are governed by laws in many countries.

When you try to edit a signed or certified PDF, you get the following error.

Error editing a signed PDF

For more information on editing a signed or certified PDF, see Edit a signed PDF | FAQ.

More like this


Get help faster and easier

New user?