Set fewer than six characters long password for a PDF

With the June 2021 release of Acrobat version 21.005.20048, the PDF document security password must be at least six characters long for both the ways you can set a document password:

  • File > Properties > Security tab.
  • File > Protect Using Password.

This enhancement is not applicable to Acrobat 2020 and Acrobat 2017.

It's recommended to set at least six characters long passwords to protect your PDF documents for security reasons. If you still want to use a password that's fewer than six characters long, follow any of the workarounds below. 

Workaround 1: Update Acrobat to the latest version and add a feature-specific registry or plist key

In Acrobat, go to Help > About Adobe Acrobat and check if your application is updated to the latest version 21.005.20054If not, download and install the update manually from here.

After updating your application, do the following:

On Windows

  1. Quit Acrobat if its already running.

  2. Open the registry editor -  go to Run (Windows menu + R), type regedit.exe in the Open field and click OK.

  3. In the registry editor, based on your installed version of the product, go to the version-specific location listed below, and create the key FeatureState at the location; the key may not be present by default.

    • Location for Acrobat 32-bit:
      HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Adobe\Adobe Acrobat\DC\FeatureState
    • Location for Acrobat 64-bit:
      HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Adobe\Adobe Acrobat\DC\FeatureState
  4. Under FeatureState, create a key of type DWORD and name it bDisableMinPasswordLen. Change its value to 1 (one).

  5. Close the registry editor.

On macOS

  1. Quit Acrobat if its already running.

  2. Navigate to the folder Library/Application Support/Adobe/Acrobat/DC/Preferences/.

  3. Open the com.adobe.acrobat.FeatureState.plist file in any plist editor. If you don't find the plist file, create a file of type Property List with the name 'com.adobe.acrobat.FeatureState' using any plist editor.

  4. Create the following entry in the FeatureLockDown key:

    Key: bDisableMinPasswordlen

    Lock Path: FeatureLockdown

    Type: 0 (bool)

    Default  Value: 1

    Create the bToggleUseEmbeddedIndex key in Feature Lockdown

  5. Save the com.adobe.acrobat.FeatureState.plist file.

Workaround 2: Create an action using the Action Wizard tool

You can set a document password that's fewer than six characters long using the Action Wizard tool. After creating the action, you can reuse it to set a short password on any PDF document.

  1. Open the PDF document for which you want to set the password in Acrobat, and then go to Tools > Action Wizard.

  2. In the Action Wizard toolbar, click New Action.

  3. In the Create New Action dialog box, from the Choose tools to add column, choose Protection > Encrypt. The Encrypt tool is added to the Action steps to show column on the right. Click Encrypt > Specify Settings.

    Create password protection action

    • If you want to set a new password every time you apply the action on a document, select the Prompt User check box.
    • If you want to use the same password for all your documents, clear the Prompt User check box.
  4. Choose the Security Method as Password Security in the Document Security dialog box.

    Choose Password Security

  5. In the Password Security Settings dialog box, select the Require a password to open the document check box, and then enter the password in the Document Open Password field. Click OK.


    You can set your desired password for both the options - document open and restrict editing and printing.

    Set the document open password

  6. Enter the password again when prompted to confirm, and then click OK.

  7. Close the Document Security dialog box, and then Save the action.

When you run the action on a PDF document, Acrobat will allow you to use fewer than six characters long passwords.


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