Edit secured PDFs


This document explains how to edit secured PDFs on Microsoft Windows. If a PDF document is secured, only the author should edit it. Contact the author or the PDF creator to edit the document.

To learn how to edit text or images in a PDF, refer to the topics above.

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

Remove password security

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

  1. Open the PDF in Acrobat.

  2. From the All tools menu, select Protect a PDF

  3. From the left panel, select Remove security.

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

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

    You can now edit the PDF.

forgot document or permissions password

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 own a PDF and have forgotten the permissions password used to restrict certain features in the PDF, use the following steps to make the PDF editable by printing a copy.

  1. Open the PDF in Acrobat.

  2. From the top toolbar, select the Printer icon  

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

  4. Type a name for your file and select Save.

    It creates a PDF and opens it in Acrobat. You can now edit the PDF.


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

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.

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