How to Protect or Unprotect PDF | Online and Offline Ways

July 31, 2023954 views

Are you looking for ways to protect or unprotect PDFs? If yes you’ve landed in the right place. Here in this article, we’ll be discussing “how to protect or unprotect PDFs”.As we all know that portable document format is widely used these days as it’s cross-platform supporting. It maintains its layout and formatting, regardless of the device or software used to view it. It’s distributed with the intent to be printed or viewed only but not edited. However, there may be instances when you need to protect a PDF file from being edited or when you need to remove protection from a PDF file so that it can be edited or printed.

A variety of online and offline editors and software are available in the market that resolves the query “how to protect or unprotect PDF”. Let's unveil the procedure!

1. How to Protect or Unprotect PDF Using WPS office

WPS office software is a super easy way to protect or unprotect a PDF to ensure its security and protection from unauthorized access. Follow the below steps to lock or unlock a PDF offline for free using WPS Office.

Protect PDF Using WPS Office

Open a PDF that you want to protect. Click the “Protect” option in the toolbar and then hit the “Encrypt” button. A new dialogue box will open, check the “Set the open Password” option and enter a password between 6-128 bits, similarly if you only want to restrict editing of the file then check “Set Password of Editing and Extracting” and enter a strong password.

Remember that opening and editing passwords must be different. Once you're sure about your entries Press “Confirm”. Press ‘Ctrl+S’ to save the changes. Now your document is encrypted and will require a password every time you try to open or edit it.

Unprotect PDF Using WPS Office

Open WPS Office on your Windows PC, Go to “Menu> Open” now select an encrypted file to open in WPS. A Dialogue Box will pop up saying “Input Open Password”, here enter your previously set encryption key and press “OK”.

Once the file has opened, tap on the “Protect” option in the toolbar and then click “Encrypt”.A new encryption window will appear. You just need to uncheck “set the open password” and “set password of editing and extracting” and hit “Confirm”.

Save the changes, Congratulations the encryption has been removed from the document. Now you can open and edit it freely.

Note: This method only works if you know the password and that password is set by the WPS Office editor.

2. How to Protect or Unprotect PDFs Using Smallpdf Online

Smallpdf is an online utility used to work with PDF files without the hassle of downloading software. The below procedure will assist you with how to utilize Smallpdf online to deal with file encryption and decryption:

Password Protect a PDF Using Smallpdf

Open a browser and visit Smallpdf online. Open the tools window and in the “Sign & Security” section click “Protect PDF”. The “Password Protect PDF” window will open asking you to “Choose a File”

Browse a file from your device that you want to encrypt, Once the file opens, it’ll redirect you to a new interface. Here you’ve to enter a security password and then confirm it. At the end press the “ Encrypt PDF” button and then download the file.

Remove Password From PDF Using Smallpdf

Open a Smallpdf online in your browser. Visit Tools> Sign&Security>Unlock PDF. Click the “Choose a File” button and select a file whose password you want to remove.

A new window will open, check the box asking you whether you have the right to remove protection from the file, and then hit the “Unlock PDF button.

At the end download the file to save it on your device.


👍Always be careful while setting a password using WPS Office, as if you forgot the password there is no way to restore the password in WPS.

👍Be careful when sharing the password or encryption key with others as they can use it for unauthorized access.

👍Always prefer to password-protect PDFs having sensitive information.


1- Can I protect PDFs for free with WPS Office?

Yes, the encryption feature of WPS is freely available, you don’t need to purchase any subscription.

2- How can I know if my PDF is protected?

In the properties or settings of PDF, you can check whether it’s protected or not. You can also try to open the PDF and if a password prompt appears, it means the PDF is password protected.

We hope that your query - “how to protect or unprotect PDF” has been resolved by following our guide. Both the online and offline methods are straightforward, and the best for you is the one that works for you. However, we can't stop ourselves from mentioning that WPS Office is a fantastic software that not only can protect , unprotect PDFs, but also can deal smoothly with all types of files. Just download it and explore by yourself how amazing WPS Office Software is!

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.