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How To Open A Password-Protected PDF

Sometimes PDFs can be password-protected for various confidential reasons, which creates a frustrating roadblock for those who need to access the information within. If you ever find yourself in such a situation, don't worry - there are various ways to unlock a password-protected document.

If you are reading this article, you may be struggling with unlocking a document that requires a password. Oftentimes, this is because you have forgotten the password and haven't written it down. Other times, it's because you need to share a document with someone else so they can access it. Fortunately, we have a great solution to this problem that doesn't require you to install any software on your device.

In this article, we'll dive into the steps you can take to open a protected document on your device, as well as some tips and tricks to make the process as smooth as possible. So, whether you are a student or a professional, read on to learn how to unlock those pesky PDFs.

How To Open Password-Protected PDF

Opening a password-protected document is a breeze with an online tool! In this section, we'll get straight to the point and introduce you to an online tool that can quickly remove password protection from your files. You will see that the process is seamless.

Here are the steps to follow to open a protected file:

  1. Go to https://www.formatpdf.com/en/unlock-pdf/
  2. Click on the "Select PDF file" button to upload the document. Alternatively, you can drag and drop the file into the designated area labeled "OR DRAG AND DROP THE PDF FILE HERE."
  3. Click on the "Unlock PDF" button. The program will take care of the process, and within a short time, you will be able to access the information in the document without any difficulty.
  4. After unlocking the file, download and save it to the preferred folder for easy access. You can also choose to keep it in the cloud to free up space on your device. That way, you can access your document whenever and wherever you need it.

What You Need To Know About Opening A Password-Protected PDF

In this section, we will present a set of valuable tips, plus factors that you should bear in mind while attempting to open a password-protected file. These are as below:

  • It’s crucial to note that a password-protected file contains sensitive information that is intended for authorized individuals only. Therefore, it’s advisable to seek permission before attempting to access the document without the password, particularly when accessing it online.
  • In fact, we recommend you contact the owner of the required document and request the access code to ensure that you have legal permission to view or use the contents.
  • You should bear in mind that a password-protected PDF can be secured again after use. This is considered the most effective approach to safeguarding a file with sensitive information.
  • Moreover, it would be best if you remembered that accessing another person's password-protected PDF without their permission is illegal and can result in criminal charges. So, it is crucial to obtain the necessary licenses to work with such files.
  • Opening a password-protected document may not always be feasible, mainly if your file is highly encrypted. In such cases, the expected outcome may not be achievable.
  • You can easily add signatures to your PDF documents using our online tool.

Which Programs Allow You To Open A Password-Protected PDF

One clear advantage of using online tools is that there’s no need to download or install any software on your device, be it a computer, mobile, or tablet. As such, consider opening a protected file online. However, it is worth noting that there are also downloadable programs available, which we're going to mention below.

Open A Password-Protected PDF On A PC

Regardless of whether you are a Windows, Mac, or Linux user, there are frequently utilized programs that enable you to open a protected file without a password. In this regard, we will provide some examples that prove helpful for this purpose.

Windows 10 And Prior Versions Of Windows

When it comes to opening a password-protected file on a Windows PC, utilizing online tools is highly recommended due to the convenience and efficiency they offer. Although there are downloadable programs available for this purpose, we have not found any that provide better results and value than online tools. However, you can use Google Chrome to unlock a file.


Similar to the situation on a Windows computer, when attempting to open a password-protected file on a Mac, we were unable to find any suitable tools for this purpose. As a result, we continue to recommend utilizing online tools to achieve this task on a Mac. However, if you know the password, you could use the "Preview" app to open your file.


For Linux users, it is possible to open a password-protected file by utilizing the QPDF command program, which enables users to modify the structure of files. The command line required for this purpose is: "qpdf --decrypt test.pdf output.pdf." While the procedure may be slightly more complex compared to other operating systems, Linux users are likely familiar with inputting commands.

Open Password-Protected PDF From The Smartphone Or Tablet

There may arise a situation where you are required to open a password-protected file but don't have a computer. In such a case, it's best to use a smartphone or a tablet. So, let's see how to carry out the task from mobile devices.


If you’re using an Android device and need to open a file with an unknown password, there are several free apps available on Google Play Store that can help. Simply search for "unlock PDF" in the official Google store. You will be presented with various results to choose from, and we recommend selecting an application with high ratings.

iPhone (iOS) Or iPad

To open a password-protected file on an iPhone or iPad, you will need to use third-party apps since the in-built PDF viewer doesn't support this feature. You can easily find such apps by searching for "unlock PDF" in the App Store. For instance, you can use "Unlock PDF - Lock PDF," which can open your file without the password.

FAQs About How To Open A Password-Protected PDF

Yes, FormatPDF's Unlock PDF tool focuses on removing various restrictions from PDF files, such as those preventing printing, copying, or editing.
To use FormatPDF's Unlock PDF tool to remove password protection from a PDF and potentially open it:
  1. Go to https://www.formatpdf.com/en/unlock-pdf/
  2. Upload the password-protected PDF file you want to process.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to remove restrictions from the PDF.
  4. Once restrictions are removed, you might receive a link to download the modified PDF.
  5. Open the downloaded PDF in a PDF reader using the same password you provided earlier, if required.
The ethical and legal considerations of using FormatPDF's Unlock PDF tool depend on your intentions and permissions. If you are the owner of the PDF or have authorization to access its content, using the tool to remove restrictions can be ethical and legal. Always ensure you have the right to modify or access the PDF before using tools to remove restrictions.
Husain has been around the internet ever since the dial-up days and loves writing about everything across the technosphere. He loves taking tech apart and see what makes them tick, without necessarily putting it all back together.
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