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How To Unlock A PDF For Printing

You might not have realized it previously, but printing a PDF file is not always straightforward. PDFs are often password protected, which will prevent you from accessing the file to edit, compress or print it. As such, you'll have to first unlock the PDF to print it.

If you’ve set a password and forgotten it, and you’ve gone into panic mode – relax! FormatPDF provides you with an online tool that will enable you to decrypt your document quickly and easily, freeing it from its password-protected state. Whether you’re working in a professional setting and you’d like to view paper copies of your file or you wish to print a personal document for your records, you can free your PDF so that it can be printed using our quick, online and free method.

This article will detail a step-by-step guide to free your document from a password so that you can print it. Also, we’ll detail some important points to bear in mind before you unlock. Once you’ve released your document, you may wish to perform other editing tasks such as rotating, adding a signature, or compressing your file. You can do all this too once your file is not password protected. Let’s go!

How To Unlock A PDF For Printing Step-By-Step

If you’ve forgotten your password to access a PDF, then FormatPDF is the perfect solution to your problem! Using our online tool, you can free your document without the need to register or download additional software. It’s a simple process, and in just a few steps you will be ready to print. Read on for step-by-step instructions to help you achieve your task.

To start unlocking your document, follow the simple steps below.

  1. Go to https://www.formatpdf.com/en/unlock-pdf/
  2. Click on “Select PDF file” to upload the document that you’d like to free. Alternatively, you can drag and drop the file into the area that states: “Or drag and drop the PDF here”.
  3. Once you’ve uploaded your file, it will appear on the screen.
  4. If you’re happy, click “Unlock” for the online tool to get to work on unlocking your file.
  5. Your file will take a few seconds to free. Click on “Download” to receive your file. Once downloaded, you will be able to open and print it as normal.

What You Need To Know About Unlocking A PDF

Before you get started with unlocking your document, it’s useful to read up on important points that will enable you to get the most out of your experience. Read on for handy tips to bear in mind:

  • If you’re wondering whether you can unlock any document, whether the file includes text, images, or both, you can. Your document will still unlock whether it contains text or images.
  • Generally speaking, you can free most existing PDF documents. However, if the document is heavily encrypted you may have a problem. In this instance, you will need to obtain a password.
  • The moment you free a document you can access it as you usually would. So you are free to go ahead and make all the usual edits such as altering text, adding images, compressing and converting it into a JPG etc.

Alternatives To Unlock A PDF For Printing

If you’re trying to print a document that’s password protected and you’ve forgotten the password, don’t worry! All is not lost. There are plenty of online tools and methods that will help you to free your document so that you can go ahead and print your file. As previously mentioned, you can use FormatPDF to free your file, and there are other alternative tools and programs, too.

Whether you’re using Windows or Mac, Android or iPhone, we’ll explore some of the best alternative unlocking tools.

Options To Unlock A PDF For Printing On Your PC

You can free your document whether you’re using Windows, Linux or Mac operating systems. Let’s dig deeper into the available options.


In Windows, you can use Adobe Acrobat, as it includes a tool to free PDFs. Remove your document’s password by following the instructions.

  1. Open your password-protected document in Adobe Acrobat.
  2. Next, unlock your file by following the path: “Tools” > "Protection" > "Encode" > " Remove”.
  3. If the file has an access password, you will have the option to remove it by clicking “OK” when prompted.


Mac users can use Google Drive to free their files. You need to have a Gmail account to do this. If you have an account (you can sign up easily and quickly), read on.

  1. Open your Google Drive page and upload to the platform by dragging and dropping the password-protected file.
  2. Double-click your file and select the print icon.
  3. Navigate to the "Destination" menu and then "Change" > "View More..." > "Save as PDF".
  4. Your file will unlock.


If you are a Linux user, freeing your documents may require a slightly more intricate process. If using the command line (a program that executes commands) seems daunting, you can utilize Adobe in the same manner as Windows users. Simply follow the aforementioned steps to accomplish your objective.

Options To Unlock A PDF On Your Smartphone

Unlocking a PDF on a smartphone is a relatively straightforward process. However, whether you’re using Android or iPhone, you will need to download additional apps to complete your task.


iPhone users will need to download a third-party app to complete your task. You can search for a PDF-unlocking app in the App Store. Once you have downloaded your app, open the password-protected document in the app and locate the button that should say “Unlock PDF” or similar. Click to free and download your document.


Android users will need to download an app from the Google Play Store to complete your task. After you have downloaded the app of your choice, proceed to open the password-protected document using the app. The app will provide you with an option to "Unlock PDF" or something similar. Simply tap the button to execute the action and your file will be downloaded.

FAQs About How To Unlock A PDF For Printing

FormatPDF's Unlock PDF tool is an online service designed to remove restrictions from PDF files, allowing you to unlock printing, copying, and other limitations. The tool is user-friendly and accessible through a web browser. You simply upload the restricted PDF file, and the tool processes it to remove the specified restrictions. After processing, you can download the unlocked PDF that is now ready for printing and other actions.
To unlock printing using FormatPDF's Unlock PDF tool:
  1. Go to https://www.formatpdf.com/en/unlock-pdf/
  2. Upload the restricted PDF file from your device by clicking the "Upload" or "Choose File" button.
  3. Wait for the tool to process the file and remove the restrictions.
  4. Once the process is complete, you'll usually receive a link to download the unlocked PDF.
  5. Click the download link to save the unlocked PDF to your computer.
  6. Verify that the PDF now allows printing by attempting to print the document.
Yes, FormatPDF's Unlock PDF tool is designed to remove various restrictions from PDF files, including printing, copying, editing, and more!
Becky is a freelance tech writer with over 8 years' experience writing for print and online. She is often found heavily caffeinated and accompanied by a laptop occupying local coffee shops, bars, co-working spaces and, frankly, anywhere she can get a strong cup of coffee. She enjoys collaborating on different projects ranging from tech to travel and everything in between!
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