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How to Password Protect a PDF

by Olivia Baker

You can also read this article in German, Spanish, French, Indonesian, Italian and Portuguese.

A smart and simple solution for when you need to password lock your PDF files.

Whether you’re sending classified data for work or sensitive personal information, there will be times when you want to protect your files with a password.

Luckily for you, there are a number of methods of how to password protect a PDF on Mac, Windows, Linux, Opera—you name it. One of the best methods is our Protect PDF tool—ok, so I may be slightly biased, but it really is great!

How to Add Password to PDF

  1. First, head over to our Protect PDF tool.

  2. Choose your file, or drag and drop it into the field.

  3. Input your top-secret password, and click ‘Encrypt PDF.’

  4. Download your new password-protected file!

2021-06-03 how-to-password-protect-a-pdf

Encrypt any PDF file with password

If you’re wondering how to password protect a file that isn’t in PDF format, we’ve got you covered for that too. Just drop your file into this tool and convert your Word, Excel, JPG or PPT file into a PDF and follow the same instructions above.

Choosing the Right Password


So, you’ve got a PDF file you want to protect, and now you just need to come up with the perfect password to ensure absolutely no one is getting to it unauthorised. A strong password is considered to be at least 8 characters long, and includes numbers, special characters and capital letters. You should also avoid anything too obvious, such as the name of the file, your name, or any of the most common passwords (like “password”)!

It’s also a good idea to make sure it’s something memorable, so that you don’t have to write it down anywhere. But how is anyone supposed to follow all these password guidelines AND make it memorable? If you need help you can use a password manager, such as Lastpass or Dashlane. With such online software, you can choose your password characteristics and they will automatically generate one for you. Plus you can store all of your passwords in their vaults, protected by one master password.

How Does it Work?


You don’t want your information getting into the wrong hands, and neither do we. Which is why we use 128-bit AES encryption to ensure your PDFs have a strong password protection. Only you and the people you give the password to will be able to access or edit your PDF file. The previously mentioned password managers can also help with sharing passwords securely.

For extra security we won’t keep your passwords on file, so make sure you don’t forget it! Without the correct password you won’t be able to open, edit, or remove the protection from your own PDF.

Can I Remove the Password Protection?


If you ever decide your file no longer requires a password lock, you can always jump back to Smallpdf and use our Unlock PDF tool. Just upload your protected file, pinky swear that you have the rights to it, and Unlock!

But wait, you didn’t really think we’d make our encryptions that easy to unlock did you? You’ll be asked to input the password you set for the PDF, and then you can Really Unlock it. When you download the file all of the encryptions will have been removed, meaning anyone with the file will be able to access it.

Olivia Baker
Olivia Baker
Content Writer