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How To Print a Secured PDF

by Hung Nguyen

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

Stuck with a protected PDF that can’t be modified or printed? Use the Smallpdf Unlock tool to enable printing for free.

There are two scenarios where you won’t be able to print a PDF document: either it's a password-protected PDF, or the content has been locked from being modified or printed. Naturally, as the most popular online PDF tool on the net, we have solutions to both cases, just for you. Carry on reading to find out more!

How To Print a Password-Protected PDF

  1. First, go to the PDF Unlocker.

  2. Upload your PDF file via drag-and-drop.

  3. Tick the checkbox to swear that you have editing permission.

  4. Click “Unlock” and download your PDF—now ready for printing.


How to print a secured PDF file with Smallpdf.

Of course, if you have the password, you can just open the file, get the print dialog opened via Control/Command + P, and print your secured PDF. But if not, the process described above, which removes the password security of a PDF, should do the trick.

Be aware that this process can’t unlock heavily encrypted PDF files—like those created with the Smallpdf Protect tool where you need the password—but for regular encryptions this should work like a charm.

The second situation is when a file has print restrictions on it. In this case, you or another party has protected the PDF files so that the content can’t be edited or printed. To check, open your PDF file, and you’ll probably see that the content can’t be highlighted on your PDF editor. The best option would be to ask for editing permission for the PDF. But if this isn’t possible, you can also convert the PDF file to an editable format, such as Word, and then click the print icon to get going.

How To Print PDF Text for a File With Printing Restrictions

  1. Go to the PDF Converter.
  2. Drag and drop your PDF into the toolbox.
  3. Convert it to an editable format (Word, PPT, or Excel).
  4. Download or save your new file to Dropbox or Google Drive.
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Method 2: Change a PDF into a printable format, i.e., Word.

When you open your new document, you’ll see that Optical Character Recognition (OCR) will have been used to extract the content of your secured PDF into another format. Without printing protection on the new document, you can freely add or remove content, and print the protected PDF, now in another file type, with ease. We are consistently working on improving this solution—to maintain the file content and formatting as close to its original appearance as possible.

Can I Secure My PDF Again?


How great would our tool be if we couldn’t undo this whole process? As you can print secured PDF documents, you can also encrypt them with a password to ensure that no other party can view, modify, or print your PDF file. Doing so just involves going to the Protect PDF tool, picking a password, and saving your PDF back to your local hard disk. Same drag and drop conversion process, but a different tool (and a pretty shade of pink).

In addition to the two tools mentioned here, don’t forget that once a PDF is ready for print, you can always edit, compress, or esign it further, using our full PDF suite. Smallpdf is currently the most popular online PDF software, with over 40 million users every month, and we hope to have alleviated any difficulties you may have encountered while working with digital documents.

Hung Nguyen
Hung Nguyen
Senior Growth Marketing Manager @Smallpdf