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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 cannot be modified or printed? Use the Smallpdf Unlock tool to enable printing for free.

There are two scenarios where once cannot print their PDF document: either it is 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 viewing permission.

  4. Click ‘Unlock’ and download your PDF - which is now ready for printing.


How to print a secured PDF file with Smallpdf

Of course, if you have the prior knowledge, you can also enter a password, 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 wary though, it cannot unlock heavily encrypted PDF files, but for everyday uses, this should not be the case.

The second situation is when a file has print restrictions on it. In this case, you or another party has protected PDF files so that the content cannot be edited or printed. To check, double click on your PDF to open the file, and you probably will see that the content cannot be highlighted on your PDF editor. The best way would be to inquire for permission to the PDF to be granted. But if this is not feasible, you can also convert your 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 Creator/Converter.

  2. Drag and drop your PDF in.

  3. Convert it to an editable format (Word, PPT, or Excel).

  4. Download or save it back to Dropbox or Google Drive.


Method 2: Change a PDF into a printable format, i.e., Word

If you click the file saved for viewing, OCR should 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 - on maintaining the file content and formatting to be as close to its original appearance as possible.

Can I secure my PDF again?


How great would our tool be if we cannot 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. The process to do so entails going to the ‘Protect PDF’ tool, pick a password, and save your PDF back to your local hard disk. Same drag and drop manners, conversion process, but a different tool (and a pretty shade of pink).

In addition to the two tools mentioned, don’t overlook that once a PDF is ready for print, you can always edit, compress, or esign eSign it further, using our full PDF suite. Smallpdf is currently the most popular online PDF software, with over 25 million users every month, and we hope to have alleviated any difficulties you may have encountered whilst working with digital documents.

Hung Nguyen
Hung Nguyen
Content Marketing Manager @Smallpdf