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Password Protect a PDF without Acrobat
Password Protect a PDF without Acrobat

Password Protect a PDF without Acrobat

by Alexa Davis
Nov 23, 2023

Setting a password on PDF files is critical to ensure that sensitive information is kept secure. Many users look for ways how to password-protect a PDF file without Acrobat. They cannot afford the costly subscription but still need to get the job done.

Luckily, many online PDF editors and desktop software offer password-protecting PDF solutions for both Mac and Windows computers. This article discusses 4 methods how to encrypt a PDF without Acrobat for various operating systems. All these instruments enable users to secure their records from unauthorized access without the necessity to invest in expensive Adobe applications.

1. How to password-protect a PDF online

This web-based platform is an accessible way to secure PDFs without Abode Acrobat. It is fast, safe, and free! These are the steps to follow to lock a PDF with the toolkit.

  1. Open the Protect PDF tool.
  2. Upload the file you need to set a password on by clicking the "Add file" button or dragging and dropping it into the browser.
  3. Enter the password for your PDF twice and click the "Protect PDF" button.
  4. After processing is finished, you can download your encrypted PDF or share it via a link.

Password protect PDF online


  • A free way to password-protect a PDF without Acrobat on the go.
  • Users don't have to worry about buying different versions of the same software for different OS. It works on Android phones, iPhone Max, ProMax, Plus, Mini, and SE; Windows PCs, iMacs, and MacBooks.
  • After PDF encryption is complete, all the uploaded files are automatically deleted within two hours.
  • Fast and efficient file processing, taking only a few minutes to complete.
  • The user interface is intuitive and straightforward. Even beginners will easily learn how to encrypt a PDF with this method.
  • Supported by most modern browsers - Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge, and others.


  • This tool only allows to password-protect a PDF online since it relies on the Internet connection.

Overall, the password-protecting PDF tool by PDF Candy is a good choice for anyone looking for a quick and simple safeguard of their document with minimal effort. Moreover, the website offers additional instruments that can make it easier to manage and secure PDFs, such as adding watermarks, converting them into other formats, or editing your PDF.

2. How to protect a PDF file with a password on Windows

For Windows users, consider using the PDF Candy Desktop to password-protect your PDF. This editor works similarly to the online version but is designed specifically for PCs and works offline. This can become a good alternative to the Adobe Acrobat program. It offers a variety of additional features and it is easy to use.

See the guide to password-protect a PDF without Acrobat with this program:

  1. Download and install the software for encrypting PDF files.
  2. Launch the program and select the "Protect PDF" option from the main window.
  3. Select the PDF file you want to password protect and click "Open". Alternatively, drag and drop it into the working area.
  4. Enter a strong password that you would like to use for your PDF file in the text box provided and then click "Protect". You can adjust the "Permissions" by adding or removing checkmarks for "Editing", "Printing", and "Coping".
  5. Once the encryption process is complete your newly created password-protected PDF file will be saved in the chosen location.

Password protect PDF on Windows

Open your encrypted PDF file by entering the correct combination when prompted. If you have forgotten your secure combination, you can try to unlock your PDF with the restoring instrument.


  • Reliable program to protect a PDF with a password with an extensive toolkit to work with PDFs.
  • Strong security as the tool is specifically designed for PDF encryption.
  • Allows to password-protect PDF while online or offline.


  • The program is able to encrypt a PDF only on computers with the Windows operating system.

Overall, this software provides a high level of security for setting a password on PDFs. By exploring the additional instruments offered, like the tool to extract images from a PDF, you will boost your comfort and confidence working with PDFs.

3. How to password-protect a PDF without Acrobat on Mac

If you are a Mac user, you have the option to encrypt PDFs with a password using the default application Preview. After simple manipulation, you will password-protect a PDF and can share the files with the necessary group of people.

Read the guide below on how to protect a PDF file with a password without Adobe on an Apple computer.

  1. Open your PDF with the Preview app.
  2. Click "File" from the top menu bar, then choose "Export".
  3. Select "Permissions" on the export dialogue box and set a password on the PDF file twice to confirm it.
  4. Click "Apply" to confirm the changes and then "Save".

This method to secure a PDF is a convenient approach for iMac and Macbook users. However, there are some pros and cons you should consider before choosing this.


  • It is a free method to lock a PDF as the app is already pre-installed on Mac computers.
  • The PDF encryption is quite strong, so your document will be secure from most attempts to access it without the password.


  • This software for encrypting PDF files only works with Mac computers.
  • If you forget your password, there is no way to recover it.

As a Mac owner, you may find it useful to know how to crop a PDF on Mac. In this way, you will be able to allocate the most important information and share it in a form of a password-protected PDF.

4. How to encrypt a PDF file using Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word provides an easy and secure method for password-protecting PDF files without Adobe Acrobat. Encrypting your file with Word helps to set the protection on it even before you create a PDF. This helps speed up the work process if your initial documents are in DOC or DOCX format.

Below is the instruction on how to password-protect a PDF file without Acrobat with this method:

  1. Open your document in Microsoft Word.
  2. Go to "File", find "Save As" and select "PDF" from the drop-down menu.
  3. When prompted, click the "Options" button in the lower-left corner of the window.
  4. In the "Security Options" section, check the box next to "Encrypt with Password".
  5. Enter a password of your choice and click "OK".
  6. Click "Save" to finish working on your encrypted PDF.

Keep in mind that to password-protect your PDF with this tool, you must have your file converted to Word format. You can learn how to convert PDF to Word here. However, the approach has some pros and cons.


  • A commonly known text editor used to set a password on a PDF.
  • Many users already have this program on their computers for other needs.


  • Limited PDF encryption options as the program is primary purpose it text editing.
  • May not be as secure as the tools explicitly designed to lock PDFs.

Applying Microsoft Word to secure a PDF document is not a common way of encrypting PDF files. Despite being possible to complete the task with this software, it may not be the best option for password-securing a PDF due to limited and less secure features.

FAQ and tips for password-protecting a PDF

Why can't I password-protect a PDF?

Check the manual or watch a tutorial on features of the program you are trying to use to set a password on a PDF. Maybe your PDF editor or reader does not have such a feature.

What are the benefits of password-protecting a PDF file?

Applying PDF encryption provides an extra layer of security, making sure that only the intended recipient can access and view the contents of the document.

Can I apply the same password for encrypting multiple PDF files?

While this is certainly an option that will leave you to memorize fewer codes, choosing to lock several PDFs with the same password will jeopardize their security.

Will password-protecting a PDF have an impact on its quality?

No, if done properly, when you protect a PDF with a password, it should not affect its quality in any way.

Can the password of a protected PDF be removed?

Yes, it is possible to unlock a PDF that is password-protected. This is why you need to come up with a strong protecting combination to secure your PDF as much as possible.

How to pick a good password to protect a PDF?

Creating a secure password for PDF files is an important step in protecting it from unauthorized access. Here are some tips to consider when picking a combination for PDF encryption:

  • Use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters, and upper and lower case alternation.
  • Avoid using common words or phrases.
  • Don't include your personal information, such as name, date of birth, etc.
  • Make the password at least 8 characters long.
  • Don't use the same password for multiple accounts.
  • Change your passwords regularly.

Following these simple tips will help you create strong and secure passwords that will protect your PDF documents.

How to not forget a password for PDF?

Do you often forget the password after you encrypt a PDF? Here are a few tricks to assist you in remembering it:

  • Keep a physical copy of your password in a secure place.
  • Use memorable words or phrases to help you recall the password.
  • Use a password managers tool like LastPass or 1Password.
  • Regularly changing passwords can help you remember them better, as long as you make a point of updating any stored copies with the new ones.

These suggestions will assist you in keeping the password accessible and fresh on your mind so you can unlock your PDFs whenever you need them with no problem.

How to test the password after protecting a PDF?

Once you know how to encrypt a PDF with a password, it is important to make sure that the protection works as intended. Here is how to verify the password for PDF is chosen well:

First, create a new document with sample content and protect the PDF with a password of your choice.

Method 1:

  1. Open the password-protected PDF with a PDF editor or reader.
  2. Try entering an incorrect password and see if the document will open.
  3. If it doesn't, the encryption works properly and your data is secure!

Method 2:

  1. Open your file on any website for decrypting PDFs.
  2. Try using the tool to remove the password.
  3. If the service is unable to open the file without the password, you have a strong combination.

Testing your PDF encryption is an essential part of keeping your information safe. Make sure to do it every time you set a password on the PDF with sensitive information for the highest level of security.

Password-protect a PDF without Acrobat: Conclusion

Password-protecting PDFs is an important way to keep documents safe. Unfortunately, many people have trouble doing this because they don't have access to Adobe Acrobat and don't know of other ways to secure their PDFs.

Now you know several methods of how to password-protect a PDF file without Acrobat. Open-source programs provide the same level of protection as Adobe products but without any of the cost or complexity associated with it.

In addition, many come with many supplementary features to work with PDFs. Choose between using an online service or desktop software to encrypt a PDF document and protect your sensitive information in just a few clicks.

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