Thursday, June 30, 2011

Save encrypted PDF as plain / unencrypted PDF

Note: If you don't have the password for the PDF file, this post is not what you're looking for.

You have a PDF file that's encrypted and you already know the password.
Say you need to send this PDF file to someone without them needing to use a password to open it, or you just need to store it in an unencrypted format. How do you do this?

As always with software, there are options:
  1. Option 1: Buy an commercial product (like Adobe Acrobat or Foxit PhantomPDF )that is able to strip the encryption from the PDF file- Not for El Cheapo types (like me)
  2. Option 2: Use a product to save the file to JPEG (or any image) format, either manually (using screen prints) or using a free/commercial product (like SnagIT) that takes a screen shot of the entire document, not just the visible window. - Not for the lazy (like me)
  3. Option 3: The quick, simple and free and high quality way - Now that's what I like
As you guessed, I'm going for Option 3 :)

Option 3 - A surprisingly simple way of doing this while preserving the quality and format of the document:

  1. Install a free PDF Printer (I'd recommend PrimoPDF, but that's purely a personal choice).
  2. Open the encrypted PDF file and type in the password.
  3. Invoke the 'Print' option (File->Print) and use the PDF Printer as your choice.
  4. (in case you encounter an error, go to your temp directory (%TEMP%), sort by date-latest and look for a randomly named file with about the same size as your pdf. Rename that extension to .pdf and you're good to go)



Karsten Spang said...

Tried using PDFCreator, but...
It failed with the following PostScript
ERROR: undefined
It seems that Acrobat Reader puts in some PostScript commands to prevent this :(

Ryan Fernandes said...

You're correct.

Updated. See point 4.

Jenice said...

Surprising. The ideas which you have suggested to perform this task are simply amazing. I like the third option because its quite easy and simple as compared to other options.
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