how to decrypt a pdf file

How to Decrypt a PDF File: A Comprehensive Step-by-Step Guide

PDF files are widely used for their compatibility across different devices and operating systems. However, there may be instances where you need to decrypt a PDF file, either because you’ve forgotten the password or you need to access locked content. This guide will walk you through the process of decrypting a PDF file and regaining access to its contents.

1. Try Common Passwords and Password Variations

The first step in decrypting a PDF file is to attempt common passwords or variations of passwords that you may have used. It’s common for people to choose passwords related to their personal information such as birthdays or favorite words. Try variations using uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.

how to decrypt a pdf file

2. Use PDF Password Recovery Software

If you’re unable to guess the password or cannot remember it, you can turn to specialized PDF password recovery software. There are numerous tools available online that can help you decrypt protected PDF files. These software applications use advanced algorithms and techniques to recover the password efficiently.

Some popular PDF password recovery software choices include PassFab for PDF, PDF Password Recover, and Advanced PDF Password Recovery. These programs offer varying features and compatibility, so make sure to choose one that suits your specific needs.

3. Decrypt Encrypted PDFs Online

If you prefer not to install additional software on your computer, you can opt to decrypt your PDF files online. Several websites offer decryption services that allow you to upload your encrypted PDF file and receive the decrypted version within a few moments.

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PDFUnlock and SmallPDF are two widely-used online platforms that provide PDF decryption services for free. Simply visit their websites, upload the encrypted PDF file, and wait for the decrypted version to be generated and made available for download.

4. Seek Help from a PDF Password Recovery Service

If you have exhausted all other options and still cannot decrypt the PDF file, consider seeking professional help from a PDF password recovery service. These services employ experts and advanced decryption techniques to crack even the most complex passwords.

However, it’s important to note that using a professional password recovery service may come at a cost. Prices can vary based on the complexity of the encryption and the speed at which you need the password to be recovered.

5. Install a PDF Password Remover

If you have legitimate access to the PDF but want to remove the decryption password permanently, you can utilize a PDF password remover tool. These tools allow you to remove the password from the document, making it easily accessible for future use without the need for entering a password.

Wondershare PDF Password Remover and ApowerPDF are two reliable PDF password remover tools that you can use. Install the software on your device, open the encrypted PDF, and follow the instructions to remove the password protection.

6. Restore a Backup or Contact the PDF File Creator

If the PDF file was encrypted by someone else or you obtained it from a source that you no longer have access to, try restoring a backup copy of the unencrypted file. If you made a backup before the file was encrypted, you can easily regain access to the original, unencrypted version.

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Alternatively, if the PDF file was provided by a third party or an organization, contact them and inquire about the password. They may be able to provide you with the correct password or give you access to the unencrypted content.


Decrypting a PDF file can be a challenging task, especially if you’ve forgotten the password or don’t have access to the original source. However, with the help of password recovery software, online decryption services, or professional assistance, you can successfully decrypt locked PDF files and regain access to their content.

Remember to always respect the privacy and security of others’ PDF files, and only decrypt them if you have valid reasons and authorization to do so.

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