How to Remove Restrictions From A PDF File

If you are trying to view a PDF file, certain things may restrict a user from performing certain tasks. For example, you may not be able to print or copy text. A password setting can restrict features. If you do not have the password, you will not be able to perform the restricted task. Restrictions of PDF files can be a result of PDF features that are extended in Adobe Reader. An example of an extended feature is allowing a user fill in a PDF form in Acrobat Reader. Certain restrictions can be placed on a PDF file in order to enable certain extended features in Acrobat Reader.

Check the Document Restrictions

In order to check the PDF document’s restrictions in Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can go to “File” and then click on “Properties.” Go to the “Security” tab and then the “Document Restrictions Summary” tab. You will be able to see a list of restrictions on the PDF document. If a function is restricted, you will notice that the property is set at “Not Allowed.” If a function is restricted because other extended features are enables, you will notice that an asterisk is next to the feature. You may also notice that a footnote will tell you that it is restricted in order to enable other features.

Remove the Restrictions

If you want to remove all of the restrictions from the PDF file, you can start by opening the file in Adobe Acrobat Reader. Then go to “File” and click on “Save as Copy.” Save the copy of the PDF file in a location that you will remember. The copy of the file will not have any restrictions. In addition, there will not be any Adobe Reader extended rights.

Password and Certificate Configurations

If certain restricted features on a PDF file are not due to extended rights, then that means someone has configured a PDF permissions password. The PDF file is encrypted with either a password or a certificate. You can find out by going to the “Security Method” drop down box.

Removing a PDF File Password Encryption

If someone has encrypted the PDF file with a password, there is a way for you to override the encryption. You can change the settings even if you do not know the password. Go to “Security” and then click on the “Security Method” drop down box. Click on “Settings” and then uncheck the “Restrict Editing and Printing of the Document. A Password Will Be Required to Change These Permission Settings.” Make sure you save the PDF file.

Removing a PDF File Certificate Encryption

If a PDF file has a certificate encrypted into the file, you can remove the encryption easily. Check the “Certificate Security” drop down box. Then click on “Next” and the “Certificate Security Settings” dialog box. Make sure you know the appropriate recipient of the document and select the right one. After you have done this, you can click “Permissions.” After you have selected “Permissions,” you can uncheck the “restrict Printing and Editing of the Document and Its Security Settings” box. After you have unchecked this box, select “Finish.” You can now save the file in order to remove all of the restrictions. It is easy to remove a restriction on a PDF file. The key to removing any restriction is to check the security settings. Another key to removing any restriction is saving the document. If you do not save the document after you have spent all that time removing the restrictions, you will not be able to perform certain actions. Saving the document is part of removing the restriction.


PDF files are used in many different ways. They are commonly used to view reports, manuals, and even e-books. Although it is a very innovative way to view certain files, certain restrictions can be placed in order to keep users from using the available data properly. The previously listed steps can remove unnecessary restrictions.