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How to Remove Metadata from PDF

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2022-09-06 10:19:44 • Filed to: How-To-Windows • Proven solutions

Metadata in a PDF file includes information such as the title, author name, the date created, modification date, subject date, an application which was used to create this PDF file, size of PDF file, number of pages in the PDF file, and all the tags associated with the file. Essentially, Metadata contains all the properties of the file. However, many people do not know how to access or remove Metadata from their files. This step-by-step guide will help you to remove metadata from PDF files. Aside from Adobe Acrobat Pro, Wondershare PDFelement - PDF Editor is another PDF metadata editor that supports the removal of metadata from PDF documents.

Part 1: What is PDF Metadata?

Like any other file, PDF files have properties and attributes that are unique to the file. In other words, metadata is the data about the data in the file and the file itself. Some metadata elements have been listed below:

  • Author, Title, Keywords, Creation Date, Last Modified, etc.
  • The application used to create the PDF
  • PDF version, file size, page size, number of pages, tags, etc.
  • Security settings: Whether password security is enabled and if there are any restrictions applied to the file

PDF metadata is useful for several reasons, such as search engine visibility, compliance with standards such as ADA and HHS, better identification of the document and the source of the content, etc. However, we sometimes need to remove PDF metadata for one reason or other. Let’s look at some of these reasons in the next section.


Part 2: How to Remove Metadata from PDF

PDFelement is not only more cost-effective than Adobe Acrobat Pro, but it is also easier to use. Users will not have to navigate through complicated settings. They can remove metadata using the backspace button on their keyboard. Below, we have the step-by-step guide on how you can remove metadata from your PDF file using PDFelement.

Step 1. Open to View PDF Metadata

Open a PDF document in PDFelement by clicking the "+" button on the home window.

metadata removal

Step 2. Remove Metadata from PDF File

Go to the "File" tab and choose the "Properties" > "Description" option. You can then view the metadata of the PDF document. You can edit and delete metadata as you want. Select the information that you want to delete. Using the "Backspace" or "Delete" key on the keyboard, you can easily remove the metadata information. PDFelement also allows you to edit PDF metadata on Mac as well. It also works as a PDF metadata viewer.

remove metadata from pdf

Tips: How Metadata is Stored in PDF Files

Info Dictionary and Metadata Streams are the common mechanisms available within PDF files to add metadata. Since PDF version 1.0, the Info Dictionary (or info dict) has been included, which includes the following general metadata information about a PDF file:

  • Author – who created the document
  • Subject – what is the document about
  • Keywords – keywords can be comma-separated
  • Title – the title of the document

Metadata Streams is a more elaborate mechanism that has been embedded in PDF documents. XMP (Extensible Metadata Platform) is used to structure a metadata stream. XMP is a technology developed by Adobe as an ISO-standard (ISO 16684-1) in order to embed metadata into files, not only for PDF but also for JPG and SVG.


Part 3: How To Remove PDF Metadata Online

PDFYeah is a free online tool designed to remove all PDF metadata from uploaded files. It works on any modern browser, uploads files via a secure HTTPS connection, and automatically deletes your files from its servers within a few hours. Here are the steps to remove PDF metadata online for free with PDFYeah:

  • Step 1. Go to the PDFYeah PDF metadata removal URL
  • Step 3. Click Browse to import a PDF file
  • Step 3. Click Browse to import a PDF file
remove pdf metadata online
  • Step 4. Once the file is processed, click the Download File link to save it back to your local folder under a different name in order to preserve the original. You can also send the file via social and messaging apps or email, and you can even delete the file from the PDFYeah servers without having to wait for the automatic purge.
remove metadata from pdf online


Part 4: Steps to Remove Metadata from PDF in Adobe Acrobat

This feature is only present in the Pro version, so you will need to purchase that version before following the below steps. After purchasing the software, download and install it on your computer. Run it as an Administrator and open the PDF file from which you want to remove the metadata.

Step 1. Remove the Metadata

Click on the "File" option in the top left corner, and then select the "Properties" option in the drop-down list. 

metadata removal tool

After that, in the Document Properties window, please tap on the "Additional Metadata..." button. Then you can see the metadata information about the document, and you can edit or remove the metadata information. Once done, you can click the "OK" button on the bottom.

strip metadata from pdf

Step 2. Save the File

After removing the metadata, don’t forget to save your PDF file. Use the "Ctrl + S" keyboard shortcut, or click on the "File" tab and press "Save" to save this PDF file.

delete metadata pdf


Part 5: Which is the Best PDF Metadata Remover?

PDF metadata removal is essentially a security action, so you need a tool that can offer other security features to further protect your PDF file and its contents.

Online services are great for this purpose but most tools will only allow you to remove the metadata, not apply other security protocols such as passwords or redaction. In addition, even if the website itself is secure, your Internet connection may not be, especially if you’re on a public Wi-Fi hotspot or a shared computer.

For these and other reasons, we recommend a proper desktop editor such as PDFelement. Not only can you view and edit PDF metadata to remove it, but you can also perform the following actions on the same file:

  • Apply PDF password protection to prevent access or restrict operations such as printing, copying, and editing
  • Add a digital signature to validate the authenticity of the document as well as the author
  • Permanently redact sensitive information using the versatile redaction tools


Part 6: Why Do We Sometimes Need To Remove Metadata?

Since PDF files are typically distributed to wide audiences online or via email, some of the information about the file may not be suitable for such distribution. For the content within the PDF, redaction can be used, but since PDF metadata is not visible within the file, it may need to be removed using a specialized tool. Some of the reasons to remove PDF metadata include:

  • Document security - Certain data about the file may not be required for the target audience
  • Information regarding the author or other details may be sensitive
  • It’s easy to edit the meta data with the right tools, which may lead to unauthorized tampering

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Audrey Goodwin

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