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unlocking pdf for copying

PDF files with no restrictions whatsoever are very convenient to work with. You can freely copy, edit or print the content. However, if you have a bunch of permission-locked PDF files, it can easily disrupt your workflow and have you looking for solutions to bypass certain restrictions.

Is there an easy way to do it and save precious time? Yes, there are actually two ways to unlock your PDF for copying.

Before you see how you unlock PDF for copy, let's see what exactly is PDF copy protection and why you should unlock it for copying.

In this article
    1. Use PDFelement To Unlock PDF for Copying
    2. With Adobe Acrobat Pro
  1. [Bonus] Different Types of PDF Copy Protection
    1. Access control
    2. Streamlined workflow
    3. Collaboration

How To Unlock PDFs for Copying

Here are two proven methods to unlock your PFDs and be able to copy the content inside.

Method 1: Use PDFelement To Unlock PDF for Copying

You can remove copy restrictions on a PDF file with a powerful PDF editing tool. One of the best tools on the market to do it with is PDFelement.

PDFelement is a powerful solution for unlocking PDFs for copying. It enables users to quickly and easily remove any form of password protection from their documents and make them available to everyone.


With its simple drag-and-drop feature, users can access the content they need without any hassle. And best of all, PDFelement also has a convenient selection tool that allows you to select multiple areas of text or images in just one click. This makes it a great tool for copying and allows you to save time when copying lots of text or images at once.

Here is what you need to do to complete the process.

Step1Download and Install PDFelement

Go to the official PDFelement website. Click on the Download button in the top screen menu to download the tool.

Now you need to complete the installation. Simply start the installation file you've downloaded and complete the installation wizard.

installing pdfelement on device
Step2Open a protected PDF file with PDFelement

Start PDFelements and click on the Edit located in the Quick Tools tab. Find the PDF file you want to edit, select it, and click the Open button.

opening pdf file in pdfelement

Now click the Enable Editing button and enter the password to enable document editing.

permission password
Step3Remove password

To remove the password and unlock the PDF for copying, go to the "Protec" located in the main menu and click on "Set Password." Uncheck the checkbox before Open Password to unlock PDF for copying permanently.

password setting

Method 2: With Adobe Acrobat Pro

Step1Download and Install Adobe Acrobat Pro

Head to the official Adobe website, download and install Adobe Acrobat Pro.

Step2Open the protected PDF file

Open Adobe Acrobat Pro, navigate to "File>Open", find your locked PDF file, and click the Open button to open it.

opening PDF file in adobe acrobat pro
Step3Remove copy protection

Go to Tools in the main menu. Navigate to Protect > MoreOptioons > Remove Security. Type your password in the Enter Password box and click the OK button. Now you can copy secured PDF content.

unlocking pdf for copying in adobe

[Bonus] Different Types of PDF Copy Protection

unlocking protected pdf

There are two ways to protect PDF files. First, you can add a user PDF password or an open password. This password locks the entire document and asks you to enter the password in order to open it. The other option to protect PDF files is to add an owner PDF password.

When adding an owner PDF password, you can choose what you want to enable/disable for the document in question. You can restrict users from copying the content, editing the file, or printing the document.

Simply put, PDF copy protection is a way to prevent people from being able to plagiarize your content. Besides copyright protection, PDF copy protection is used to protect digital signatures in PDF business documents such as contracts.

Benefits of Unlocking a PDF for Copying

Why should you remove copy protection from PDFs? There are many reasons. Let's see what the most common ones are for users to strip copy protection from their PDF documents.

Access control

Removing the owner's PDF password can help you adhere to new access control policies in your workplace. You can give everyone with access to the PDF document the right to copy the content. Removing the copy protection on your personal PDF files can also improve access control as you will no longer need to enter a password whenever you want to copy the content.

Streamlined workflow

The streamlined workflow goes hand in hand with better access control. If you have just one PDF file with copy protection, then it's not much of a hassle to enter a password now and then to get copy permission. However, if you are dealing with dozens of PDFs that need to be unlocked, copying every time with a password becomes a time-consuming inconvenience.


Unlocking your PDFs for copying can also improve collaboration with colleagues or peers. You won't have to go through copy-unlocking requests. Instead, you can focus on your work and enable collaboration.


Dealing with locked PDF files can be tiring, especially at scale. That's precisely why many users decide to remove copy protection from PDFs. If you decide to unlock PDF for copy, you should know that you have two proven methods you can use to achieve it.

Whether you decide to use Adobe Acrobat Pro or PDFelement, you will be able to remove copy protection from your PDF files in a few simple steps.

Audrey Goodwin
Audrey Goodwin Apr 24, 24
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12 years of talent acquired in the software industry working with large publishers. Public speaker and author of several eBooks on technical writing and editing.