PDFelement: PDF Editor, Scanner
Edit, Convert, Annotate PDF
Edit, Annotate PDF
how to unlock a signed pdf

Do you do your paperwork in a hurry? Don't worry about it - we all do. But we do have a suggestion - this time, don't wait for the eleventh hour to google "how do I unlock a signed PDF for editing" in a panic. Take a moment to read this guide instead.

In the next few minutes, we'll explain how to unlock a PDF after signing it - whether or not you have a password. But first, what exactly are signed PDF documents, and why should you definitely inscribe your PDFs with your name in digital handwriting?

In this article
  1. Why You Might Need To Unlock PDFs
    1. Use PDF Password Remover To Unlock the Signed PDF
    1. Use PDFelement To Unlock a Signed PDF
    2. Use HiPDF To Unlock the Signed PDF Online
  2. [Bonus] More Information About Signed PDF Files

Why You Might Need To Unlock PDFs

Adding a signature to your PDF files helps you confirm your copyright ownership and verifies to readers that you are the author of your documents.

In addition to adding your signature, you might want to protect your PDFs with a password. PDF files support two types of passwords. The so-called Open password is only for opening and reading the document, while the Permission password regulates editing, printing, and sharing rights. Many PDF owners use both password types for added security.

Can you sign your PDF file and lock it with a password, too?

Of course. If you are the author of a PDF document, you can choose to protect its content with your digital signature and both types of passwords. And when you need to edit, print, or share your PDF, you can quickly and easily unlock it with passwords.

If you want to add or remove a digital signature from your password-protected PDF, you must unlock it first. Using one of the methods described below, you can unlock any signed PDF if you have a password - and in rare cases - even if you don't.

How To Unlock a Signed PDF Without a Password

how to unlock pdf after signing

While useful, PDF password protection can be a huge nuisance. You must remember and manage a different password - often two - for each document. Sooner or later, you'll start forgetting your passwords and losing access to your PDFs.

Don't worry. You can still open a signed PDF without a password.

Use PDF Password Remover To Unlock the Signed PDF

PDF Password Remover is one of the best tools for unlocking signed PDF files. If you want to edit, print, or share the content of a signed PDF or even remove the digital signature, this tool allows you to do that without a Permission password.

However, you'll need the Open password to access your PDF if it's protected with one. PDF Password Remover is useful if you forget the Permission password, but it can't help you do anything if you don't have the Open password to the file.

Here's how to unlock a signed PDF with PDF Password Remover:


Download the PDF Password Remover and set it up on your PC.


Run the program and add the PDF file you want to unlock.

import pdf

Below the list of added files, you'll see an option to choose the Output Folder, where your unlocked PDF file will be saved. Select your preferred destination and click Start.

unlock signed pdf step three

Wait for the PDF Password Remover to finish unlocking the file. After it's done, you can find the unlocked PDF in your selected output folder.

How To Unlock If You Have the Unlock Password

If you have the password to unlock your signed PDF file, you're already halfway done. In this case, the only other thing you need is a professional PDF tool such as PDFelement. On top of helping you unlock signed PDFs, PDFelement is a go-to solution for any task involving the creation, authorship, editing, converting, printing, and sharing of PDF files.

In case you need a one-time solution to help you unlock a signed PDF file for editing, printing, or something third, HiPDF offers a good alternative. Unlike PDFelement, it is entirely online-based, so you can access it from any device.

Use PDFelement To Unlock a Signed PDF 

Unlocking signed PDFs with PDFelement is as easy as signing one. Don't forget that this method requires you to have a password for your PDF file. If you don't have the Open password, you won't be able to access it or edit it without the Permission password.

If you have your password, just follow these steps:


Download PDFelement and install it on your device.


Run the editor and open the desired file by clicking on Open PDF. You can also drag and drop any PDF file to PDFelement.


If the file is protected with an Open password, type it in to access the PDF. Then, navigate to the Protect tab in the upper left corner. From there, go to the Set Password tab in the bar below.

permission password

Uncheck the Open Password first. Next, type in the Permission Password and uncheck that box as well. This will give you editing rights to the PDF, including copying, printing, and removing the signature.


(Optional) If you want to remove the digital signature using this tool, you can do that only if the signature was added with PDFelement.

Navigate to the Protect tab and then click the Manage Signatures tab in the bar below. To remove a PDF signature, Click on Clear All Signatures.

pdfelement unlock signed pdf 5

Use HiPDF To Unlock the Signed PDF Online

HiPDF Unlock PDF is a convenient solution to unlock your signed PDFs on the go. It is an online tool that is fast, user-friendly, and entirely free. On top of the unlock feature, HiPDF also comes with a PDF editor, converter, and compressor.

To unlock a signed PDF online, simply follow this guide:


Go to HiPDF's official website and upload the PDF you want to unlock.

compress hipdf remove

Type in the password and let the program unlock the document.

compress hipdf enter password

Click Download to get the unlocked PDF file and use it on your device.

compress hipdf download removed pdf

[Bonus] More Information About Signed PDF Files

unlock signed pdf step by step

Signed PDFs are PDF documents with a digital signature - but you've probably figured out that one yourself. In the digital environment, an electronic signature is the equivalent of a hand signature on a physical document. Even though they can be added to other file types, too, digital signatures are especially important when you're using PDFs.

Why do you need to sign your PDF documents?

Experts recommend signing your PDFs as a security measure.

A digital signature works as another layer of protection around PDF content in case of copyright infringement or theft. If your PDF gets intercepted or stolen, your signature will prevent malicious actors from modifying or claiming the document.

That is crucial if your PDF files are legally binding contracts or confidential documents that might compromise you or your business.

Are there any other benefits of signed PFDs?

If not for security, you should use PDF signatures for convenience and efficiency. Instead of printing out every document that needs to be signed by you or somebody else and then scanning the signed document, you can simply inscribe it digitally.

Adding signatures to PDFs is easy, presuming you have a professional PDF tool. Depending on the device, you can create your digital signature with an electronic pen or by using your finger. Then, you can simply add it to your PDF editor, where you can encrypt and store it for later use. It's a quick and eco-friendly alternative to physical signing.


PDF is a popular file format because it is easy to create, edit, and manage. It's a natural request to be able to sign, lock, unlock, and unsign your PDFs in only a few steps. That's so simple to do with tools like PDF Password Remover, PDFelement, and HiPDF.

Audrey Goodwin
Audrey Goodwin Apr 24, 24
Share article:
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.