When it comes to PDF documents I’m not really one that likes to read them online. If they’re only about 10 or 15 pages I’ll go ahead and print them out to read later on when I’m away from my computer. However, some people remove the ability to print a PDF when it is created.
I’m against that sort of thing because if I can open and read the PDF, then I should be able to print it for reference later on. When I received a PDF last week that was like this I was determined to find a way to get around it.
Some ways I found included taking a screenshot of the whole document and then printing out the image, but that seemed like way too much work for both me and my printer (printing an image is much more intensive than printing a PDF). Then I found the exact freeware application that I was looking for: PDF Unlocker!
Unfortunately the homepage was removed for this program, but I was still able to find it on Download.com (Download Mirror). It removes 40 or 128–bit passwords from a PDF, including the one preventing you from printing, but you must be able to view the PDF. By that I mean the whole PDF can’t be password protected.
Here is an example document that I created with a screenshot of Google’s homepage. The red boxes show that printing has been disabled and that the document is considered “secure”:
After you get it setup here is what you want to do:
- Download and install PDF Unlocker.
- The installation should have created a shortcut on the desktop that has a key for an icon. Drag your protected PDF onto that icon:
- Now a screen will quickly flash, it doesn’t require any interaction on your part so just wait for the screen to disappear before proceeding:
- There will now be another PDF file in the same location as the protected one, and the only difference is the new one has “_no PW” attached on to the end of the filename. Double click on the new PDF to open it:
- Now enjoy all of the features that had been removed from the document, such as printing and page extraction (a.k.a. copy and paste functionality)!
Even though the process here is listed as being 5 steps, it will really only take a few seconds for you to complete it. This program has removed the burden and hassle of being able to only read certain PDF’s on my computer, so I thought that this was something that I had to share.
Of course, I guess I should say that you are not to use this in any illegal ways…yada yada. You know the drill.