Top 3 Solutions to Password Protect PDFs in Seconds

PDF is probably the most-used file format to share information today. However, that brings an element of risk because a lot of businesses use PDF to hold confidential information about their operations, finances, HR data, and so on. You might have asked the question: How do I password protect a PDF to safeguard the data? To answer that question, the best way is to learn how to password protect a PDF before sharing it via email or uploading it to the web. The purpose of this is to restrict access to authorized personnel only and avoid leakage of sensitive or private information and data to others.

This article shows you the best three ways to password protect PDF and keep your information safe from prying eyes.

How to Password Protect PDF Mac and Windows with PDFelement

As a robust PDF editor, PDFelement offers a whole range of features to protect PDF documents and their content. These features collectively take care of the privacy, confidentiality, and security of your information when it is in PDF form. In summary, here are the important security features that PDF element offers. Below that is a detailed description of each feature:

  • Password-based encryption and Permissions
  • Digital Signature
  • Redaction
  • Watermark

Password and Permissions

This feature allows you to encrypt PDF files using passwords that you can set from within PDFelement. Any person receiving that document will need to enter the correct password to open and view the contents of the file. This enables you to keep tight security around who can access the PDF.

The Permissions feature lets you set password-based restrictions for copying, printing, editing, and other actions. When this feature is turned on and a password is applied, only people with knowledge of that password will be able to bypass the restrictions on the actions mentioned. This feature ensures content integrity because unauthorized people will not be allowed to make changes, copy the information, or print out the document.

Digital Signature

A digital signature, also referred to as an electronic signature, is an element that can be added to a document instead of printing it out and physically signing it. Since the digital signature is legally valid in most countries, it is widely used to sign contracts, agreements, and other official documentation.


In some cases, you may have seen that some of the content in a PDF file is blacked-out. This is called redaction, and it allows the user to ‘mask’ certain private or confidential text and other elements in a document that is being circulated to a wider audience. Redaction is a useful feature because the process is irreversible, which means nobody can go in and ‘un-redact’ those parts, ensuring that the masked content remains inaccessible.


Watermarking is commonly used to protect users from copyright violations. A watermark can either be text such as ‘confidential’ or ‘private’, or an image such as a company logo. Watermarks show the user that the content cannot be used by anyone else without permission from the owner.

Now, let’s look at how to password-protect a PDF document with just a few clicks using PDFelement.

1. Open the PDF to be protected

Open the document with PDFelement. 

In the Protect tab, you’ll see various security options. 

One of these is the password icon. Click on that.

2. Select Open Password

You will see a Password Security window with a section for Open Password and Permissions.

Check the box below the first option and enter your password twice.

You can also check the second box under the Permissions section and enter a different password there to prevent others from printing, copying, or making changes.

Click OK to confirm.

Once you lock a file and apply restrictions with these passwords, it can only be opened or modified with the appropriate password.

More about PDFelement

PDFelement is a feature-rich PDF editor that offers several important functions for you to manage your documents. Some of the features include:

PDF Editing

A wide selection of tools is available to edit text, images, links, objects, headers and footers, watermarks, page numbers, comments, etc.

Annotate PDFs

There are several tools to review and comment on a document. This allows you to give clear instructions and feedback to other collaborators working on the same file. Markup tools include highlighting, text boxes, shapes, stamps, etc.

Create PDF

Easily create PDF documents from a blank page or by converting other formats into PDF. PDFelement supports an exhaustive list of format types to create PDFs.

PDF Conversion

Users can convert PDF to several useful formats such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel, HTML, image files, ePub, and so on. This allows the content to be edited in their native applications. They can be converted back to PDF when required.

PDF Security

We have seen the impressive capabilities of PDFelement when it comes to security. These features are essential for business users as well as to maintain personal privacy.

Organize PDFs

Reordering pages, rotating them, removing and adding them, and doing similar actions requires just a few clicks of the mouse. You can also merge or split PDFs, extract pages, crop the content, resize the files for sharing, and much more.

Forms Management

PDFelement makes managing complex form workflows simple to handle. You can create, fill, convert and extract forms, pull out data from predefined form fields, and do a lot of other actions. Advanced form field recognition helps you convert non-editable forms into fillable PDFs.

Advanced Functions

The software also boasts pro functions such as OCR text recognition, batch processes, Bates Numbering, etc. With these features, you can speed up your workflows and become more productive and efficient.

PDFelement is also a lot more affordable than Adobe Acrobat, while offering nearly all the same features on a much smoother user interface. Now, let’s look at how to apply a password for opening a PDF and making changes using the market leader, Adobe Acrobat DC.

Password Protect a PDF File with Adobe Acrobat DC

Acrobat is probably the world’s most popular PDF editor. It’s been around for nearly two decades and is one of the highly evolved software applications in this category of applications. Although the UI is not as polished as some of the newer PDF editors, it offers a rich collection of powerful functions, including PDF security.

Adding a password for access or permissions is an easy task with Adobe Acrobat DC. The process is explained below:

1. Open The File In Acrobat And Go To The Tools Section

Under the Tools section, you will see various options. Click the one that says Protect.

2. Choose Encrypt With Password

At the top of the document, in the Protect bar, click on Encrypt and then select the option that says Encrypt with Password.

3. Change Security Settings

To set an Open Password, choose the option for ‘Require a password to open the document. 

When you see the Password Security Settings window, tick the checkbox and enter the password to open the file.

To set a Permissions Password, tick the option that says ‘Restrict editing and printing of the document’, then alter the settings for the types of permissions to be restricted, and enter the new password.

Click OK on the main Security Settings page when you’re done.

Using these steps, you can password protect any PDF file with Adobe Acrobat DC.

How to Password Protect a PDF with HiPDF

HiPDF is an online, web-based collection of PDF tools for editing, conversions, security, and other PDF actions. It offers a quick way to manage your PDF files without having to download or installing heavy software. At the same time, it gives you the full range of options that you would normally get with a feature-rich PDF editor like Acrobat or PDFelement. The biggest advantage is that everything is done online, which means you can access the service from anywhere.

Here’s How To Password Protect PDF Free Using HiPDF:

1. Go to HiPDF Protect PDF web page

Head to the URL for the Protect PDF page of HiPDF by clicking this link.

2. Upload Your PDF file

Drag your PDF file to the space provided or click the Choose File button to import it.

3. Enter A Password

Set a new password by entering it into the field provided.

Click on Encrypt

4. Download The File

Your file is now encrypted, so you can download it. The password you set in the previous step will open the document.


All three solutions to protect your PDFs with passwords are powerful utilities that offer a wide array of added functions. Using these tools, you can easily protect your documents and the content inside. Your choice depends on what’s more important to you. PDFelement offers a slick interface with advanced features, Adobe Acrobat DC offers a familiar environment with a lot of tools, and HiPDF offers an easy way to access PDF tools from any computer with an Internet connection. Try all three and see what works