How to Password protect a PDF

2020-06-09 - 4 min read

An average office worker uses around 10,000 sheets of paper each year — an amount that takes one standard pine tree to produce. Now imagine how many trees are cut down annually to meet the global demand.

Luckily, with the birth of PDF, most of the printable documents moved into our computers. It not only saves billions of trees but lets easily share content across different operating systems. If your PDF contains sensitive information, it’s best to set a password so that nobody could view it.

How to password-protect a PDF on macOS

macOS has the built-in Preview app that lets you password-protect a PDF in a couple of steps:

  1. Go to the Preview app on your Mac.

  2. Select File > Open and choose the PDF you want to protect.

  3. Click on File > Export and check the Encrypt box.

  4. Type a password, retype it, and click Save.

If you want to share your PDF with other people, you’ll have to hand them the password too. NordPass lets you securely share your logins, credit card details, and notes with people you trust.

How to password-protect a PDF on Windows

Unlike macOS, Windows don’t have any built-in tools to encrypt a PDF. However, MS Office users can password-protect their PDFs with Word:

  1. Open your PDF in Word.

  2. Click the File menu and select Save as.

  3. Choose a file location and change Save as type from Word to PDF.

  4. Click the Option button at the bottom.

  5. Check the box Encrypt the document with a password and click OK.

  6. Click Save.

How to password-protect a PDF on Adobe Acrobat

Adobe Acrobat users can not only password-protect a PDF from viewing but also restrict editing, copying, and printing content:

  1. Open your PDF.

  2. Choose File > Protect Using Password.

  3. Select if you want to protect your PDF from viewing or editing.

  4. Type and retype your password.

  5. Click Apply.

How to password-protect a PDF on Foxit Reader

Foxit Reader is a free tool to view, edit, digitally sign, and print PDF files. Here’s how to set a password on a PDF:

  1. Open your PDF.

  2. Select Tools > Protect > Encrypt > Password Protect.

  3. Check Require a password to open the document option.

  4. Type your password.

  5. Select an encryption algorithm and click OK.

  6. Save your file.

Uploading a password-protected PDF to Google Drive

Since your Google account is already secured with a password, Drive doesn’t support any built-in password protection tools. However, you can upload an encrypted PDF file to your Drive for extra security:

  1. Click New in the top left corner on your Google Drive.

  2. Select File Upload.

  3. Choose your file and click Open.

Choosing a strong password

“Password123” is probably the most common password in the world, and many people still don’t understand how weak it is. If you take your PDF security seriously, make sure to choose a strong password containing numbers, special characters as well as lower-case and upper-case letters. Or let the NordPass password generator take care of it.

The NordPass app creates long, scrambled passwords, stores them securely in a digital vault, and allows sharing them with the people you trust. Whenever you need your passwords, they are all in one place with top-notch encryption keeping any prying eyes away.

Monica Webster
Monica Webster
Verified author
Monica is the spirit of our content team. Her bubbliness and creativity sparkle her articles. She loves to investigate various security related problems and bring useful tips to readers. When she is not writing about technology, she explores art.
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