Guaranteeing safety in this day and age can be quite tricky but doing your bit with strategies like password-protecting your PDFs can add an additional layer of protection in case your information does fall into the wrong places. Many transactional documents and contracts contain sensitive information and they pass multiple hands in some cases, even when the information is meant for only some of them. By learning to secure PDF documents, you can ensure that only those who are authorized to access the information are able to open up the documents and peruse their contents. If you want to know how to encrypt PDFs in order to keep their contents private, then the Adobe Acrobat program has a paid solution to make it possible but even without a subscription, it’s not impossible to do.

Password protect PDF

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How to Password Protect a PDF

The easiest way to password-protect a PDF document is through the Adobe Acrobat Program but it comes at a cost. If you want to subscribe to the Acrobat Standard plan, then it costs $12.99 USD per month for an annual, monthly-paid plan. The annual prepaid plan adds up to $155.88 USD per year. The monthly subscription to the same service is priced at $22.99 USD per month. There is the Acrobat Pro plan available that is more expensive and comes with more features, but you do not need to subscribe to it just for the password protection feature.

If you want to secure PDF documents in the present and have no immediate plans for reusing the feature, you can use the 7-day trial of the Adobe Acrobat standard plan to get access to the service for the next week. As long as you cancel the plan within the next few days, you should not have to incur any costs for password-protecting your PDFs. If you already have a paid Adobe Acrobat account, you can directly get started with the PDF encryption process.

  • Open the document you want to add password protection to
  • Click on the Menu option in the upper left corner of your screen
  • A box will appear and ask “Requires users to enter a password for Viewing, Editing.” This will let you select whether the password will be requested on opening the document or when the user tries to modify it
  • Once you choose between the two options, type a strong password into the field provided
  • Re-type the password and select Apply
  • You’re document should now be password protected but you can reopen the document to verify it just in case

Alternatively, when starting the process, you can also click on the tool option below the Menu tab. As you move down the menu, the “Protect a PDF” option should also help you with PDF encryption.

Creating a PDF Password Online

If you don’t have a paid account and do not want to go through the hassle of getting a subscription, then you can just learn how to encrypt the PDF online. The downside to this is that the document does have to be uploaded to the server online, so there is a minor risk of exposing it to the very online players you’re trying to protect the document contents from. If you find the risk to be too small to cause worry, then the Adobe Acrobat Password Protection Online service is entirely free to use.

  • Open up the website and click on the menu in the left corner
  • Click on “PDF & E-Signatures,” then “Online Tools,” and finally find the “View All Tools” option
  • Scroll down to the “Sign & Protect” option and click on the “Try now” button under Protect PDF
  • there should be a prompt on your screen to upload a file
  • Drag and drop the PDF into the space provided or click on “Select a File” to locate the PDF
  • An icon with your document should be visible on the screen along with space to add a password
  • Type out a password and reconfirm that you have it written correctly
  • A bar at the bottom should be visible to indicate how strong the password is to ensure that it turns green
  • Then click on “Set Password” to complete the process of adding a PDF password online

The document should be saved in your system, and anyone who tries to access it will need a password to do it. These documents may still be vulnerable to some decryption methods so it is still essential to transfer the document from one person to the next carefully. 

Tools like PDFEncrypt and also give you the option of securing your PDF document, but the legitimacy of such services is difficult to determine—consider using them at your own risk. Proton Drive, Sookasa, NordLocker, and other encrypted storage services allow you to store files on the cloud and create links that you can share selectively with those who need to access them. While this doesn’t specifically add a password to the document itself, the sharing of the file can be monitored more easily, providing you with a way to preserve sensitive information.

 Now that you know how to encrypt a PDF, you should be able to exchange confidential documents without breaking a sweat.