The bank sends me monthly credit card statements as password-protected PDF files mostly because they contain personal information. I archive these PDFs into Google Drive but, because these files are protected with a password, the text isn’t searchable inside Drive. Also, each PDF file has a different password so it’s impossible to remember them and takes just too much to find these PDFs later.

pdf password

Removing Password from a PDF File

Since the Google Drive is already protected with 2 layers of security – password and 2-factor authentication – it should be OK if we remove the password protection from PDF files before uploading them to Drive.

Is there any software program available that can remove password protection from PDF files? One that doesn’t cost a dime and works on both Mac and Windows? Well the answer is yes and that too is already installed on your computer. It’s called Google Chrome.

Google Chrome has a built-in PDF reader* and a PDF writer and we can combine the two features to remove the password from any PDF document. Let’s see how:

  1. Drag any password protected PDF file into your Google Chrome browser. If you can’t find one, use this sample PDF file – the open password is “labnol” without the quotes.
  2. Google Chrome will now prompt you to enter the password of the file. Enter the password and hit Enter to open the file.
  3. Now go to the File menu in Google Chrome and choose Print (or press Ctrl+P on Windows or Cmd+P on Mac). Choose the destination printer as “Save as PDF” and click the Save button.

Google Chrome will now save the PDF to your desktop but without the password protection. If you re-open this PDF in Chrome, it would no longer require a password to open. Thank you Ivan Sunga for the tip.

Alternatively, if you have enabled Google Cloud Print, you can choose the destination as “Save to Google Drive” in the print dialog and the unprotected version of the PDF will be sent straight to your Google Drive from Chrome.

Remove PDF Password with Chrome

[*] Open the special page chrome://plugins and enable the option that says “Chrome PDF Viewer” to let Chrome natively handle PDF files.

Remove PDF Passwords without Chrome

If you are not a Google Chrome user, download this free Windows utility called BeCyPDFMetaEdit to remove passwords from PDF files.

First launch the program and it will ask your for the location of the PDF file. Before you select and open the PDF, change the mode to “Complete Rewrite,” then switch to the Security tab and set the “Security System” to “No encryption.” Click the Save button and your PDF will no longer require a password to open.

See more tools for editing PDF files.