How to Password Protect a PDF File for Free in 4 Simple Ways

Aug 14, 2019 17:35. Posted by to Tutorials

If you work with PDF files frequently, then at some point you may need to password protect a PDF file to protect the information contained in that PDF document. Fortunately, PDF has native support for encryption, which allows the owner adding a password to it.. Whether you are now running Windows 10 or macOS, there are several methods to attach open password to PDF files. We will walk you through the steps on how to password-protect PDFs in the section below.

Method 1: Password Protect PDF File with SmallPDF Online Service

There are tons of online providers out there who are offering online service to password-protect PDF files. However, not all of them are trusted as some are just scams to take your money. We recommend you using SmallPDF, a reliable and fast PDF password protection tool. The best part is that it is free to use.


SmallPDF is not just about password-protecting PDF files as it can do a lot more. In reality, it also supports Excel to PDF, JPG to PDF, PPT to PDF, and many more. To password-protect your PDF files with smallPDF online, you can follow our guide below.


Step 1: Open a browser and head over to this link, then click on Choose File or drag and drop your files into the page.


Step 2: From here, select a PDF file stored on your PC, and then click Open.


Step 3: Now input a password twice, which is the password to open the PDF file later. Once you are done, click on ENCRYPT PDF and it will start uploading the PDF to remote server and add a password to it with 128 bit AES encryption.


Password Protect PDF with SmallPDF


Step 4: Once the file has been encrypted, then you can download the file to your computer's local drive or save it to Google Drive or Dropbox.


Method 2: Add Password to PDF via Microsoft Word

Microsoft Office is equipped with built-in encryption features in Word, Excel and PowerPoint. It allows you to encrypt your PDF files stored on your computer without the need for an additional software to be installed on your device. The process is pretty simple and you can follow our guide below.


Step 1: Locate the PDF file, then open it in Word, and hit OK from the pop-up window.


Step 2: Next up, click on File and select Save As from the drop-down menu.


Step 3: Choose PDF from the Save as type: pull-down menu and name the PDF file.


Save Word as PDF


Step 4: Click Options and check the box next to Encrypt the document with a password at the bottom.


Step 5: Choose OK, then insert the password for your PDF file and choose OK. Now, select where you save your PDF file and hit the Save button.


Add Password to PDF via Word


Method 3: How to Password Protect a PDF Using Foxit PhantomPDF

Foxit PhantomPDF is a popular and powerful PDF editor similar to Adobe Acrobat but with cheaper price. It comes with a default feature to password protect a PDF. It also lets you organize PDF files and pages. Indeed, you can quickly extract and delete any PDF file without restrictions. Once you makes a change to your file, Foxit automatically highlights that change to identify the differences.


Step 1: Download Foxit Phantom PDF and install it on a PC.


Step 2: Launch it on your computer, then click on Protect and choose Secure Documents.


Step 3: Next up, select Password Protect. From here, select the PDF file you wish to set a password for, and insert your desired password.


Step 4: Save the change. Now, the PDF is protected with a open password.


Password Protect PDF with Foxit PDF Editor



Method 4: Password Protect PDF with PDFExpert on Mac

For Mac users, there are much less options available because most of the PDF apps are only distributed on Windows. So adding password to PDF on Mac is more challenging. Fortunately, there is an awesome Mac app called PDF Expert that can help you encrypt PDF file. It is another reliable tool that lets you password-protect your PDF files. You can also edit texts, images, and links as well as merge multiple files into one document.


Step 1: Download PDF Expert for Mac from its website and then open it.


Step 2: Open the PDF you wish to set a password for, then click on File at the top menu and select Set Password.


Step 3: Now enter the password and verify it. Once you are done, proceed with clicking on the Set button. Your PDF file will be encrypted and you will need to insert the password the next time you access it.


Password Protect PDF via PDF Expert on Mac


Wrapping Up

Password-protecting a PDF has become much easier than before thanks to a handful of software and apps. This helps you secure your important files from hackers and malware attacks. If you have got a favorite, let us know.

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