How to Password Protect a PDF File for Free (7 Easy Ways)

how to password protect a pdf file

This tutorial will show you step by step how to password protect a PDF file for free in a few different ways using software and online services.

Contents

Lock (encrypt) a PDF file for free using:

Related: How to Password Protect Files & Folders with Encryption

How to Password Protect a PDF File for Free using LibreOffice

LibreOffice is a free complete office suite which contains Writer (word processing), Calc (spreadsheets), Impress (presentations), Draw (vector graphics and flowcharts), Base (databases), and Math (formula editing).

LibreOffice is the most used free office suite and it's a full-fledged replacement of Microsoft Office.

You can download LibreOffice here.

1. Open LibreOffice.

2. Click on "Open File" located at the top left.

3. Go to the location on your computer where the PDF file is stored that you want to protect with a password.

4. Select the PDF file and click on "Open".

5. Click on "File" located at the top left.

6. Click on "Export as PDF".

7. Click on the "Security" tab.

8. Click on "Set Passwords".

9. Type your password.

enter password for pdf in libreoffice

10. Click on "OK".

11. You will have a few optional options on the left side which you can change if you want.

12. Click on "Export" located at the bottom right.

13. Select a location on your computer where you want to save the PDF file.

14. At "File name:", you can change the name of your PDF file.

15. Click on "Save".

LibreOffice will now encrypt your PDF file.

How to Password Protect a PDF File for Free using PDF Creator

You can download PDF Creator here.

Warning: pay attention during the installation of this software, because they might offer you other unnecessary additional software.

1. Open PDF Creator.

2. Click on "PROFILES" located in the top menu.

3. Go to the left panel and check the box located next to "Encryption".

enable encryption in pdf creator

4. Go to "Password" and check the box located next to "Require a password to open the PDF document".

enable password protection in pdf creator

5. Click on the "Set Passwords" button.

6. Type a owner password (for editing) and a user password (for opening). You can also type a password twice.

type a passwords for pdf file in pdf creator

7. Click on the "OK" button to save your passwords.

8. Go to "Encryption Level" and select "Medium (128 Bit AES)".

9. At "Allow the user", located at the bottom, you can select what the user can do with the PDF document.

10. When you're done, you click on the "Save" button located at the bottom right.

Now you will be brought to the home screen of PDF Creator.

11. At the Home screen, you click on the "Choose a File to convert" button.

This will open Windows Explorer.

12. Go to the location on your computer where the PDF file is stored that you want to lock with a password.

13. Select the PDF file and click on "Open".

14. At "Filename", you enter a name for your file.

15. At "Folder", you can see and change the location on your PC where your PDF file will be saved.

16. You can enter a title, author, subject and keywords if you like.

17. When you're done, you click on the "Save" button located at the bottom right.

PDF Creator will now encrypt your PDF file.

How to Password Protect a PDF File for Free using PrimoPDF

You can download PrimoPDF here (via MajorGeeks.com).

PrimoPDF installs itself as a virtual printer in the Windows Printers and Faxes device group. This allows any software with print functionality to output files to PrimoPDF for quick and easy PDF conversion.

1. Open the PDF file (you want to protect with a password) in your PDF reader (e.g. Adobe Acrobat Reader, Foxit Reader, Nitro Reader, Google Chrome, Opera, etc.).

You can also open your PDF in a few web browsers, such as Google Chrome, Opera and Microsoft Edge.

To open a PDF document in your web browser, you will need to right-click on your file, go to "Open with" and then choose your web browser (e.g. Google Chrome).

2. Press the [ctrl] + [P] keys on your keyboard to open a "Print" dialog.

3. Select "PrimoPDF" as printer.

select primopdf

4. Click on the "OK" or "Print" button.

This will open PrimoPDF.

5. Click next to "PDF Security" on the "Change" button.

enable pdf security in primopdf

6. Check the box located under "Open Password" and next to "Require a password to open the document".

7. Type your password twice in the two password fields.

type password for pdf file in primopdf

8. You can also set a password at "Permissions" if you want. This will allow the user to change security settings and access specific functions.

9. When you're done, you click on "OK".

10. Click on the "Create PDF" button located at the bottom of PrimoPDF.

11. Select a location on your PC where you want to save the PDF file.

12. At "File name:", you type a name for your PDF file.

13. Click on "Save".

PrimoPDF will now encrypt your PDF file.

How to Password Protect a PDF File for Free using PDFMate

You can download PDFMate Free PDF Merger here (Windows version) and here (Mac version).

1. Open PDFMate Free PDF Merger.

2. Click on "Add Files" located at the top left.

This will open Windows Explorer.

3. Go to the location on your computer where the PDF file is stored that you want to protect with a password.

4. Select the PDF file and click on "Open".

5. Go to "Security" located at the bottom right of the program and check the box next at "Open Password".

6. Type your password into the field.

type password for pdf file in pdfmate

You have also the option to add a permission password below, if needed.

7. At "Output Path" located at the bottom left, you can view and change the file name and the location on your PC where the PDF file will be saved.

8. When you're done, you click on the "Build" button located at the bottom right.

PDFMate will now encrypt your PDF file.

How to Password Protect a PDF File for Free using 7-Zip

7-Zip is a free program for compressing files and extracting compressed (zipped) files.

But:

You can also use for password protecting (encrypting) PDF files.

You can download 7-Zip here.

1. Go to the location on your computer where the PDF file is stored that you want to protect with a password.

2. Right-click on the PDF file, go to "7-Zip" and choose "Add to archive".

add pdf file to archive in 7-zip

3. Go to "Archive format" and select "zip".

4. At "Encryption", you will need to type your password twice.

5. At "Encryption method", you select "AES-256".

enter password and select encryption method in 7-zip

6. Click on "OK" located at the bottom right.

7-Zip will now zip and encrypt your PDF file.

How to Password Protect a PDF File Online for Free using PDFProtect

You can also use PDFMerge, because it works exactly the same as PDFProtect.

1. Go to www.pdfprotect.net.

Or go to https://www.pdfmerge.com/protect-pdf/.

2. Click on "My Computer".

3. Go to the location on your computer where the PDF file is stored that you want to lock with a password.

4. Select the PDF file and click on "Open".

5. Type your password in the "Password" field.

6. Click on the "Protect!" button.

password protect a pdf online using pdfprotect

PDFProtect or PDFMerge will now upload your PDF file and encrypt it with your password.

When it's done it will start downloading your password protected PDF file.

Your PDF file is now protected with a password (encrypted).

How to Password Protect a PDF File Online for Free using SmallPDF

1. Go to https://smallpdf.com/protect-pdf.

2. Click on "Choose file".

choose file option on smallpdf

3. Go to the location on your computer where the PDF file is stored that you want to protect with a password.

4. Select the PDF file and click on "Open".

5. Type your password twice.

6. Click on the "ENCRYPT PDF" button.

encrypt a pdf file online using smallpdf

SmallPDF will now upload your PDF file and encrypt it with your password.

7. When it's done, you click on "Download File Now".

download encrypted pdf file from smallpdf

It will start downloading your password protected PDF file.

Your PDF file is now protected with a password (encrypted).

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