Password protect PDF files using Adobe Acrobat

Do you want to password protect PDF documents so only you and the recipient who has the password can open it and view its content? Many document creator and editor software allows users to encrypt their documents, notably Microsoft Office. Check out this tutorial to lock PowerPoint presentations with a password. To lock PDF documents with a password, you can use Adobe Acrobat Pro. In this quick article, we we will use it to encrypt PDF files on a Windows 10 PC. Meanwhile we will also show you how to add a password to lock PDF files using an Acrobat alternative below.

How to password protect PDF files on computer?

Launch Adobe Acrobat Pro on your computer. Click Open button, find the PDF file you like to secure from your computer hard drive, add it to Acrobat. Or you can drag and drop to add PDF files to Acrobat on your computer. When the PDF file opens in Acrobat, click the File menu, choose Properties from the drop-down menu.

access pdf file properties in adobe acrobat pro on windows pc

The Document Properties dialog opens. Switch from the Description to the Security tab. In the Document Security section, you can see the Security Method is set to No Security by default. Click the drop-down menu to select “Password Security” from the list of options. See below screenshot.

pdf file properties document password security in adobe acrobat pro for windows

A new window titled “Password Security – Settings” pops up. Here you can set a password to prevent people open and view the PDF file, and restrict editing and printing of the document. Check the box beside “Require a password to open the document” and enter your password in the Document Open Password field.

set pdf document open password in adobe acrobat pro for windows

Create a strong password for confidential documents. A strong password should be easy to remember and hard to guess. You will see the password strength bar after the password box. If you’re sending this password protected PDF file to others, it’s probably best to choose one password that you don’t use for other services or accounts. Click OK button at the bottom. Another window will pop up to confirm the password. Save the changes and close the PDF file in Adobe Acrobat. Now when anyone try to open the password, he or she will have to enter the correct password first.

PDF open password vs Permissions password

There are two types of password you can set in Acrobat Pro to protect your PDF documents. Except adding a password to prevent people from opening or view content of your PDF file, you can also choose to create read-only pdf file by restricting editing of PDF files using Acrobat Pro.

PDF password protection without Acrobat

Adobe Acrobat is one of the most powerful PDF editors. It’s easy to make PDF protection with it. It is not the only one though. There are many Acrobat alternatives that can also help you secure PDF documents. See this guide to password protect PDF without Acrobat, but another great alternative to it.

 Update Apr 2019: removed amzn. 
Update Apr 2019: added the link to restrict editing of PDF files page.