How to Change Acrobat Document Restrictions

By William Harrel

A restricted Acrobat document, or PDF, is password protected. PDFs support two security levels---one to open and view the document, and another to allow various levels of editing and printing. You'll need Acrobat Pro to change security restrictions and make changes to the document itself. Within the editing and printing security settings, you can set various restriction levels, such as the ability to fill out a form or change the PDF layout. Depending on how the creator of the PDF applied security settings, to change the document's restrictions, you'll need one or two passwords---one to open and view the document and one to change editing and security settings. Acrobat requires that these two passwords be different.

Things You'll Need

  • Acrobat Pro 7 or later

Removing Current PDF Restrictions

Step 1

Open Acrobat Pro.

Step 2

Click "File" on the menu bar and choose "Open." This displays the Open dialog box. Navigate to the PDF in which you want to change restrictions, select it, and then click "Open." If the PDF is password protected, Acrobat prompts you for the "Document Open Password."

Step 3

Type the password in the "Enter Password" field and click "OK" to open the PDF.

Step 4

Click "File" on the menu bar and choose "Properties" to open the Document Properties dialog box. You can see the current security restrictions by clicking the "Security" tab. The "Allowed" and "Not Allowed" restrictions are listed in the "Document Restrictions Summary" near the center of the dialog box.

Step 5

Click the "Security Method" drop-down and choose "No Security." When Acrobat prompts you for the Permissions Password, type the password into the "Enter Password" field and click "OK." Acrobat displays a dialog box asking if you're sure you want to remove the document's security.

Step 6

Click "OK." This returns you to Document Properties. Click "OK." The restrictions are now removed.

Changing Current PDF Restrictions

Step 1

Open Acrobat Pro.

Step 2

Click "File" on the menu bar and choose "Open." This displays the Open dialog box. Navigate to the PDF, select it, and then click "Open." If the PDF is password protected, Acrobat prompts you for the "Document Open Password."

Step 3

Type the password in the "Enter Password" field and click "OK" to open the PDF.

Step 4

Click "File" on the menu bar and choose "Properties" to open the Document Properties dialog box. You can see the current security restrictions by clicking the "Security" tab. The "Allowed" and "Not Allowed" restrictions are listed in the "Document Restrictions Summary" near the center of the dialog box.

Step 5

Click the "Change Settings" button to open the "Password Security -- Settings" dialog box.

Step 6

Click the "Printing Allowed" drop-down and choose one of the print options, either high or low resolution printing.

Step 7

Click the "Changes Allowed" drop-down and choose the change-restrictions group you want to apply. There are several, and each group listing is self-explanatory.

Step 8

Click "OK" to close Document Properties.

Step 9

Save and close the document. The next time you open the document the new restriction settings are applied.