Remove the password from a PDF

pdftk my.pdf output my-decrypted.pdf input_pw PASSWORD


The download of pdftk for MacOSX is borked. The link on their homepage points to an old version, and the new version didn’t work either.

You need a couple of packages installed:

brew install poppler
brew install ghostscript

Then convert to PostScript and back to PDF:

pdftops -upw PASSWORD my.pdf
ps2pdf my-decrypted.pdf

Side note

PDFs can have two passwords:

  • an OWNER password, which only controls features and can be removed without actually knowing the password
  • a USER password, which actually encrypts the file


Date: 2020-02-28

Tags:  pdf