Archives Nov. 25, 2009

How to unprotect PDF files in Linux

Here's a quick and dirty way to remove PDF protections and allow printing of a PDF that has been restricted.

First we need to convert the PDF to Postscript using Ghostscript. Next, we convert the Postscript back to PDF.

Note: The conversion isn't 100% accurate, but should be sufficient for most purposes.

Example:

pdftops Example.pdf Example.ps
ps2pdf Example.ps Example_unprotected.pdf

This only works for an encrypted PDF that allow viewing without a password but not printing or copying.

pdftops and ps2pdf can be installed onto most Linux distributions using your systems package manager.

— Andrew


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