Last Reviewed:  October 17, 2017

I'm Blocked from Making Changes to a PDF

When you try to make changes to a PDF, like extract pages, add annotations, delete pages, highlight, use the typewriter, etc., you get blocked. It seems like you can't do anything with the PDF.

Cause

One of the attractive features of PDF files is that they have their own security settings. When you create a PDF, you can lock down any aspect of it. For example, you can keep people from opening it without a password, you can prevent people from printing it, and you can control whether or not people are allowed to make changes to it.

Bank statements, financial statements, and executed legal documents often carry such restrictions.

Unfortunately, people who receive one of these secured PDFs rarely get informed that the PDF has restrictions on it. So when they try to make annotations or changes, they're left believing that the software is defective when, in fact, the PDF itself isn't allowing the changes.

Solution

There is only one way to lift the restrictions from a secured PDF. You must have a password. The person who put the restrictions in place had to provide a password that would turn off the restrictions. If you can acquire that password, you can liberate the PDF. Assuming you're able to aquire the password, here's how to disable the PDF security:

  1. Open the PDF in FileCenter's Edit tab
  2. Click the Properties button (right above the thumbnails)
  3. Select Security on the left
  4. Change the Security Method to No Security
  5. You'll be prompted for the password
  6. Confirm that you want to remove the security from the document
  7. Click OK
  8. Save the document