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How to Sign a Password Protected PDF? Get the Solution Here!

Published By Nilesh Kumar
Debasish Pramanik
Approved By Debasish Pramanik
Published On May 21st, 2024
Reading Time 11 Minutes Reading
Category Adobe PDF

User Query:  “Hello everyone! I want to add a signature to some rental agreement PDF forms & it has to be submitted on an urgent basis. But, when I tried to sign with Adobe Reader DC I found that Fill & Sign tool is not working or it is disabled. Then, after discussing this query with one of my friends. He told me that the file is having restrictions due to which the Fill & Sign tool is not working. So, can anyone tell how to sign a password protected PDF(restricted PDF) or how to sign a secured PDF (Permission password)?”

From the above query, we can understand that the user has a requirement to unlock signing in PDF. But, until and unless this security has not been removed users could not sign on that particular document. Hence, for the resolution of this query, we come up with this write-up and presented here the simple solution that will enable permissions to sign a secured PDF file.

Table of Contents:

Reasons to Sign a Password Protected PDF

Signing a PDF that is locked (encrypted or protected with restrictions) may be necessary for various reasons, particularly in professional, legal, and administrative contexts. Here are several common reasons why you might need to sign a locked PDF:

  •  Provides legal validity and enforceability to contracts. Ensures contracts cannot be altered after signing. Important for business and legal agreements.
  • Meets specific legal requirements and regulations for different industries. Ensures documents adhere to necessary procedures. Crucial for sectors like law, banking, and healthcare.
  • Adds an extra layer of security to documents. Uses digital certificates to verify the identity of the signer. Enhances trust and confidence.
  • Prevents unauthorized changes and tampering with documents. Ensures the accuracy of legal and financial papers. Reduces the risk of document fraud.
  • Safeguards private information from unauthorized access. Limits document access to authorized individuals. Builds trust in document security and handling.

Before going to the manual solution of sign a password protected PDF you must ensure that the PDF must be unlocked or if you don’t know the password then you read this blog Remove Restrictions from PDF File.

How to Know What Are the Restrictions Present in PDF?

Typically, you would open the PDF and access the ‘Document Properties’ or ‘Properties’ option, usually found under the ‘File’ menu. In the properties window, navigating to the ‘Security’ tab will reveal a detailed summary of the restrictions in place. This summary might include whether editing, printing, or copying text and images is allowed or restricted.

Determining the restrictions present in a PDF is essential for understanding how you can interact with the document. Most PDF readers, such as Adobe Acrobat Reader, provide an easy way to check these restrictions.

  • Open the PDF file using Adobe Reader and click on Properties.
  • From the Security tab click on “Document Restrictions Summary”.
  • View all the permissions that are written as “Not allowed” or “Allowed”.
  • From here users can clearly understand the restrictions present in the PDF file.

Unlock PDF For Signing Using Adobe Acrobat Pro

Press the ‘Lock’ image icon given at the upper-left corner of the tool. Click on “Permission Details” link. In the “Security Method‘ drop down menu, select-> No Security. Enter your Document Open password / Permission Password and click the OK button three times.

Why You Can’t Sign A Secured PDF?

If you’re unable to sign a password protected PDF, it’s likely due to restrictions set by the document’s creator. Secured PDF files often have specific permissions that control how they can be used. These security settings are intended to protect the document’s integrity and prevent unauthorized modifications. If the PDF’s settings prohibit adding signatures, you won’t be able to sign the document unless you have the password. To unsecure a pdf, you either need the permission password or an unsecured version of the PDF.

If you want to sign a password protected PDF, then opt for the free method. It can add the signature without purchasing the utility.

Note: After removing your security from your PDF your files, there may be a risk of unauthorized access. So, this is highly recommended to opt for PDF Lock Software to ensure that your information is safe. Plus, this solution is tried and tested by experts, so you do not need to worry about your sensitive content.

How to Sign a Secured PDF With Adobe Reader DC

Follow these simple steps to learn how to sign a password protected PDF:

  1. Firstly, Open the PDF file in Adobe Acrobat Reader DC.
  2. Click on Fill & Sign present on the right-hand side of the Tools pane.
  3. Then, click on Sign and choose the Add Signature option.
  4. A pop-up message will be displayed providing 3 options i.e. Type, Draw, Image.
  5. Then, click the Apply button.

NOTE: The paid version of Adobe Acrobat Reader DC i.e. Adobe Acrobat Pro allows users to sign a password protected PDF. But, with Acrobat Pro also, users first have to remove security and then add a signature. However, unlocking signing in PDF files or any other restrictions requires you to enter the permission password. If someone does not know this password then, this manual method will not work. In such cases, the best solution is to use the software described here. It’s because it can remove signing restrictions from PDF without asking for permission password.

Also Read: What to do If You forgot PDF Password to Edit the Document?

Sign a Password Protected PDF using the Microsoft Edge

Sure! Here’s a thorough walkthrough on how to Sign Locked PDF using the annotation and PDF reader features built right into Microsoft Edge:

  • Start by launching your Windows computer’s Microsoft Edge browser. Edge is available for download from the official Microsoft website if you don’t already have it.
  • Optionally right-click the PDF file, select “Open with,” then pick “Microsoft Edge.” Alternatively, drag and drop the PDF file into an open Edge window.
  • The Edge PDF viewer will open after the PDF file has been opened. A toolbar with a number of choices for interacting with the PDF may be seen at the top of the window.
  • The “Draw” icon can be seen in the toolbar. It resembles a pencil. To make the drawing tools active, click on it.
  • To sign the PDF, use your mouse, trackpad, or stylus to draw your signature where it belongs. You can sign the document directly by clicking and holding the left mouse button while you write your signature.
  • To save the document, click the save button or press the Ctrl+S keyboard shortcut.

By following these steps, you can easily add signature to locked PDF document using Microsoft Edge without the need for additional software.

Sign a Password Protected PDF Using Preview on a Mac

Sure! Here’s a comprehensive, step-by-step process on unsecure a PDF on a Mac using the Preview app:

  • Locate the PDF file that has to be signed in Finder, then double-click it to open it.
  • Look at the top of the window in the Preview app. A row of icons will appear. The “Show Markup Toolbar” button, which resembles a miniature toolbox or a pencil tip inside a circle, should be clicked.
  • On the “Sign” button, click. A creation prompt will appear if you haven’t made a signature yet. You can select your stored signature from the list if you already have one.
  • To use your trackpad to generate a new signature, select “Trackpad”.
  • To sign your name on the trackpad, use your finger. Once you are done then press any key.

Using the camera

  • Select “Camera” to utilize the integrated camera on your Mac.
  • On a white sheet of paper, sign your name.
  • Align your signature with the blue line on the screen by holding the paper up to the camera. Your signature will be captured by Preview and saved.
  • Once more, select the signature you just produced by clicking the “Sign” button.
  • In the PDF, select the area where you would like to sign. The signed copy of the document will be visible.
  • To save a fresh copy of the document bearing your signature, select “Export as PDF” or “Save” to replace the current file.

By following these detailed steps, you can easily Unlock PDF after signing document using Preview on a Mac

Sign a Password Protected PDF through Google Drive

Manually unsecure a PDF through Google Drive. Here are the steps:

  1. Upload the PDF that is locked to Google Drive.
  2. Choose “Open with” > “Google Docs” when you right-click on the PDF file.
  3. The PDF will open in Google Docs as an image.
  4. Select “Image” from the menu menu after selecting the “Edit” button.
  5. Select “Place Signature” from the “Image” menu.
  6. You’ll be able to use your mouse or trackpad to draw your signature in this new window. An image file with your signature can also be uploaded.
  7. Click “Done” once your signature has been added.
  8. The PDF document in Google Docs will now have your signature inserted as an image on top of it.
  9. To save the PDF that has your signature included, select “File” > “Download” > “PDF Document”.

Limitation of the manual solution to Sign a Password Protected PDF

Using manual steps to unsecure a PDF has several limitations and challenges. Here are some of the key limitations:

  • To unlock the PDF, you must have permission or the password. It is necessary for you to sign the document.
  • Getting the required permissions might take a while, particularly in large organizations or when interacting with outside parties.
  • A PDF’s contents are exposed when it is unlocked, which creates a security concern if the document includes sensitive data.
  • It can be difficult to make sure the integrity of the document is upheld at every stage of the procedure. Unintentional changes are a possibility.
  • Better security and verification may be provided by advanced digital signature capabilities that are not supported by free or manual approaches.

With this technique, the encrypted PDF is effectively changed into an image file in Google Docs so that you can sign an image or write a handwritten message on top of it. Although it is not a digital signature, your signature will be visibly integrated in the PDF file that you downloaded.

Best Way to Sign a Secured PDF

PDF Unlocker Software ultimate solution that can enable signing permissions and let users sign a password protected PDF. The tool makes it easy for users by removing security from PDF documents. It includes copying, editing, printing, commenting, form filling, etc. Moreover, it also supports removing user-level password security from PDF documents. It is available for both Windows and Mac OS users. It does not require the installation of an external program for this process.


As we know many people are signing their paper documents using a pen. But, now mostly all business goes online and people are using electronic signatures for signing purposes. But, sometimes people come across locked PDF files which are secured with passwords or restrictions. So, in this write-up, we have discussed the solution for how to sign a password protected PDF query. Then the professional software lets users sign a secured PDF without needing a permission password.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I Sign a Password Protected PDF?

It depends on the password type. If the password is open-password, simply enter it when opening the file. Then sign the locked PDF. If it is protected by a permission password that restricts signing, then you must first remove it. After that, sign the unsecured PDF file.

Q: Can you sign a specific page within a locked PDF?

Yes, you can typically choose the page within a locked PDF where you want to add your signature. Of course, the digital signatures are applied to the whole document.

Q: Will signing a locked PDF compromise its security or encryption?

No, signing a locked PDF does not compromise its security or encryption. Digital signatures are added without altering the document’s existing security settings. The integrity and confidentiality of the document remain intact.

Q: Can I add multiple signatures to a locked PDF?

Yes, you can add multiple signatures to a locked PDF. PDF editors that support digital signatures allow you to add multiple signatures for different signatories.

Read More: Can’t Edit PDF on Mac? Here are the Best Ticks 


By Nilesh Kumar

As a Chief Technical Writer, I know the technical issues faced by home and professional users. So, I decided to share all my knowledge via this blog. I love to help you with challenges while dealing with technical jargon.