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Remove PDF password restrictions using ColorSync Apps
Some PDFs can be viewed, but not copied or printed, and I find this annoying, and it makes it harder for me to use the files. This recent hint gives one solution to such restrictions. Here is another much simpler way:
  1. Open the restricted PDF in ColorSync.
  2. Choose File: Save as, and name it whatever you like.
  3. Open the saved file in Adobe Reader or Preview and enjoy!
The original Preview version 1.0 disregarded all such limitations ... looks like ColorSync does, too!
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Remove PDF password restrictions using ColorSync | 41 comments | Create New Account
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Remove PDF password restrictions using ColorSync
Authored by: jcbeckman on Dec 29, '05 06:23:41AM

Sometimes those restrictions are there to prevent theft of photos and text. Should MacOSXHints be telling people how to do this sort of thing?



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Remove PDF password restrictions using ColorSync
Authored by: conigs on Dec 29, '05 06:35:54AM

While I personally believe that being able to print or copy content of a PDF falls under fair use, it would seem that this hint somehow violates the DMCA (which is a-whole-nother can of worms.



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Naughty!
Authored by: b00le on Dec 29, '05 06:53:45AM

My company often uses password protection on pdf docs to prevent others from changing them (eg: a price list) or easily copying proprietary information, prersentations etc. I've even seen documents which forbid printing, which seems to be going a bit far, but the point is there are legitimate uses for password protection. I'd like to know what this does to a pdf that's been electronically signed... Better watch out, or the lawyers will getcha.



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Possible recovery method
Authored by: pepi on Dec 29, '05 08:24:41AM

As always it can be seen from two angles...

What about recovery of a locked document where the legitimate owner has lost the password? Is it illegal (whereever in the world, not everybody lives in the US by the way) to open my own documents? Am I to be held liable for using software that doesn't even tell me there was password protection? How would I know it was protected, or meant to be protected in the first place?

Adobe themselves state that not every PDF capeable software will respect password settings on .pdf files so one should not trust the so called "protection".

And to add some valuable info to this thread as well:

A digital signature will break if the password is removed from a PDF document.

It's still in the hand of your document's users to check for a valid signature and know what to do if it doesn't work out correctly. Do your users know?
Regards Pepi



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Possible recovery method
Authored by: bjmorgan on Dec 29, '05 08:49:59AM

This hint doesn't seem to work in all cases. I have my tax returns saved as encrypted PDFs that cannot be viewed unless you have a password. ColorSync Utility opens them up as blank pages and saves them as blank pages in Mac OS X 10.4.3.



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Possible recovery method
Authored by: surf on Dec 31, '05 06:11:42AM

No, this is not a possible recovery method.

There are two different things possible with PDFs.

1. Encrypt the whole file and require a password to even view it.

The hint is not about this, it does not do anything with PDF encryption.

2. You can set some flag in the file which disables printing, saving a copy or copying of text from the file in PDF viewers which respect this flag.

This is what the hint is about. ColorSync is a PDF Viewer, which simply does not look into the "restriction" flags.

The later is really just an annoyance (often company policy). What you can see can be retyped or you can make a screen shot. But if you want to read it as a printout in the bus, copy some bibliography information to send in a mail or copy some text for a citation (things I often do for my research), these restrictions get on your nerves.



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Possible recovery method
Authored by: Cerberus on Nov 23, '06 06:48:02AM
This is the Major issue with DMCA. Unfortunately, it is 'illegal to circumvent any copyright protection' and I am sure that this is true even for the original copyright holder as the law, as currently written, speaks to the action of breaking down the 'lock' that is in front of any data. It is at this point in the law that it gets ugly.

So, for example, you are allowed under Fair Use rights to copy any DVD for backup, but since you have to crack the DSS encryption to do that, you have broken the law even if the underlying data is your to protect.

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Possible recovery method
Authored by: UberFu on Sep 30, '09 07:09:47AM

Yeah - but if it's your own original work - are you going to bring charges against and prosecute yourself?



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works, but breaks forms...
Authored by: jspivack on Jan 01, '06 08:56:18AM

the US State Department decided to protect form DS-82, a friggin' passport renewal application. So I can't save it for future reference. Silly, huh? So I try this hint...now I can save the form, but the form fields are deactivated - so I can't fill it in. Doh!



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Remove PDF password restrictions using ColorSync
Authored by: goodguy on Jan 02, '06 07:59:48AM

uhh, another brainwashed victim of the entertainment industry. go get a life or see a doctor! it's embarassing that apple incorporates such BS into its otherwise fine osx...



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Remove PDF password restrictions using ColorSync
Authored by: mubarak on Dec 29, '05 09:52:20AM

This hint does nothing to allow you to read documents that you are not supposed to read without a password.

b00le wrote on Thu, Dec 29 '05 at 06:53AM
> My company often uses password protection on pdf docs to prevent others
> from changing them (eg: a price list) or easily copying proprietary
> information, presentations etc. I've even seen documents which forbid
> printing, which seems to be going a bit far, but the point is there are
> legitimate uses for password protection. I'd like to know what this does to a
> pdf that's been electronically signed... Better watch out, or the lawyers will
> getcha.

And why is your company using an insecure technology for security, or an open-source one for proprietary ends? Better watch out or the lawyers/hackers will getcha!

jcbeckman wrote on Thu, Dec 29 '05 at 06:23AM
> Sometimes those restrictions are there to prevent theft of photos and text.
> Should MacOSXHints be telling people how to do this sort of thing?

You mean no one knows how to do a screen capture?

Pretending that an insecure technology is secure, may give you a false sense of security, but is not likely to save you in a lawsuit, or from people who mean you harm.



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Finally found a use for Automator!
Authored by: jamus on Dec 29, '05 10:19:02AM

This is the first useful workflow I've done with Automator. I've now created an Automator application that all I have to do is drag the PDF to the icon, and it decrypts the file, then asks if I want to view the decrypted version. Here's the workflow:

1) Get Specified Finder Items
2) Copy Finder Items. (Note, if you use FileVault, you'll probably need to copy the item outside of your home directory. I used /tmp)
3) Apply Quartz Filter. Select "None" as your filter.

That's it for a basic version. Save it as an app.

I added the following:

4) Ask for confirmation. The title is "View PDF" and description is "Would you like to view the PDF file?". I changed the negative button (left) to "No" and the affirmative button (right) to "Yes".
5) Open Images in Preview. It will only get to this step if Yes was clicked in the previous line.



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Finally found a use for Automator!
Authored by: salvo on Dec 29, '05 11:34:55AM

Have you thought about changing the buttons to say "Don't View" and "View"?
This may sound petty, but it is part of the Interface Guidelines and is also a smart move.
A guy at work reads every Dialogue Box twice in Windows before clicking "OK" or "Cancel" but still regularly disconnects Network Drives and removes critical Software simply because the Question in the Dialogue Box is Ambiguous.
Although your Question "Would you like to view the PDF file?" isn't Ambiguous to most people, it's still a good Idea to use Verbs as Buttons to remove any doubt whatsoever.



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Arrg!!!
Authored by: asmeurer on Dec 29, '05 11:04:29PM

The GUI Police strike again!!!



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Arrg!!!
Authored by: jamus on Dec 31, '05 08:34:37AM

Even though it's a bit picky for this short workflow, and nothing "bad" could happen by choosing the wrong button, I completely agreed with his point. In fact, I'm grateful that he pointed this out, so I know better when designing future message boxes that could have destructive choice.



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It works except when it doesn't
Authored by: bkuestner on Dec 29, '05 11:14:27AM
This hint doesn't seem to work in all cases. I have my tax returns saved as encrypted PDFs that cannot be viewed unless you have a password. ColorSync Utility opens them up as blank pages and saves them as blank pages in Mac OS X 10.4.3.
Almost similar symptoms here, except that ColorSync Utility displays the PDF correctly and not blank, but the result is the same as yours: blank pages, no matter if I do "save as" or "export" and no matter if I apply filters or not.

I am also running 10.4.3. Could the original poster "mubarak" tell whatever version he/she is using?

Somebody else mentioned the different password styles in PDF documents. That probably refers to the difference of "owner" vs. "user" passwords.
With the latter you cannot even open the file and they are hard to remove, whereas the prior is as simple as disregarding PDF standards by the application. Details e. g. here:
http://www.verypdf.com/pwdremover/


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Remove PDF password restrictions using ColorSync
Authored by: mubarak on Dec 29, '05 11:55:11AM

Once again, this hint does nothing to circumvent encrypted PDFs. It is only helpful when you can read the PDF, but not copy pictures/text, or print it. You can circumvent all those restriction by screen capture, reading and typing, etc. The only difference is that this hint takes away the pain.

Isn't that what hints are supposed to do?

Once more, YOUR ENCRYPTED PDFs ARE SAFE!

bkuestner wrote on Thu, Dec 29 '05 at 11:14AM
> I am also running 10.4.3. Could the original poster "mubarak" tell whatever
> version he/she is using?

He is using OS X 10.4.3 with ColorSync Utility 4.4.3.



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Remove PDF password restrictions using ColorSync
Authored by: ashishn on Jan 18, '06 08:40:48PM

I am facing similar problem where exporting or save as results in blank pdf.

Its a 400 pages file. I am running 10.4.4.

Any idea?

Cheers,
Ashish



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Remove PDF password restrictions using ColorSync
Authored by: sjk on Dec 29, '05 07:41:05PM

Fair use and raising awareness of insecurity issues with password protection for PDF documents seem to me like two valid reasons for publishing this hint.



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Remove PDF password restrictions using ColorSync
Authored by: asmeurer on Dec 29, '05 11:09:58PM

There is probably some third party cheapo PDF reader that doesn't pay attention to that either. Don't really need it with that Automator action, though. You'd think that they would encrypt that kind of stuff.



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Remove PDF password restrictions using ColorSync
Authored by: rui_mac on Dec 30, '05 04:05:30AM

My problem is different, although, related. I do have some pdf files (huge manuals) that I would like to divide into several smaller pdfs (each for each chapter). I open them in Adobe Professional, select the pages I don't want and, when I try to delete them... nothing. The Delete command is even dimmed in the Edit menu. These pdfs don't ask me for any password but I can't edit them, anyway.
Is there any way to make them editable?
Thank you in advance for any reply.

Rui Batista



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Remove PDF password restrictions using ColorSync
Authored by: mubarak on Dec 30, '05 11:28:01AM

Check "Dcoument Security..." under File menu in Acrobat. If there is some level of restriction, open it in ColorSync and save to see if it goes away.



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Remove PDF password restrictions using ColorSync
Authored by: macshome on Dec 30, '05 06:04:13AM

You might find the lack of ability to print a PDF irritating, but it's the right of the media creator to put it in place.

---
http://www.afp548.com
Breaking my server to save yours.



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Remove PDF password restrictions using ColorSync
Authored by: mubarak on Dec 30, '05 11:41:48AM

macshome wrote on Fri, Dec 30 '05 at 06:04AM
> You might find the lack of ability to print a PDF irritating, but it's the right of
> the media creator to put it in place.

It is the right of every digital media producer to introduce whatever DRM their corporate policy dictates. It is also the right of every consumer to make fair use of whatever digital media they own.

As Steve Jobs told the RIAA, he has PhDs working on DRM, and a completely secure DRM is impossible. Making PDFs that one can read but can't copy or print is very analogous to music and DRM. Choices faced by PDF creators are no different. Go back to LPs, or welcome to the brave new digital world. Printing to a printer, and using Display PDF on the screen, are essentially the same thing. That is what guarantees WYSIWIG. That is why it would be impossible to implement any meaningful DRM in PDFs.

Especially on a Mac.



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Remove PDF password restrictions using ColorSync
Authored by: peterhoneyman on Dec 30, '05 10:40:05PM
here's the steve jobs quote and citation.
We have Ph.D.s here who know the stuff cold, and we don't believe it's possible to protect digital content.
Steve Jobs, Rolling Stone interview, December 3, 2003


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Remove PDF password restrictions using ColorSync
Authored by: el bid on Jan 04, '06 03:05:45AM

>It is the right of every digital media producer to introduce whatever
>DRM their corporate policy dictates.

What do we mean by "right" here? To obfuscate and publish at the same time doesn't strike me as any kind of natural right. I believe we need to be more fundamentally critical of this seemingly self-evident idea. Going back to Tom Jefferson is a useful starting point for thinking about this.



---
el bid



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Remove PDF password restrictions using ColorSync
Authored by: azraq27 on Jan 04, '06 12:16:59PM

In case this is ever "fixed" a hole still exists in xpdf as well (you need to get it through DarwinPorts or the like).

Open it up, print to file, and -- unlike doing the same thing in Preview -- the ps file it produces can be easily converted right back to an unprotected pdf file.

I don't know postscript at all, but since it's just text I assume you could edit the ps file produced by Preview yourself to unprotect it. As long as that exists, it seems that Adobe is going to have a hard time with their DRM-like permissions.



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Remove PDF password restrictions using ColorSync
Authored by: pashe on Nov 09, '08 11:55:35AM

Yes, you can unprotect the postscript file: Open it in your Text Editor, then search for "mark currentfile eexec". Delete this line down to "cleartomark" and replace it with "cg_md begin". Then you can open it in Preview and you have an unprotected PDF.

This of course requires that you are allowed to print the PDF. And because PostScript printers must be able to interpret the code, its just a command recoginzed only by Distiller and other PDF-generating applications that tells 'em that they must not create a PDF.

The way via ColorSync Utility doesn't seem to work in Mac OS X 10.5 anymore.



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Remove PDF password restrictions using ColorSync
Authored by: mubarak on Jan 06, '06 01:01:07PM

el bid wrote on Wed, Jan 4 '06 at 03:05AM

> What do we mean by "right" here? To obfuscate and publish at the same time
> doesn't strike me as any kind of natural right.

You are absolutely correct! I should have put *right* in quotes!

Cheers!



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Remove PDF password restrictions using ColorSync
Authored by: mrcolosus on Jan 28, '06 01:45:17AM

hi, how do you open the pdf in colorsync? when i go file->open the pdf isn't there?

i also don't have a password to remove, but i want to be able to copy and paste code so i don't have to type it out.

any ideas?

thanks



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Remove PDF password restrictions using ColorSync
Authored by: ramlal on Jul 10, '06 06:15:43AM
The best option I've seen so far for removing the copy password protection is importing & exporting from PDFLab - which is a wonderful application for all things PDF by the way. [link:]http://www.iconus.ch/fabien/pdflab/

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Remove PDF password restrictions using ColorSync
Authored by: vocaro on Jun 22, '07 12:43:47AM

Worked perfectly. PDFLab was able to create a decrypted version of an encrypted PDF with no trouble at all. I just needed to enter the document's password. Thanks for the tip!



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Remove PDF password restrictions using ColorSync
Authored by: luomat on Sep 08, '06 01:50:28PM

I downloaded a form for a rebate. On the one hand, I can see that they wouldn't want someone editing the amount of the rebate or when the "postmark by" date, but these things are obvious to uncover as falsehoods.

What I want to do is to be able to fill out the form by typing in my name, address, etc so they can't claim that the rebate information was illegible.

This tip worked great, it didn't hurt anyone, and it actually helped both me and the person who will process the rebate.

FWIW.



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Remove PDF password restrictions using ColorSync
Authored by: sybrex on Nov 22, '06 04:26:25AM
For remove PDF restrictions you can use our application PDFProtect http://www.sybrex.com/products/macgui/protectionmanager/index.php which will remove password protection in couple mouse actions.

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Remove PDF password restrictions using ColorSync
Authored by: fränzbiltgen on May 01, '08 07:40:58PM

google " skim" a free and powerful program that allows you to do ANYTHING with your pdf files!



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Remove PDF password restrictions using ColorSync
Authored by: luomat on May 02, '08 10:29:52PM
What happens if you can't print the file? Install GhostScript (see MacPorts)

gs -q -dNOPAUSE -dBATCH -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -sOutputFile=OUTPUT.pdf -c .setpdfwrite -f INPUT.pdf

You may or may not need to replace the 'pdf_sec.ps' file on your machine with

http://web.archive.org/web/20010428180359/http://web.archive.org/web/20010428180359/http://members.ozemail.com.au/%7Egeoffk/pdfencrypt/pdf_sec.ps



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Remove PDF password restrictions using ColorSync
Authored by: pww on May 05, '09 05:38:56AM
If you need Mac software for PDF restrictions removal, please look at GuaPDF software. It's a command-line application, but provides AppleScript wrapper.

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Remove PDF password restrictions using ColorSync
Authored by: Anna Brooks on Sep 30, '09 05:12:15AM
You can also try Recover PDF Password by Eltima.
It removes all the restrictions from protected PDF files without any problems.
http://mac.eltima.com/pdf-password-recovery.html

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Remove PDF password restrictions using ColorSync
Authored by: mubarak on Feb 25, '10 08:37:01PM
For the updated hint that works in Snow Leopard, see here.

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Remove PDF password restrictions using ColorSync
Authored by: m2a2b2 on Oct 31, '12 12:25:27PM
This hint still works in Mountain Lion with one minor change.
  1. Open the restricted PDF in ColorSync.
  2. Choose File: Print..., then PDF: Save as PDF..., and name it whatever you like
  3. Open the saved file in Adobe Reader or Preview and enjoy!
There is another easy way in Mountain Lion.
  1. Open the restricted file in Preview
  2. Choose File: Save..., and name it whatever you like
  3. Open the saved file in Adobe Reader or Preview and enjoy!


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Remove PDF password restrictions using ColorSync
Authored by: mandly on Oct 19, '11 04:58:07AM

you are authorized to check a bunch of critical PDF files, which were created and encrypted by a former department manager. You need to open these PDF files and print them. Or this job will take you a month or longer.
What's more, i share you a article about How to remove PDF password and restriction,which has made the whole process easy.
It saved me lots of time on this. I just shared the guide with you.
Hope it can do you a bit favor.
http://www.softwarebbs.com/wiki/How_to_remove_PDF_password_and_restriction



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