How to Password Protect a PDF on Mac and Windows [Both Online and Offline]

Last updated on February 8, 2024

Summary :

Adding a password to your PDF documents will be a very good measure to prevent confidential disclosure. You will find the answer in this article.

Table of Contents

How To Password Protect a PDF on Mac and Windows

How To Password Protect a PDF on Mac and Windows

As technology continues to advance, the issue of privacy is becoming increasingly important. If you wish to prevent others from replicating the contents of your PDF files, flattening the PDF is a common approach, but applying a lock to the documents can also be highly effective.

Continue reading to discover how to quickly add password protection to a PDF on both Windows and Mac. And if you’re also looking to markup secured PDF documents, our guide on how to edit a secured PDF is helpful.

How to Add Password to a PDF Using PDFgear

PDFgear is a completely free and all-in-one PDF editor with a wide range of features, listed as one of the best PDF editors. You can use PDFgear to compress, crop, split, merge, convert, add comments, sign on, highlight, and protect PDFs.

Not only can PDFgear help protect your important documents with high encryption, but you can also unlock PDFs without a password when you forget about the vital strings.

If you frequently use PDF tools, then PDFgear can be a great alternative to Adobe Acrobat as it’s completely free to use. When you want to set a password for your PDFs, PDFgear will come to your aid. You can get PDFgear on your Windows or Mac, then use it to password protect PDF without Acrobat.

PDFgear – Free Encrypt PDF Documents

PDFgear excels in safeguarding your PDFs on Windows, macOS, and iOS. It is a free, secure, fully-featured, and user-friendly solution.

Step 1. Import PDF File to PDFgear

Open PDFgear > Click Open File at the left pane to browse and add files from your device.

Upload PDF to PDFgear

Upload PDF to PDFgear

Step 3. Password Protect Your PDF

In the edit mode, you can see all the features shown: Highlight, underline, add page numbers, rotate PDF, and so on.

Here, go to Tools from the ribbons, and click the Password button to set and confirm the password of your file. There’s also a feature to remove the password from PDF which is just as simple.

Set Password for Your File

Set Password for Your File

Step 4. Save the Encrypted PDFgear

Navigate to the Save button in the upper left corner to get a PDF document with a password.

Save A PDF with a Password

Save A PDF with a Password

How to Secure PDF with Password on Mac Using Preview

Preview is a very powerful PDF reader that comes with Mac. If you are good at using it, you will get a very efficient office experience on Mac devices. Whether it is for splitting PDF, combining PDF Files, or Converting PDF to Word, Preview allows you to quickly complete the jobs.

Here are 3 steps for you to password a PDF in Mac Preview:

Step 1. Open the PDF document you need to set the password in Preview, and you’ll enter the editing screen.

Enter the Editing Mode of the PDF Document in Preview

Enter the Editing Mode of the PDF Document in Preview

Step 2. Go to the File tab > Select Print from the dropdown to go to the printer window > Click Save as PDF… > In another new pop-up window, click on the Security Options… button at the bottom for custom password settings.

Save PDF in Preview

Save PDF in Preview

Step 3. In Preview’s “PDF Security Options” window, check the “Require password to open document” and then type and verify the password to complete the encryption of PDF documents.

At the same time, you can also check the option for requiring a password to unlock the PDF when copying and printing.

Set Password in Preview

Set Password in Preview

How to Create PDF Password on Windows Using Acrobat

Adobe Acrobat is certainly the first program that most people will think of for processing PDF documents because it is powerful and famous enough. It is also a practical DOC to PDF Converter and an efficient PDF Combiner.

You can password-protect your PDF with 3 steps in Adobe Acrobat.

Step 1. Open a PDF in Adobe Acrobat, and then jump directly to the “Protect” screen.

Position to Adobe Acrobat's "Protect" Page

Position to Adobe Acrobat’s “Protect” Page

Step 2. Navigate to the “File” tab and select the “Protect Using Password” option to enter the password setting window.

Click the "Protect Using Password" Button in Adobe Acrobat

Click the “Protect Using Password” Button in Adobe Acrobat

Step 3. Set a password to protect your PDF and choose whether it should require a password for viewing or editing.

Apply a Password in Adobe Acrobat

Apply a Password in Adobe Acrobat

How to Set Password for PDF Using Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word can also be considered a tool for addressing PDF-related issues. For instance, you can use Microsoft Word to convert, edit, and translate PDFs. To protect a PDF using Microsoft Word, you can follow a simple two-step process.

Step 1. Open Microsoft Word, click on OpenBrowse for the desired PDF, and select it. A warning will appear, indicating that Word will automatically convert the PDF to Word, potentially causing formatting loss. Click OK to proceed.

If the PDF contains numerous images or tables, it is advisable to utilize the PDFgear online PDF to Word converter for initial conversion to ensure the preservation of the original formatting.

Open PDF with Microsoft Word

Open PDF with Microsoft Word

Step 2. Click File > Info > Protect Document > Choose Encrypt with Password > Set a password > Confirm the password again > Hit OK.

Password Protect a PDF with Microsoft Word

Password Protect a PDF with Microsoft Word

How to Add Password to PDF Online

Online tools can free up your device’s storage, Adobe Acrobat Online Editor offers you options to encrypt PDF files in only 3 steps.

Step 1. Upload the PDF to Adobe Acrobat Online Editor

Access to Adobe Acrobat Online Editor > Locate Sign & Protect button > Choose Protect PDF > Click Select a file to upload a PDF from your device.

Add A PDF to the Online Tool

Add A PDF to the Online Tool

Step 2.  Set and Confirm the Password

Customize a password > Type it again in the Confirm password box > Click Set password.

You can see the password strength shown below. If you enter two different passwords, you will receive a tip indicating that the passwords do not match.

Password Protect to Your PDF

Password Protect to Your PDF

Step 3.  Download the Protected PDF

Click the Download button to save the Protected PDF to your device. The file save path is the default storage location of the browser.

Download the PDF File with the Password

Download the PDF File with the Password

Benefits and Common Scenarios of Using PDF Password Protection

❶ Ensuring that only authorized individuals can access sensitive information, regardless of their operating system.

❷ Sharing confidential documents such as tax forms, medical records, and sales reports securely.

❸ Providing a school with a child’s information in a protected manner.

❹ Preventing unauthorized copying and printing of a document without permission.

❺ Keeping information safe and protected against hacking attempts.


How Can I Secure a PDF for Free?

Currently, many PDF editors offer either paid services or free trial services. However, PDFgear is a completely free tool. You can secure a PDF document in just three easy steps: upload the PDF, click on “Protect”, select the “Password” option, enter a password of your choice, and click “OK”.

How to Password Protect a PDF File on Windows 10?

Password-protecting a PDF file in Windows 10 is a popular topic. The PDFgear editing tool is recommended to secure your PDF documents. Simply upload the document to be encrypted, click “Protect” and then select “Password” in editing mode, enter the password, and save the file.

Why am I Unable to Password-Protect a PDF?

The reason could be that you’re using the wrong option. To password-protect a PDF document, go to “File” > “Properties” > “Security”, and under “Security Method”, select “Password Security”. Customize the settings, enter your password, and complete the operation.

Can I Send a Password-Protected PDF Via Email?

Yes, you can! Simply use the PDFgear editor and select “Protect-Password” in edit mode. Then, set and save the password, and add the encrypted document as an attachment to the email to send it securely.


Secure and fast encryption settings for your PDF documents are what you are looking for. This is a very good solution that PDFgear can provide for you. Therefore, if you want to enjoy the ultimate experience without paying any money, PDFgear, the all-in-one PDF editor, will be your best choice.

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