PDF Passwords

Different PDF Passwords

PDF is an amazing document format, especially when it comes to file-safety. By now, you surely know, that you can easily protect your own PDF files with a password quite easily.

Check out our handy tutorial on how to password-protect a PDF.

What you might not be aware of, is that there are different kinds of PDF passwords. This is what we will have a look at today. 

Why PDFs Can Have Multiple Passwords

As you can see in the tutorial mentioned above, there are two different passwords you can give to your PDF. However, if you want to protect your PDF online, you see only one password input option.

Here’s why.

The Open Password

The first password you can enter to protect a PDF document is the “simple” one. We will further refer to it as the open password.

What does it do? It protects your document from unwanted access. Only people with this password are able to open, view and thus read your document.

Simple as that.

The Permission Password

The second password we refer to as the permission password. It has a big advantage compared to the open password: it grants full, unlimited access.

What does that mean? People with the open password can open your file and read it – but they can also print, copy and modify the content. Unless you change this in the permissions. Yes, you can disallow people to print or copy text from your PDF!

To get the unlimited access to the document that still allows printing and the like, the permission password is needed.

This works even if you do not set an open password. Everyone can then read your document but the only one able to print, modify and copy text is you – and the people you share the permission password with.


On PDF2Go, you can also remove password protection from a PDF document.

Find out how to unlock a protected PDF file.

In order to do so, you need the password it was protected with in the first place. If you have the permission password, you can remove the protection easily. However, if you only have the open password but you are still prohibited from editing the PDF, the removal of the password will not allow you to meddle with the PDF. You need the permission password in these cases!