How to password protect a PDF in Adobe Acrobat Reader and shield your sensitive data

Daxiao Productions/ShutterstockPassword protect your sensitive PDF files using Adobe Acrobat Reader Pro.
  • To password protect a PDF in Adobe Acrobat Reader, you’ll need the paid Pro version, which starts at $US14.99 a month.
  • You can password protect a PDF in Adobe Reader by clicking the shield icon in the Acrobat tools sidebar and selecting “Protect using password.”
  • When you password protect a PDF, you keep documents like tax filings and medical records safe on your computer and when sharing them with others.
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If you’re like most people, you probably store a lot of your essential files on your computer as a PDF.

Our computers may be secure, but they’re not entirely invulnerable to prying eyes. You could accidentally download spyware or some other virus, or you could lose your laptop, and all of that information would be vulnerable to being stolen.

If you’re worried about somebody gaining access to your information, you can add an extra layer of protection to those documents by password protecting those PDFs with Adobe Acrobat. Unfortunately, this feature is not free and is only available on the paid version of Acrobat Pro.

You can purchase for a month or keep renewing, depending on your needs. But once you have it, you’ll have the ability to keep your PDFs secure from prying eyes.

Check out the products mentioned in this article:


Apple Macbook Pro (From $US1,299.00 at Apple)


Acer Chromebook 15 (From $US179.99 at Walmart)

How to password protect your PDFs in Adobe Acrobat Pro

1. Open the PDF you want to protect in Adobe Acrobat Reader.

2. In the right sidebar, click the shield icon labelled “Protect.”

Devon Delfino/Business InsiderYou may need to scroll for this option.

3. At the top of the document, click the option that reads “Protect using password.”

Devon Delfino/Business InsiderA new toolbar will appear with this option at the top of your document.

4. Choose between preventing people from viewing your document or just blocking edits.

5. Set your password.

6. Click “Apply” to finish.

Devon Delfino/Business InsiderIf you are working on a collaborative document, you’ll want to set editing permissions.
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