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Protected PDFs

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Erik Youngren:
I thought I would pass along this tip if anyone is interested.

From time to time we get password protected PDFs, which is a problem for us since we usually need to get the content out. In the past, I have used a number of available utilities such as PDF Recover and PDFKey Pro. But these only work (in the evaluation versions) on a single page, usually the first one. Since we don't get enough of these to justify buying one of the programs if the PDF is more than one page, I'm stuck.

This happened to me the other day when I needed a logo out of an annual report. It was on the last page. I tried everything, but nothing worked. So as a last resort I googled and got a tip from Turns out you don't need any of these apps at all. Just load up ColorSync in your Utilities folder. Open the PDF in ColorSync and then do a File>Save As and enter the location you want to save to. You'll get a brand new PDF with security completely removed.

Here's the hint if you want all the details:

Similar to you we occassionally get an ad that has security applied that prevents us from processing it through our preflight workflow. I can't wait until it happens again so I can try your tip.



Erik Youngren:
Robert, glad I could pass something useful along. Although I have to comment that surely this has to be something that Adobe is aware of. If not, then there is a hole in their PDF security. Unless of course this has been fixed at some point.

As was mentioned by someone in the link that Erik posted, when I try to reproduce this the return is a blank PDF. (Acrobat 7.0.9 professional). For the sake of interest I tried several protection settings on several PDF documents. To no avail.

Erik Youngren:
Hmmm. I don't know what to say. I'm using OSX 10.3.9 and Acrobat 6.0 Professional. I didn't have any problems. So, maybe it was fixed by Apple/Adobe in later versions of the OS. I did not investigate the tip too deeply because it worked for me the first time around. Don't know what else to say.


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