Most of the time, PDF documents are used when something important is involved. In some cases, access to them may be restricted except for certain people, like when there are safety concerns.

Gone are the days when only a few people knew how to protect PDF files, now password-protecting PDFs is easy and straightforward.

There are several ways of password-protecting PDFs, let’s go through them one by one.

Lumin PDF— the recommended method

Lumin PDF is a great online service that allows you to copy, edit, and manage your PDF files. Some of its functionality is free, and the rest is locked behind a paywall. Luckily, password protection is included in the free plan.

It’s as simple as that: you open a PDF in Lumin PDF and set a password to protect it.

If you connect Lumin PDF to Google Drive, you can use it for viewing and editing your PDF files in the cloud. Also, your PDF files can be set to public or private, and you can even decide whom to share the files with.

Lumin PDF’s Google Drive integration also comes in handy, when you need to collaborate on files.

To enable it, log in to Google Drive and click Connect More Apps on the right toolbar.

Then Connect Lumin PDF app to Google Drive—you can find it easily in the G Suite Marketplace.

Now click the Connect button. That’s it! Lumin PDF is connected to your Google Drive.

To additionally protect your PDFs, you can leverage the secure sharing functionality of Google Drive. With Lumin PDF and Google Drive, you can invite other people to collaborate by email address, so that only the people assigned can access, view, and edit the files. Also, you can fine-tune the access level to make sure your collaborators  can only do only what they need to.

PDFMate PDF Converter—a free option for Windows users

If you want to password-protect your PDFs without breaking the bank, PDFMate is a good option. This Windows application is generally used to convert PDFs to other formats like EPUB, DOCX, etc. However, it also features password protection functionality, and you need not convert your file to use it. All you need to do is export the file as a PDF.

Launch the app, then click Add PDF.

Select your document and open it.

At the top right of the window, click Advanced Settings.

In the tab that opens, find the Open Password box and check it.

The users can also choose the permissions password to restrict certain functionality such as PDF editing, copying, and printing.

With PDFMate, you can make your important documents as safe as possible.

Once you’re done, choose OK to save your protection preferences.

Select the Output Folder for the file you need to protect with the password.

Finally, hit the Convert button, and there you have it—your password-protected PDF document is ready!

Once the export is complete, you can close the program and share the PDF document with anyone.

Adobe Acrobat—one of the most popular ways

Adobe Acrobat users will have no problem password-protecting PDFs. Although it is a paid option, you can use Acrobat’s 7-day free trial to password-protect your PDFs free of charge.

Let’s assume you’ve never used Adobe Acrobat before. All you need to do is to open the PDF file in Adobe Acrobat, and then make a few changes in its Properties.

In the top menu bar, select File, then Properties.

In the Properties sub-menu, you will see the Security tab. This is the one you need.

Beside Security Method, you will see a drop-down menu. In it, select Password Security.

Find the Document Open section. Then check the box next to Require a password to open the document. Now the users will need to enter the password to open the PDF file.

Now enter the password in the text box.

This way, you protect the document just from being opened by others. If you want to restrict editing and printing, too, use Password Security—Settings and set the desired preferences in the Permissions section.

Click the OK button and apply protection by inputting the password.

Then you can click Save As… from the File menu to save the file. Now your PDF document is password protected!

MS Word—a common option for Windows users

Microsoft Word is one of the most popular apps in the world. Chances are that you are using it daily to create important documents and save them as PDFs. If you have been guessing about whether it can do password protection with MS Word, you are in luck.

MS Word is capable of password-protecting PDFs.

Open MS Word and select Open Other Documents in the bottom left of the window.

Find your PDF file and click Open.

Once MS Word offers you to convert the PDF into an editable document, click OK to proceed.

Save the document. In Save dialogue, click the Options button, the very last box in the window that opens will read Encrypt the document with a password. Check it, then click OK.

Enter the password of your choice—you will be prompted to do it twice.

Now click OK, and you’re all set up.

WPS—a free, user-friendly option

If you’re looking for an easy and free way to password-protect a PDF, WPS will be one of the top choices.

WPS is available on PC and Android devices alike, and the two versions are equal in terms of functionality. So, this tutorial will work regardless of the device you’re on.

Download and Install WPS Office first, then register to enable cloud storage.

In the app menu, find File Information. In the window that opens, select Encryption.

You will be prompted to enter the password twice.

You can also protect the document from editing by adding an additional password.

Now save the document to your local disk or in the WPS Cloud.

With WPS Cloud, you will be able to open and edit the document anywhere, regardless of the device, as long as you enter your WPS credentials.

OpenOffice Draw

OpenOffice has been touted as the best MS Office alternative for free software aficionados. If you have made up your mind to ditch MS Office in favour of OpenOffice, you might want to know that OpenOffice Draw can do password protection for PDFs.

Although OpenOffice Draw is not meant for PDF viewing or editing, you can use it to set up password protection for your PDF document. Here’s how you do it.

Open OpenOffice Draw.

Open your PDF file.

Then choose File—Export as PDF.

In the Security tab, click the Set Passwords button.

Enter your password, then choose the functionality you want to restrict for the PDF document you opened. Done and done!