How to password protect PDFs on Macs (for free)

If you are working remotely you may already be using or looking for some way to use password-protected PDFs to help maintain information security. Here is how to do so using your Mac’s built-in software.

There are two ways to create password-protected PDFs on the Mac, using Preview or the Print manager on the machine.

Use the Print dialog

You can use the multi-talented Print dialog to create a secure PDF. (Here are some additional printing secrets).

Here’s how it should work:

  • Create or open your document. It can be in any file format (Word, PDF, Pages, etc.) that you can print on your Mac. Edit it, make any required changes.
  • Tap Print… in the File menu.
  • The Print dialog will appear, look to the lower left corner of the Print dialog box and find the drop-down menu.
  • Click that menu and then choose “Save as PDF” in the options that appear.
  • You’ll see a new set of choices; the one you want to select is called “Security Options.” This is where the secure PDF magic sits, and you can set passwords to open documents, to copy content out of the document and to print a document.

This hidden talent should benefit any Mac user who needs a more secure way to share documents and files.

PDF security Apple

Security options in the Print dialog’s “Save as PDF” drop-down menu allow users to password protect PDFs.

What are the PDF Security Options?

There are three PDF Security Options available. You enable them by ticking the checkbox beside each option.

Require password to open document: Check this, enter and verify a password, and you will be required to enter the password you created to open the document. This is quite useful when sharing confidential items via email.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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