Removing security features from a pdf

Whoops, I totally made my own pdf and accidentally included a bunch of security features, so now I can’t use my highlighter or type notes on the document. It sure would be handy to take off those security features that I put there myself when I made the pdf, myself.

With a full copy of Adobe Acrobat and the associated Acrobat Distiller software, the process is as follows:

1. Open the secured pdf in Acrobat.

2. Go to File>Export>Postscript>Postscript and save a .ps version of the pdf file.

3. Open the .ps postscript file in a text editor (WordPad on Windows works fine).

4. Use the Find function (Ctrl+F) to search for the following line:

mark currentfile eexec

5. That line will be followed by 10 lines of gibberish, ending in


6. Delete all of those 11 lines, from the mark currentfile line through the cleartomark line.

7. Save the .ps file.

8. Right click on the .ps file icon and choose Open With>Acrobat Distiller and watch Distiller go to work. Apparently going forward Distiller is being replaced with Adobe LiveCycle PDF Generator, but hopefully that software will work just as well.

9. The output from Distiller should be a .pdf file of the same name as your .ps file. The new .pdf file should no longer have any security features.

Now my .pdf file that I made myself will let me use my highlighter and note-taking tools. How handy.