How to Unlock PDF using Smallpdf: A Complete Guide

September 14, 2023 1.6K views

Are you looking for ways to unlock PDF files to enable editing? Smallpdf is an online PDF password remover tool to help you resolve this. With Smallpdf, you can unlock pdf online for free.

Unlocking PDF with Smallpdf can be confusing, especially for first-time users. Hence, we have provided a complete guide on unlocking PDFs correctly and effectively using Smallpdf. Read on to find out more.

Overview of SmallPDF Unlock PDF Features

SmallPDF unlock PDF is an effective tool to remove password restrictions from locked PDF files online. This makes it possible for the person working on the PDF file to copy, edit, and make other changes to the file's content. The tool is very easy to use, making it possible for anyone with minimal technical abilities to navigate it.

Key Features of Smallpdf Unlock PDF

This online tool comes with incredible key features. They include the following:

  • It removes PDF passwords within seconds.

  • This online tool is browser-based, so it unlocks PDF on all platforms, be it on Mac, Windows, or Linux.

  • With this online tool, all files are processed in the cloud. So, without software download or installation, your PDFs can be unlocked.

  • It uses a secure connection to transmit your file when you upload it. One hour after processing, your files are erased. Also, your password won't be read or stored if asked.

Easy Ways to Unlock PDF with Smallpdf

Do you find SmallPDF interesting and want to know how to use it to unlock your PDF files? Here is a step-by-step guide on how to Unlock PDF online using Smallpdf:

Step 1: Go to the SmallPDF "Unlock PDF" page with any browser of your choice

Smallpdf Unlock PDF homepage

Step 2: Click the “ CHOOSE FILE” button

When the page opens, click the “CHOOSE FILE” button. This will launch the file explorer window for you to select the PDF file you want to unlock. After selecting the pdf file, click “Open” to import the selected file to the tool's interface.

File selection window

Alternatively, if you don’t want to click “Open” when the file explorer opens, you can also use the “drag and drop” option. Here, once the file explorer opens, you drag the PDF file you want to unlock and drop it to the tool’s interface.

Unlock PDF tool's interface

If the PDF file is not in your device but in your Dropbox or Google Drive, you can click the drop-down button. This opens options for you to upload the pdf file from Dropbox or Google Drive as shown below:

Interface to select option for file location

Step 3: Pinky swear that you have the right to access and edit the PDF file

Once you successfully upload the PDF file, the file name will appear on the tool’s interface, as shown below:

Smallpdf Unlock PDF tool's interface

Then tick the “I pinky swear…” box so you can click on the "Unlock PDF" button.

Step 4: Click the “UNLOCK PDF!” button

After ticking the “I pinky swear…” box, you can now click the “ UNLOCK PDF!” button

Smallpdf page for "pinky swear

Step 5: Type in the correct password

If the PDF file is user-password protected, you must first input the correct password.

Type in the correct password

Step 6: Click the “REALLY UNLOCK” button

After typing in the correct password, you can now click on the “REALLY UNLOCK” button so that the smallPDF unlock process can begin.

Click the “REALLY UNLOCK” button

Step 7: Export/Download /Share

When the process is complete, you will see the “Download," “Export As” and “Share” buttons. You can go ahead and make any changes to your PDF content or download it immediately. To get the PDF file that has been unlocked, click the “Download” button.

Smallpdf Unlock PDF export/download/share interface

If you don’t want to download the unlocked file as PDF, you can click the “Export As” button. You will see a drop-down list so you can convert the PDF to jpg and other formats like docx, xlsx, etc. as shown below:

Additionally, with the drop-down arrow beside the “Download” button, you can save the unlocked PDF file directly in your Dropbox or Google Drive.

Keep this in Mind:

You can still encrypt your PDF file after making the necessary edits. Simply upload the pdf file without a password and repeat the above step. When you reach step 4 (the download/share/export stage), click the “Add password” button.

Encryption interface for Smallpdf Unlock PDF

You will be redirected to a new page where you will type in a new password.

Redirection page to input password

Type in your new password and click the “ENCRYPT PDF” button.

Once the encryption process is completed, you can download the encrypted PDF file.

Smallpdf document download page after conversion

How to Unlock PDF Without Password

Looking for how to unlock PDF without a password? Below are steps on how you can do that.

Step1: Go to the SmallPDF "Unlock PDF" page with any browser of your choice to use the Unlock PDF tool

Unlock PDF homepage

Step 2: Drag and drop the PDF file on the tool’s interface to upload it

Smallpdf Unlock tool interface

Step 3: Pinky swear that you have the right to access and edit the PDF file

Step 4: Click the “Unlock PDF” button and then download your file by clicking on the “Download” button

Smallpdf Unlock PDF document download page

WPS Office VS. SmallPDF

Aside from Smallpdf, WPS Office is a popular PDF editor platform. It is a modernized, powerful office tool App that can help you remove restrictions or unlock your PDF files. WPS Office ranks high as the best PDF password remover online.

WPS Office and Smallpdd offer users similar PDF unlock features. However, you may be wondering the best one to go for. To help you make an informed decision, here's a comparison between Smallpdf and WPS Office based on the following factors:

#1. Features

Smallpdf offers incredible features for editing and annotation, including the ability to remove and add pages, texts, and even images. However, it does not match the collaboration tools provided by WPS PDF, which allows for real-time document sharing.

#2. Pricing

WPS PDF offers basic editing features for free, but users who want its premium features can upgrade to WPS PDF premium for $29.99. This is a one-time fee that comes with unlimited user licenses. This is far cheaper compared to other PDF editors that charge on an annual or monthly basis.

On the other hand, Smallpdf unlocks PDF online for free, but this comes with the basic features. However, the online tool also offers many pricing plans. Unlike WPS PDF, Smallpdf does not offer the one-time fee payment option for its premium features. Instead, they charge on a yearly and monthly basis.

#3. Speed and Efficiency

When it comes to speed and efficiency, WPS PDF takes the lead. This allows users to access and work on large files without compromising speed. With WPS PDF, users can be assured of speedy outputs without tampering with the quality of the file’s content.

Smallpdf, on the other hand, requires users to be connected to the internet before they can edit PDF files. The platform's functionality is tied to internet connectivity and can hinder users from accessing or working on files when their devices are disconnected.

#4. Customer Support

WPS PDF customer support services are always available throughout the day to answer users’ complaints or queries. So, no matter how urgent your situation is, at any time of the day, someone will always be available to assist you. Additionally, published tutorials and articles are available on their website for users.

Smallpdf, on the other hand, offers limited customer support options compared to WPS PDF. This is another significant drawback to using this PDF editor, especially for individuals seeking extensive support when using the PDF editor.

Best Alternative — WPS Office

WPS Office is a comprehensive and lightweight office suite with high compatibility and many additional features. It is a handy, modernized, and powerful office tool that lets you edit files in different formats, including docs, Spreadsheet, and PDF.

WPS Office homepage

The WPS Office features are extensive. So, beyond unlocking PDF, WPS Office offers users a rich range of document creation and editing tools. Users can easily carry out other tasks, thereby increasing efficiency.

Smallpdf, on the other hand, provides specific PDF solutions as its interface is tailored to specific PDF-related tasks. Individuals looking for other document editing tools beyond PDF functionalities may find the platform limited.

The choice between Smallpdf and WPS Office depends on the individual’s specific requirements. However, if you are looking for a platform with more features and a wider range of document editing tools, then WPS PDF is more suitable.


Q1: What software can unlock PDFs?

  • PDFCrack: Forgot your password? PDFCrack helps users recover forgotten PDF passwords and access hidden PDF content.

  • PDF Password Remover:This is a simple and easy-to-use software that removes the PDF owner passwords. This tool may be limited while dealing with files with very high encryptions.

  • PDF Unlocker: This software is ideal for cracking permission security. It unlocks PDF files encrypted with passwords to make PDF content fully editable and viewed without damaging metadata. It functions more as a password recovery tool as it cannot remove the user’s password.

  • PDFCrypt:This is another PDF password remover tool that uses a simple command line to carry out the task. While this software can remove passwords from a PDF, it cannot show the owner’s password.

Q2: How do I unlock a locked PDF for free?

  • Select the PDF file to unlock and upload. You can choose a PDF file to unlock from your device or a cloud storage service like Dropbox and Google Drive.

  • Enter the correct password used to encrypt the PDF file

  • Once the unlocking process is completed, your file will be ready to download or view.


Unquestionably, WPS PDF and SmallPDF both have incredible features. But from the above comparison, you can see that WPS PDF offers even stronger features and better advantages.

WPS PDF, aside from being an efficient PDF editor, offers more comprehensive document editing features than other PDF editors. This makes it an ideal tool for increasing work productivity.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.