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How can I remove "protection" from a document? PDF existing security settings override.

Bryce Nesbitt

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Bryce Nesbitt

I have a document that I own, downloaded from a government energy site, for which Properties->Security reads

Security: No Security
Printing: Allowed
Document assembly: Not Allowed
Change document: Not Allowed

I must submit this to a second government agency, who has complained they can't stamp it (e.g. "change it").
How can I strip the protections, short of printing to PDF?


Similarly, if I try to add a password I get:


"This document contains digital signatures".  But how do I remove those digital signatures?


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  • 1 year later...

Love it when you find a tech support question on Google that matches exactly what you're trying to do and there are zero responses...

I get e-signed documents on a semi-regular basis that they have protected the document in case signatures ever need to be validated in the future (EXTREMELY rare), but I need to copy & paste, extract, type on, and extract pages from the document often.  Is there a better way than printing the entire document to PDF, then re-OCRing it again in order to do that?  Seems like there should be a quicker way.  

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  • Official Nitronaut
Reymund Oyong

Greetings @Bryce Nesbitt @Hunter

Thank you for reaching out through our Community Forums!

Please note that a digitally signed document has security settings that prevent editing or certain actions that will invalidate the authenticity and can null the original contents before the digital signature. 

To see what actions you can perform in the document: open the document in Nitro PDF Pro > File > Document Properties > click on the Security tab.  Here you can see what actions are allowed on the document.

Reprinting the document to recreate another PDF can be done, however, please be aware that this process will remove the digital certificate which will invalidate and void the originality and authenticity of the document. 

Kind regards, 

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Thank you -- I fully understand that it loses originality/authenticity, but I always have access to the original document anyway in that extremely rare situation of needing to. For context, my use case is that I receive contracts that I have to copy & paste data from (party names, contact details, dollar figures, etc.), or add my signature to on an attached addendum. 

It sounds like you are saying yes, printing to PDF is the only way.  Is there a way to do so while retaining the OCR in the document?  I thought that it normally does, but it did not in most recently on a digitally signed document in which I could highlight words with my cursor, but not copy due to security, then when I printed to PDF, I could no longer select words, but had to re-OCR the document, which took an annoying amount of time (print to PDF + OCRing whole document).  

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  • 2 months later...

I have a very similar issue. I am attempting to combine 2 pdf documents into one pdf file using the Combine feature in Nitro Pro v13. One of the documents has digital signatures, and this is keeping Nitro from converting it in the combine process.  If I attempt to change the security on the pdf with digital signatures, I get an error message stating that in order to secure the document, digital signatures must be removed. Is there a way to remove the digital signatures?


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