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How to Unlock PDF After Signing: A Complete Guide

Digitally signing a PDF document usually leaves behind the inclusion of a randomized password on the document. While this is a way to ensure the document's safety, it can also be a liability for many users. In such an instant, the need to unlock a signed PDF is necessary using the right tools. Although the data held in the document is confidential, it still needs to be accessed by the right person.

For that, they can consider using the tool that can be used to unlock the signed PDF. For this purpose, the article compiles the most appropriate methods.

Part 1: All PDFs Are Locked After Signing? Why?

PDF Will be Locked by Digital Signature

PDFs are locked immediately after digitally signing them with a platform to ensure the safety and integrity of the document itself. This acts as a verification of the document's content, which needs to be protected at all costs from unwanted alterations. This prominent security measure prevents all further modifications to the document.

Locking a PDF after signing is important in legal terminologies. The users are bound to protect the document and maintain its original state to ensure accuracy. This is a great way to maintain trust between parties while managing the document.

PDF Will Not be Locked by Electronic Signature

Adding an electronic signature to your PDF document will not be locked automatically unless you set a password manually. To see the differences, please read our article on electronic signatures vs. digital signatures.

Part 2: How to Unlock PDF after Electronically Signing

After making your PDF signabele, you add an electronic signature and then add the password yourself, then you can check this method.

UPDF is an all-in-one PDF editor that has the availability of advanced functions to electronically sign PDFs, add passwords and permissions to PDFs, make PDF modifications to PDFs, as well as convert PDF files, etc. To unlock a signed PDF with an open password or permissions password, follow simple and easy steps here:

Before starting, you need to go to click the button below to download UPDF on your computer.

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Instruction: First of all, you need to remove the password from the PDF. Launch UPDF on your device and press the "Open File" button to open your secured PDF by entering the password if it has an open password. Afterward, choose the "Protect Using Password" option and select "Remove Security." You will now have to follow the on-screen instructions to remove the password. However, this method can only work if you know the security password.

Additional tips:

  • After removing all the PDF securities, you can now edit the PDF file freely. Go to the "Edit" mode and start editing or adding text, images, or links to the document.
  • You can also delete the signature if you don't need it. Access the "Comment" tool of UPDF and right-click on the signature. It will open a drop-down menu from where you have to select the "Delete" option to eliminate this signature. You can save the edited document by pressing your keyboard's "CTRL + S" or "Command + S" keys.

Part 3: How to Unlock a PDF after Signing a Digital Signature with Adobe Acrobat

Locking up a PDF with a password and signature is essential to protect it from unauthorized access and potential copyright infringement issues. This way, your document may get protected, but you'll be unable to edit it without a password. So, you have to unlock a PDF after signing with Adobe Acrobat.

Documents managed on Adobe Acrobat can be encrypted with admin-defined PDF-sealing passwords. Thus, whenever they add a digital signature, the document is protected with a particular encryption. However, the admins can also generate a new document with an updated password that can be sent to other users for viewing through the "Manage" page in Adobe Acrobat.

When it comes to unlocking them, you can follow the steps defined next for unlocking a PDF after signing it with a digital signature. Download this new copy of the PDF and open it. Select the "Lock" icon on the top-left corner and select the label "Permission Details."

Continue into the "Security Method" drop-down and change it to "No Security." Provide the password and select "OK" to verify the removal of the encryption password.

how to unlock a signed pdf

Part 4: How to Unlock a PDF After Signing If You Don't Know the Password?

If you are not aware of the password to the signed PDF document, you can consider using an online tool to unlock a PDF document. Format PDF is a renowned service featuring this particular feature for its users. For those who wish to unlock their PDF after signing without knowledge of a password, they can have it done using the steps provided below:

  • Step 1: Open the official link to unlock PDF using FormatPDF and continue to select the "Select PDF Files" button.
  • Step 2: Upon adding the PDF document, select the "Unlock" button for viewing the PDF file on the platform. You can download the unlocked PDF in a while using the "Download PDF" option.

Part 5: What to Do If I Can't Remove the Signature of a Secured PDF?

A secured PDF is a password-protected PDF encrypted with a unique set of characters and numbers. In general, most secured PDFs have the availability of signatures in them. So, if you're looking to remove signatures, the first part has detailed instructions for it. If you're still unable to remove the signatures, you can try this method:

Instruction: Download UPDF via the below button on your Windows or Mac computer. Open the secured PDF file on UPDF and access the "Comment" mode from the left panel. Then, choose and right-click on the "Text Box" from the top toolbar. Choose the "Style" option and change the background color according to the color of your PDF and the text color as well. You can now hide the signature by drawing the text box over it.

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text box hide signature

Part 6: FAQs on Unlocking Signed PDF

1. Why is my PDF not editable after signing?

Maybe because the PDF that you're trying to edit is password-protected by the owner. In addition, there might be the presence of document encryption or even the document may have certificate-based security.

2. How do I make a PDF editable after signing?

If your PDF is non-editable, it may be because there is a permissions password on it. First of all, remove the password from PDF and it will become editable. Press the "Edit PDF" icon from the toolbar on the left side of UPDF to make your PDF editable after signing. Drag the mouse cursor to the area where you want to edit the text, perform a click, and start writing or rewriting the text.

3. How do I edit a DocuSign PDF after signing?

It is impossible if you want to edit and modify a DocuSign PDF after signing because when a digital signature is applied to a document, it becomes read-only. Moreover, the document instantly becomes read-only even for the signer when he/she signs the document. It is done because the purpose of digital signatures is to prevent changes in the original document and contracts.


Locking a PDF file with the password and signature can help you overcome unauthorized access issues, which is extremely beneficial. However, this will also slow down the editing process because you need to enter the password every time. Most of the protected PDFs generally comprise signatures as proof of document validation.

If you want answers to the question, how do I unlock a signed PDF for editing? This article provides brief instructions on how to do it. In addition, you also learned about UPDF, which is a fantastic tool for editing, converting, annotating, and organizing PDFs. It has a free trial version for you to test its all features. Just click the below button to download it and you can purchase the pro version after testing by clicking here.

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