Tomfoolery: copying text out of password protected PDFs

I’ve lately found myself having to copy text out of a range of password-protected PDFs for Entirely Legal Reasons. Under Windows there’s a nice set of tools for engaging in such tomfoolery: see this lifehacker article for more info – but I’ve found a stupidly simple way to do this under Mac OS X, provided you’re allowed printing privileges.

Open the PDF up in preview, bring up the print dialog, and on the handy-dandy ‘PDF’ button-menu-thing (doesn’t that thing break, like, a gazillion bits of the human-computer interface guidelines?), choose to Fax the PDF. When the fax dialog opens select ‘preview’, and after a brief pause it’ll bring up a new PDF, out of which you can copy the text without having to worry about passwords.

Ain’t that wunnerful? Obviously this depends on the PDF allowing you to print, but it does the trick for me.

Thanks to Dimension in the comments who pointed out that Colorsync can do the same thing – just open the file in there and save it out as a PDF and it’ll no longer be password protected.

One Response to “Tomfoolery: copying text out of password protected PDFs”

  1. Dimension says:

    you can also open a PDF in Colorsync,
    it will also remove the password

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