Frequently Asked Questions

Is PDFEncrypt really free?

Yes, PDFEncrypt is completely free and is released under the AGPL.  Donations are greatly appreciated if you find this app to be helpful.

How do I use PDFEncrypt?


  • Select an unencrypted PDF file that you want to encrypt.
  • A destination (encrypted) filename is automatically generated.  Leave as-is or change to the desired file.
  • Enter the desired password or click Generate to generate an alphanumeric password.
  • Click Encrypt
  • The PDF file will be encrypted and saved in the destination location.
It says I need .net Framework. What is this?

The Microsoft .net Framework is a set of supporting software libraries that PDFEncrypt needs to run.  If the framework is not installed automatically during PDFEncrypt setup, you can download and install from Microsoft by clicking here: Download .net Framework 4.7.2 installer.  Simply download and run the installer and follow the prompts to install.  Then launch PDFEncrypt and start creating encrypted PDF files!

What do the settings do?

PDFEncrypt provides several encryption options as well as program features. Click the “Settings…” button to configure the app. 

    • Confirm password – Requires the user to re-enter the password to confirm it before encryption is performed.
    • Encrypt metadata – PDF files contain metadata about the document.  This setting allows you to encrypt or leave this data unencrypted.
    • Permissions:
      • Allow printing (hi-res) – users will be permitted to print the document in full resolution
      • Allow printing (low-res) – users will be permitted to print the document, but only at low resolution (i.e. 150dpi)
      • Allow modifying – allow users to modify the document
      • Allow modify annotations – users will be permitted to modify annotations
      • Allow copying – users will be permitted to highlight and copy text/graphics from the document
      • Allow form fill – users will be permitted to fill existing forms in the document
      • Allow assembly – users will be permitted to assemble the document
      • Allow screenreaders – screen reader software will be permitted to read the document
    • Algorithm – select an encryption algorithm to achieve the desired compatibility with Adobe Reader versions.
    • After successful encryption:
      • Show destination file in Explorer – Windows Explorer will be opened with the encrypted file selected
      • Open destination file – attempt to open the encrypted document with the default PDF viewer application (if any)
      • Close PDFEncrypt – close the PDFEncrypt software
      • Run a program – run the specified executable program and pass the encrypted filename as the first parameter
What encryption algorithms are available?

PDFEncrypt supports AES-256, AES-128, RC4-128, or RC4-40 encryption.  AES-256 is recommended, but is only supported by Adobe Reader 8 or above.  If you must support older readers, select from the other encryption ciphers, or request that users update their Reader software.

I found a bug, have a feature suggestion, or need help. What to do?

Contact us using the “Ask a Question” button below.

Does PDFEncrypt handle large files?

PDFEncrypt successfully processes PDF files over 100MB, containing multiple graphics and text.

What are the system requirements?

Windows 7 or newer – .net Framework 4.7.2

I forgot the password I used to encrypt a file. What now?

If you forgot the password, the PDF file can’t be retrieved.  You should always save a backup copy of the unencrypted document.  That’s why PDFEncrypt won’t allow you to overwrite your existing document with the encrypted version.

Does PDFEncrypt contain viruses, spyware, or adware?

No. The official binaries downloaded from PDFEncrypt.net do not contain malware. The installer is generated with NSIS and contains the executable, dll’s, and supporting files needed to run PDFEncrypt, as well as a .net Framework installer. You can also download the source code and build it on your own computer if you have concerns about third-party software.

Who is behind PDFEncrypt?

PDFEncrypt was created by Ryan Griggs, a developer and IT professional located in the eastern United States, in response to a need expressed by one of his clients.  When unable to find any free or inexpensive software to meet the need, he built this app and released it as open source software.