I've been trying to implement an action in the Action Wizard to batch remove the security on multiple PDFs. I came across this post and have been trying to implement the steps it describes:
The action I've set up loads the files and saves them to a new location, but the password protection is still there when I open the new files. The Encrypt step seems to be doing nothing at all. I'm running Acrobat XI on a free trial at the moment, so I don't know if something changed in XI where this technique no longer works or if it's a limitation of the free trial. My action steps look like this:
Open one of the PDFs and check the security. The security is not necessarily the encrypt process you are talking about (I really have not checked). If that is the case, then you have to disable the security to resolve your issue.
Well, I'm trying to remove the "Password Security". It's my understanding that when a PDF is password protected, it's encrypted, so that's why I'm sort of using them to mean the same thing. In the Encrypt action step, you can click on "Specify Settings" and the Security Method drop-down there is exactly the same as the Security Method drop-down when you look under the Security tab of Document Properties. That's why I would expect password protection to be removed by setting the Encrypt step drop-down to "None". That seems to be consistent with the instructions I've found on the web (like the one above), but those do seem written for older versions of Acrobat.
The workflow described on AcrobatUsers.com is no longer supported.
As it says on the Preferences dialog in Acrobat XI Pro, the concept of pre-entering a Security Method for an Action only works for scripts created with Acrobat X or earlier. If you try to do something to a secured file using an Acrobat XI Action, it will simply skip the tasks that aren't allowed.
You can see what's happening when an Acrobat XI Action completes by clicking the small "Full Report" link at the end of the Action timeline when it finishes. In your case, you'll see "skipped" against every Encryption task.
Ok, well I sort of suspected it was being skipped, but wasn't understanding why. It's a bit confusing since obviously this was something that was supported in previous versions and there is a "None" option in the Security Method drop-down of the Encrypt action step. If "None" is an option, you would think that would be a permitted action. So I take it there's no way around this issue? No other method of removing the password security? I find it odd that you aren't permitted to batch process an action that you can do manually file by file.
With the native tools in Acrobat XI you can't - but you can import an Action created in Acrobat X Pro and run it, even though it's not editable.
I have made you an Action which removes the security on a selection of files - download it here and double-click the SEQU file to install it.
As the instructions say, you must set your Action Wizard preferences to Security Method = Password before running it.
This only seemed to work on the initial install, then it disappeared from my actions when I restarted Acrobat. I tried reinstalling, but I got an error message saying it can't install over an action with the same name. Was anybody able to have this action work consistently after restarting? Just curious if this is a bug in the action or on my computer. Has anyone found another workaround to batch remove security from PDFs?
Go to Tools > Action Wizard > Manage Actions and make sure it's on the list. Bear in mind that if you have a lot of entries, only the first ones will be shown in the panel (use the Move Up/Down buttons to reorder). I haven't had any other reports of actions vanishing after a restart.
There's no other way to do this with Adobe software, and discussions about third-party encryption-bypassing tools are forbidden on this site.