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I am looking for a gratis, off-line program on Microsoft Windows to batch unlock PDF files to make them OCRable in Acrobat.


I unsuccessfully tried https://sourceforge.net/projects/portablepdfunlocker/: it doesn't work on my PDF files, it displays "working x of y file" forever:

Screenshot of Portable PDF Unlocker not working

(I tried with Windows 7 SP1 x64 Ultimate)

To remove the security on just 1 PDF one can use Chrome -> save as PDF. But I couldn't find a way to batch process with Chrome: How can I save many PDF files as PDF files via Google Chrome? (unless using some ad hoc AHK/Sikuli/etc. scripts)

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  • Franck, about how many files are you talking about? Jul 31, 2020 at 7:15
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    I did some searching for you. I didn't find exactly what you want (hopefully someone else will), but in the meantime, will this help you?: github.com/jingyu9575/sumatrapdf-nodrm-unofficial I'm thinking perhaps that project in conjunction with a simple script. Aug 1, 2020 at 1:22
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    I'm thinking you'll be able to use AHK/Sikuli with the project I found along with either a batch file, PowerShell, or python to get it done. Not the prettiest, but should be fairly easy (if the project I found works for your files... which I think it likely will). I'm not sure how much it buys you more than Chrome except it should be much faster and lighter on resources (and, of course, it's completely open source!). Aug 1, 2020 at 1:29
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    @RockPaperLz-MaskitorCasket thank you, good point. I am trying to do so from Acrobat, but not success so far: How can I create an Adobe Acrobat action that prints a PDF as a PDF without any user prompt?. I'll try with some other programs and try to convince Microsoft Windows Explorer that "print" should go to PDFCreator (sounds possible according to forums.pdfforge.org/t/does-not-print-in-batch-pdf/11302/3) but other suggestions welcome. I'll keep you posted. Aug 1, 2020 at 4:00
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    Either portable (no writing to the registry or folders outside of its own) or sans installer (may write to the registry or other folders, but all files are initially copied by the user manually). Aug 1, 2020 at 6:19

1 Answer 1

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You can use PDFCreator:

  • gratis
  • offline
  • works on Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7 SP1

To batch unlock PDF files to make them OCRable in Acrobat, batch print them via PDFCreator. To batch print in PDFCreator, see https://www.pdfforge.org/tips/auto-save

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Tested with PDFCreator 4.1.2 on Windows 7 SP1 x64 Ultimate.

Note that by default PDFCreator comes with PDF Architect. If you don't want it, you can unselect during the installation process:

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