11 Best PDF Encryption Software to Install in 2021

The desire to protect your business documents and confidential data from hacking and fraud might become an important motivation for finding the best PDF encryption software. Such programs prevent unauthorized intruders from accessing your data.

Hackers can gain access to electronic documents and forms, especially when you share them. This means that you are at great risk if you don’t protect your PDFs. For businesses, the disclosure of confidential records can lead to financial losses as well as hefty fines.

Top 11 Best PDF Encryption Software

  1. Adobe Acrobat Pro DC - Premium complete PDF tool
  2. PDFelement - Recommended by experts
  3. PDF Suite Pro - Pro-level PDF encryption
  4. Foxit PDF Editor - PDF-solution for enterprises
  5. PDF Unshare - Free lightweight utility with encryption options
  6. PDFCreator - Open-source encrypting converter
  7. PDF24 Creator - Free PDF creator and converter
  8. Soda PDF - Free online encryptor
  9. Wondershare PDF Converter - Comprehensive converter for managing PDF files
  10. Folder Lock - For PDF encryption on mobile devices
  11. AxCrypt - Strong encryption service for small teams

As a rule, the best PDF encryption software allows encrypting the entire document, hiding the text, locking documents with a password, and granting permissions. Digital signature and the provision of secure file slots are advanced features. If you have configured it correctly, hackers won’t be able to do anything with the disclosed encrypted data.

1. Adobe Acrobat Pro DC – Our Choice

AES-128/256
  • Multiple protection methods
  • Compatible with Adobe formats and software
  • Adobe Document Cloud
  • A set of electronic signatures
  • Provides team protection
  • Subscription model

Verdict: This software is ideal for anyone working with sensitive data. The PDF format created by Adobe is easy to use and available on any device. You can use this best PDF encryption software for both desktop displays and mobile devices thanks to its responsive interface.

Adobe Acrobat DC can add passwords, encrypt files with certificates, or manage security settings to restrict actions. User accounts can be used to control access to your files. With the Pro version, you can permanently remove confidential information from PDFs. On the other hand, you can use Adobe Acrobat Reader for free if you don't plan on editing files.

acrobat dc pdf encryption software

2. PDFelement

AES-128/256, RC4-128
  • Multiple protection options
  • Full-featured PDF package
  • Digital signature, permissions
  • Cloud options
  • Compatible with Adobe Acrobat Pro, but it’s more affordable
  • Major upgrades are not included in the one-time purchase
  • Subscription for only one platform

Verdict: This professional all-in-one desktop solution lets you encrypt, edit, annotate, organize, convert PDFs and fill out forms. You can set 2 types of passwords, customize accounting data and personalize directories to avoid unauthorized access. Besides, you can protect your files from being edited, copied, and printed.

Before granting access to the document, you can permanently block confidential information. You can easily add watermarks and create complex digital signatures. This is the best PDF encryption software for personal use, bulk processing, or collaborative tasks.

pdfelement pdf encryption software

3. PDF Suite Pro

AES-256
  • Several protection methods
  • Fully functional package
  • Intuitive interface
  • One time purchase
  • Good search options
  • Only for Windows devices

Verdict: This program allows you to open, view, annotate, edit, convert, export, and create secure PDF files by setting permission levels. With the edit function, you can hide sensitive information permanently, or simply mask lines.

This PDF encryption software allows you to use 256-bit passwords and restrictions for protecting your files. The developers offer an extended money-back guarantee from 30 to 90 days as they are confident in the reliability of their PDF Suite Pro Edition.

pdf suite pro encryption software

4. Foxit PDF Editor

AES-128, ARC4-128
  • Multifunctional package for enterprises
  • Several methods and levels of protection
  • Supports Azure Information Protection
  • Integration with content management systems, cloud services
  • Features for users with disabilities
  • Enterprise level cost
  • Different Windows and Mac functionality

Verdict: This enterprise software integrates Microsoft Rights Management Services environments and uses Foxit add-ins to encrypt PDF files. You can do more than just open, edit, and organize text. It includes enough features to meet high-level security requirements.

This software supports such protection methods as signing with verification, editing protection, hiding metadata, encryption and electronic signature. Plus, this PDF protection software has audit logs, prevents screen capture, and restricts printing.

foxit pdf editor encryption software

5. PDF Unshare

128 bit
  • Multiple protection methods
  • Screenshots preventing
  • PDF expiry date setting
  • 2 output formats
  • Multilingual support
  • Windows only
pdf unshare logo
PDF Unshare

Verdict: PDF Unshare allows you to protect your PDF documents from unauthorized shared access and copying. This convenient PDF security utility will help you protect your copyright. It supports closed PDF and UPDF formats, which enables you to protect your content from being accessed by third parties.

This one of the best free PDF locker tools for Windows will come in handy for those who don’t want to disclose their confidential data. You can add an expiration date to PDF files, which will prevent them from being opened after the set date. Besides, nobody will be able to create screenshots when viewing your files. When editing your protected PDF documents, you can add text and change the color of a watermark.

pdf unshare encryption software

6. PDFCreator

AES-128/256
  • Several methods of protection and encryption
  • Supports scripts, tokens, automation
  • COM interface
  • Open-source code
  • Multiple languages, digital signatures
  • PDF editing is not available
pdfcreator logo
PDFCreator

Verdict: You can use this open-source converter for more than just creating PDFs. It has a great set of features for encrypting PDF files, decrypting PDF files, and setting up a virtual PDF printer. This free PDF encryption software allows you to protect your files by using a password, setting permissions, and adding signatures.

PDFCreator reliably protects your documents from unauthorized access or changes. You can limit access to your PDFs, require a password to open a document, or restrict printing and editing. Adding a digital signature increases security.

pdfcreator pdf encryption software

7. PDF24 Creator

128-256 bit
  • Multifunctional PDF-tool
  • Text capture and recognition
  • Virtual printer for PDF creation
  • Ability to add digital signatures, watermarks
  • No hidden fees
  • Windows version only
  • Simple encryption methods
pdf24 creator logo
PDF24 Creator

Verdict: PDF24 Creator is suitable for creating, viewing, managing, editing, encryption and decryption of PDF files, splitting and merging documents. You can insert watermarks, digital documents, or signatures.

This is one of the best free PDF editors that allows you to protect your PDFs with a password. Besides, you can apply some additional security settings to prevent your files from being printed. You can also set the encryption depth, add permission to edit, copy, and fill out forms.

pdf24 creator pdf encryption software

8. Soda PDF

AES-128/256
  • Full-featured solution
  • Desktop and online versions
  • Multiple protection methods
  • Decrypts PDF files
  • Available as a browser extension
  • Some limits on size and daily usage
  • Only online services are free
soda pdf logo
Soda PDF

Verdict: This PDF encryption software is a perfect alternative to Adobe Acrobat because of its easy-to-use PDF tools. With it, you can create, convert, split, annotate, merge files, fill out forms, set file permissions, and sign PDF electronic documents.

This program lets you protect your files with a password and manage who can edit, copy and print your files. This way, you can prevent people from making further modifications or any unwanted changes to your PDFs using advanced security tools.

soda pdf encryption software

9. Wondershare PDF Converter

256 bit
  • Allows saving layouts
  • Converts protected files
  • Advanced OCR
  • Three different degrees of compression
  • Batch and partial conversion support
  • No PDF creation and editing
wondershare pdf converter logo
Wondershare PDF Converter

Verdict: Wondershare PDF Converter is one of the most universal PDF converters on the market thanks to its many features. Previously it was free, but now you can pay for its Pro version or use it as part of PDFelement.

This PDF protection software allows you to protect your PDF documents with passwords and prevent other people from copying, printing, and editing them. Without a password, a user cannot open a document or change its content. 

wondershare pdf converter encryption software

10. Folder Lock

AES-256
  • Lots of protection methods
  • Stealth mode
  • Deleting files
  • Free space shredding
  • Self-decrypting files
  • Locked files are not encrypted
  • Only for Windows
folder lock logo
Folder Lock

Verdict: This software can block access to files and store them in encrypted lockers. Some encryption programs create encrypted versions of files and folders. Others provide secure storage locations like standard folders, but their contents are encrypted. The third type supports encrypted storage in the cloud.

This PDF encryption software supports all three approaches, combining ease of use with a wide range of features. It provides not only encryption, but also the ability to set a false password, protect against hackers, log unauthorized login attempts, back up all passwords, and get alerts about potential attacks.

folder lock pdf encryption software

11. AxCrypt

AES-128/256
  • Strong encryption for personal use
  • Fully multilingual
  • Public-key cryptography
  • Passport management
  • Focused on mobile devices
  • A limited free version
axcrypt logo
AxCrypt

Verdict: This is one of the best encryption software if you need something secure and free. It is specially designed for individuals and small groups within enterprises. However, the free version supports only AES-128 encryption.

Lots of users prefer this program due to its cloud storage capabilities. It provides auto protection to PDFs saved on Dropbox and Google Drive. Alternatively, you can access your encrypted files via a smartphone app.

axcrypt pdf encryption software
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