I have a *.pdf file that is password protected. I have the password and I can view the pdf with mupdf. However, printing with CUPS via lpr -P PRINTERNAME *.pdf does not work. All my printing is done via the command line and cups lpr command and I don’t want to change that. Is there a way to have CUPS print password protected pdfs?

  • you can try and save the file to a temp file w/o the password.
    – Rabin
    Jul 17, 2014 at 12:01
  • Yes, but I’m also interested in a direct solution. Jul 17, 2014 at 12:18

1 Answer 1


Why not remove the password temporary and print the resulting unsecure pdf with lpr:

pdftk secure.pdf input_pw own output - | lpr

If you don't want that this command is listed in bash command history:

set +x history
set -x history



OR use a script (adapted from here):

unset password
prompt="Enter Password:"
while IFS= read -p "$prompt" -r -s -n 1 char; do
    [[ $char == $'\0' ]] && break
pdftk secure.pdf input_pw "$password" output - | lpr

Source for disabling bash history

  • That is exactly what I did to be honest given that I needed the document printed urgently. But the purist in me wants to know if there is a way without taking the detour. But given that within a few days no other solution turns up I take it that none exists and accept your answer. Jul 17, 2014 at 13:56
  • 1
    Ah well, yeah I haven't found or know of any other solution. man lpr doesn't give us any option, too. Darn.
    – polym
    Jul 17, 2014 at 13:59

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