How to count words in a secured PDF file
Thread poster: Bright Bridge

Bright Bridge  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:12
English to Arabic
+ ...
Nov 26, 2005

Hi all,
I recenly had to give a total price for a PDF file. So, while trying to count words the sotware couldn't get the number of words because the file was secured. I could neither copy nor convert the file!
What could be the solution in this case?
Please advise!
Regards, Nabil


Siegfried Armbruster  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:12
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
Contact your client Nov 26, 2005

Just grab the phone or send an email. Ask for a version of the file that can be accessed.

Options are:
- OCR, explained in numerous forums.
- Manual word count

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2005-11-26 15:09]


Pilar T. Bayle (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:12
English to Spanish
+ ...
The only two ways... Nov 26, 2005

Options are:
- OCR, explained in numerous forums.
- Manual word count

I normally refuse to work with protected PDFs since I like working with a CAT tool. So whenever I get a protected file, I ask for an unprotected one, immediately. Funnily enough, many times I have received the unprotected file in a CAT-friendly format (i.e. Word), which even saves me the conversion.

PDFs are like photographs of pages. Even when they are not protected, they are tedious to convert.

I start considering raising my rates for PDFs, to cover the time it takes me to convert the document into an electronic format I can work with...

Kind regards,


[Edited at 2005-11-26 16:28]


fareedeh ghassemi (X)
Local time: 09:42
English to Farsi (Persian)
select and copy it to word Nov 27, 2005

I don't know it is useful for you or not, but I usually select and copy it to word in a temporary file, and then use word count option in tools.

[Edited at 2005-11-27 12:28]


Alexey Ivanov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 08:12
English to Russian
Try special word counting tools Nov 27, 2005

Try special word counting tools like AnyCount at It is only $30 and counts PDF files as well as many other formats in batch mode (several files at once)and generates a report. It also counts in lines, pages and characters. Very useful. You can download it for 30 days trial for free.
Another way if you do not want to invest in such tools is to remove security protection from the PDF file (menu/File/Document properties/Security)/ If it cannot be done, ask the client for the password protecting the file.
Still another way is to try to save the document as RTF or DOC file. But if the document is protected with a password you will not be able to do that.


monitor  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:12
English to German
+ ...
two more ways Nov 28, 2005

The given answers are all correct. Best way still is to get hold of an unsecured pdf-file.
It's mostly very rare that you actually get a password to open a file.
There are some more ways to handle this.

a) Buy yourself a pdf password-cruncher (search on Google) in order to solve this problem permanently.
b) Buy yourself Terminotix ( in which you will find a deformating tool that easily converts secured pdf-files into normal txt-files - and does more than that!
c) Use an older version of Acrobat Reader (4.0) where are this had been given for free. Just save the pdf-file under another name and you have it.
d) If you don't want to spend money on this at all, ask a friend who is equipped with the above mentioned tools to do it for you.

Kind regards


Diantha Guessous  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:12
Member (2002)
French to English
target word count? Nov 28, 2005

When I've had that word count problem (PDF,paper copies) different clients have suggested or accepted a rate based on the target word count. Depending on your language pair, that may be higher or lower than the per source word rate.
Best Regards, Diantha G.


Oksana Kornitskaja  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:12
German to Ukrainian
+ ...
Try PractiCount Nov 29, 2005

PractiCount ( should help you. If it does not work for your files, you can try to remove the protection first with Advanced PDF Password Recovery of Elcomsoft ( - this is a very efficient tool for such purposes.


Tom Bishop
Local time: 06:12
French to English
+ ...
Use AbracadabraCompteur Aug 10, 2008

Use AbracadabraCompteur - which is freeware available from


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How to count words in a secured PDF file

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