How to Protect Your PDF Files in a PDF Reader

Security is one of the main reasons why so many people, especially organizations, prefer to keep their important files in PDF format by using PDF reader.

For example, let us consider Microsoft Word. It does allow you to prepare documentation but doesn’t promise any kind of security. PDF readers on the other hand, let you encrypt entire PDF files and the content in them.

PDF readers let you protect files by applying passwords, give particular rights to specific individuals. In particular, PDF readers restrict from editing anything without permission.

Here’s how you can apply these security measures in your PDF file with the help of a PDF reader. This guide is written with Adobe Reader in mind, and may not be applicable in case you use a different tool, like Chromebook PDF reader.

Applying Password On A PDF File

In order to protect any PDF file, open the file and click on the file menu. The file menu will display a bunch of options, select properties. It will ask you to sign in, in case you aren’t logged in from your Adobe ID.

Once you click on the properties option, it will take you to a new window that says ‘Document Properties’. Select the second tab that says ‘Security’. Now select Password security from the drop down menu. It will ask you to type in a password.

Make sure that you choose a password which you can easily remember and is also difficult to guess for others. Latest versions of Adobe Reader also tell you how strong your password is when you enter it. Once you’re done typing in the password, click okay and your file will be password protected.

Some PDF readers might have a protect option that lets you encrypt a PDF or any other type of file.

Restricting Editing In A PDF File

PDF readers are reliable because they provide you the exact type of security that you need. If your need is to let people view the PDF file, read it but not edit it then it can be achieved using any latest PDF reader, such as Adobe Reader.

Open a PDF file that you wish to lock for editing and click on properties from the file menu. Scroll down a bit to the permissions area and click on ‘Changes Allowed’. Once you do, a drop down menu will display four options. Which are:

  • Insert, Delete And Rotate: Clicking on this option will restrict others from inserting, deleting and rotating the document.
  • Filling Form And Signing Signature Fields: This will restrict other users from filling PDF forms, as well as, restrict them from signing documents.
  • Commenting: Selecting this option will let you restrict other users from commenting on any part of the document.
  • Extracting Pages: Choosing this option will save your file from getting a page extracted from it by other users.

Manage Permissions

You can also restrict users from accessing or editing a PDF file or give only specific people the right to view and edit the file. Customizing permissions can increase the security of your document and restrict people from changing or copying the contents of the file.

These options can be found in the security tab and under the permission area. You can also restrict people from printing documents at their own will.

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