Add PDF Watermark with PDF Document Watermarking Creator Software
Applying PDF watermarks for document security
One way to improve the security of your pdf documents is to add pdf watermarking to them. PDF watermarks can be used in two ways – to resist falsification, and to link the document with a specific authorised user.
In the first example, pdf watermarking is used in exactly the same way as watermarks on banknotes or cheques. If you try to make a fake it can be made very difficult to exactly copy the pdf watermark, so anyone seeing the document will also see that it is a fake. This use of pdf watermarking can be very important where official documents have to be printed/printable and must be demonstrated to be authentic. (This is how you know a 20 dollar bill or a ten pound note are genuine. It doesn’t mean documents can’t be faked. There are still fake banknotes doing the rounds and one pound coin in 36 is a fake. But pdf watermarking is significantly better than doing nothing.)
In the second example pdf watermarking may be used to link an identity to a document. The pdf watermark may be something as simple as a unique number which is associated with the authorized user of a document, or it may be their name, email address, company name and so on. The point of this pdf watermark is to make it clear who the source of the document is if it is not intended to be copied and passed around. This technique has been in use for a long time to identify the source of documents ‘leaked’ to the press or who it was obtained from by IPR pirates. The pdf watermark works because the source of the information (whether a leaked or pirated document) usually does not want to be linked to it. (This does mean that when using pdf watermarking in this way you need to have a clear link between the identity on the document and the identity of the entity that it was authorized to.)
PDF watermarking may use many of the subtleties of the physical world. If you think of a banknote, some watermarks seem inside the paper whilst others are on top. You can get something similar with pdf watermarks.
Think of the information being printed as if it were in layers, rather like a sandwich. The content sits in the middle, and the pdf watermarking can be over, or under the content, or both. Also the pdf watermark can be set to be lighter or darker than the content. In this way pdf watermarking is able to ‘blend’ with the content so that it has a more seamless presentation. This can help the pdf watermark to be less visually distracting – unless, of course, you want it to be very much in your face.
So applying pdf watermarking takes a certain amount of discipline and artistic judgement, it is not necessarily a mechanical process of having a ‘bog standard’ graphic and/or text and applying it to every document that goes out.
A standard pdf watermark may work very well when text documents are being sent, since their appearance is constant, but not so well if there are graphics or high resolution pictures as well.
One other thing to keep in mind when using pdf watermarking is the length of the document being protected. It is impossible to prevent someone from using a graphics or picture editor from editing out the pdf watermark. But, the longer the document, the harder the task for them becomes. See removing PDF watermarks.
Using text pdf watermarks that have a large font size, but are very ‘thin’, means they do not upset the eye so much, but are much more difficult to remove without making the document difficult to read. This is particularly so if they go over the top of graphics.
Short documents may need pdf watermarks that are graphics in order to occupy much more of the picture space making it more difficult to remove the pdf watermark, but probably making the document more difficult to read.
So if you want to apply pdf watermarks to your documents then there are many things to consider including how easily they can be removed. If you want to apply a pdf watermark that cannot be easily removed then you need to use PDF DRM software that enforces controls over the document (such as preventing editing, screen grabbing, printing to PDF or image printers, etc.). Locklizard Safeguard PDF Security and PDF Enterprise Security software ensure your PDF watermarks are enforced at all times.
How to add dynamic document watermarks using Safeguard PDF security
You can add dynamic watermarks when protecting PDF files. The variables you select are replaced when the document is used (viewed/printed) with the appropriate details (i.e. the user’s name, email address, date/time of use, etc.). By using dynamic watermarks you only ever have to protect the document once – the correct user details are displayed as they are dynamically taken from the user’s license – rather than having to protect a document for each individual user with fixed watermark data.
You can select different watermarks for both viewed (View Watermarks) and printed (Print Watermarks) documents as you may want to apply different text/images to viewed and printed content. You would only want to add a print watermark if you allow printing.
- To add a watermark to a PDF file go the View or Print Watermarks Tab in Safeguard Writer depending on whether you want watermarks displayed on viewed and/or printed documents.
- From the Text Watermark tab add the text watermark that you would like to be displayed. To add dynamic variables press the button and select the variables you want to add. These variables will be replaced with actual data when the document is viewed/printed.
- You can change the font, opacity, where the watermark is placed on the page (position), and whether the watermark is displayed on top of or behind PDF content. Displaying watermarks behind PDF content is less unobtrusive to the user yet still enables the document owner to clearly identify who the document originated from if it is unlawfully distributed.
- If your document or ebook consists of a cover page then you may want to check the ‘Don’t add watermark on first page’ checkbox so the visual effect is not spoilt by a watermark overlay.
As well as text you can also add an image watermark to your documents. This may be for example a company logo. However, the main use of watermarks is the ability to identify a user if a document is being distributed unlawfully (e.g. a user has taken a photograph of a viewed document or a scanned in and distributed a printed one).
Once a watermark has been applied to a document it cannot be changed. You have to re-protect the document to create a new watermark.