prevent print screen

Stop Screenshots of content

Prevent Screenshots: Disable Print Screen & Stop Screen Grabbers

Protect PDF documents from print screen and screen grabs

Safeguard PDF Security stops screen grabber applications from taking screenshots of protected PDF documents.  It disables the use of Windows print screen and stops screen grabs from being made by screen grabbing software.

Safeguard protects PDF files from screen capture – it stops screen capture on Windows, Mac, and Android operating systems, preventing users from taking screen grabs from both local and remote locations.

  Free 15 Day Trial

Protect PDF files from misuse

  • Stop unauthorized access and sharing
  • Control use – stop printing, copying, editing, etc.
  • Lock PDFs to devices, countries, locations
  • User and PDF expiry, revoke files at any time

How to prevent screenshots of documents with Safeguard PDF Security software

How to stop screenshots & prevent screen grabs of PDF document content

How to stop from users taking screenshots:

  1. Right-click on a PDF file(s) in Windows File Explorer.
  2. Select the option ‘make secure PDF‘.
  3. Select the ‘Environment controls’ Tab.
  4. Select the ‘Disallow screen capture’ option (this is the default).
  5. Optionally check the box to add a screen mask.
  6. Press the Publish button.
What is a screen mask?

A screen mask is an image that is displayed on top of your document if the user moves the mouse focus away from the Viewer window.

Using this option prevents users from copying text by typing it into another application (e.g. Notepad) while the Viewer is running.

How to disable print screen

When you ‘disallow screen capture’ Safeguard will automatically block print screen and prevent screen grabbing of your documents.

  Stop print screen & screen grabs: disable print screen & block screen grab software

Safeguard Secure PDF Viewers block print screen and screen grabbers from taking screenshots of PDF content

In 2007, we announced a major step forward in anti-piracy controls by adding functionality to prevent PrintScreen and third-party screen grabbing tools (such as SnagIt and Windows Snipping Tool) from taking screenshots of protected PDF content on Windows.  This was then extended to prevent screen capture on Mac and Android.

LockLizard was the first company to protect PDF documents with enhanced technical controls that resist all current PC-based screen grabbers, stopping one of the most common methods of IPR theft in its tracks.  Stopping screen grabbing is an important step in protecting IPR since it is an easy and simple way for users to obtain high-quality copies of document content.  Many screen grabber applications can automate the screen grabbing process so that an entire document can be copied very quickly and without user input.

Safeguard PDF Security can prevent print screen and third-party PC screen grabbers from taking screenshots of protected PDF documents.  Safeguard secure PDF Viewers block printscreen and screen grabbing applications using a variety of techniques – these include blocking and clearing video memory and the use of image overlays to stop simple copying and pasting.  Safeguard stops screen grabbing without monitoring keystrokes or screen grabber applications – system resources are therefore kept to a minimum and 100% compatibility with anti-spyware systems is assured.

While there is a real necessity to prevent print screen and screen grabbing, we recognize that there are genuine reasons to have screen grabbing tools.  We developed our technology to prevent print screen and the grabbing of screen content only for documents we have protected.

The DRM technology we use to prevent print screen and screen grabber tools is not invasive and does not affect any other programs or the operating system.  It takes the print screen protection that we can offer to a significantly higher level than any of our competitors, some of whom cannot disable copy paste or who just prevent print screen functionality by disabling use of the PrintScreen key.  Secure data room systems that advertise as PDF DRM solutions, for example, cannot stop users from taking screenshots because the browser environment has no control over the Operating System.

  Stopping remote screen grabber applications on Windows & Mac

Later updates to Safeguard Secure Viewer provided additional functionality to stop screenshot applications on remote computers from taking screenshots of protected PDF documents.  It prevents users from using remote connection screen sharing software such as Web Ex, GoToMyPC, etc. to take screenshots remotely.

If a remote computer connects to a device that has a protected PDF document open in the Viewer, then it will prevent screenshots from being taken by masking the document content.

Safeguard Viewer for Mac was also updated with screen grabber prevention functionality, preventing screen grabs on Mac computers from both local and remote connections.  If a user remotely connects to a Mac computer the Viewer is open on, then Safeguard displays a black or grey screen.

  Masking document content

Equally as important as stopping screen grabbing is the ability to mask document content if the focus is moved to another window.  When dealing with confidential documents, for example, you may not want users to be able to view the document while also copying text from it by typing it into another application (Safeguard stops copy/paste so typing text into another application is the only option available to users).

Safeguard PDF Security enables you to add a screen mask to prevent this.  When focus is moved away from the Viewer window, an image covers the document so that content cannot be viewed.

Online teaching and preventing screen grabbing

When providing online teaching or a training course, you probably want users to be able to take notes even if they cannot take a screenshot.  If this is the case, enabling the screen mask option would not be appropriate.

You would also not want to apply a screen mask if training course instructors are using your documents to teach courses and they’re using two windows – one to display the protected document and the other for notes /additional information.  This is why the screen mask in Safeguard Writer is optional.

  What happens when users try to screen grab protected PDF documents?

Windows & Mac screenshot prevention

When a user takes a screenshot on Windows and Mac and pastes it into another application, then either:

  • the last item they copied into the clipboard will be displayed (i.e. not the screen capture)
  • a black or grey window will be displayed instead of the screenshot

Android screenshot prevention

When the user tries to take a screenshot of your document, they will receive the message “unable to capture screenshot prevented by security policy”.

  Can you prevent screenshots using JavaScript?

How to prevent screenshots by disabling Windows print screen

Being able to use print screen is a feature of the Windows OS – users can simply press the PrintScreen key on the keyboard to take screenshots.

In a browser environment, you could use JavaScript to disable the prtscr key, or to return a different image/mask.  However, users can edit JavaScript in their browser and simply remove this code.  In addition, users can still take a screenshot by using the Windows Snipping tool or a screen grabber application such as Snagit.

So, while it is possible to use JavaScript to prevent basic print screen capture, it is completely useless in practice.

To prevent screenshots from being taken, you need to have a dedicated application installed that controls OS functionality and cannot be manipulated by users.

  Can you stop phone photos?

Preventing someone from taking a picture of the screen with a phone or other camera is a very difficult task.  Naturally, your computer cannot tell if a user is pointing a camera at the screen and as such cannot blank out the content to stop the screen capture.  To prevent screen capture in this way, the document would need to be housed in a controlled environment and users checked for recording devices before they interact with it.  This wouldn’t really work if you have employees who work from home or need to share the document with external partners.

What you can do instead is apply a dynamic, identifying watermark to the document. Safeguard allows you to protect the document once and insert an irremovable watermark with the user’s name, email address, and company.  Should they screen grab and share the document, it will be clear who the source of the leak is — providing a major deterrent.

  FAQs

How can I stop screenshots of copy-protected content?

Avoid data rooms and Adobe Acrobat protection and instead make use of PDF DRM software.  An application-based approach will always be better at preventing screen capture because it has more visibility and control over the user’s operating system.  However, it must also be able to prevent users from making an unprotected copy of the document and screen grabbing that. Locklizard fulfils all these requirements.

Is it possible to prevent screenshots on iOS?

Unfortunately not. Apple does not grant app developers a way to prevent screen grabbing from happening on iOS and so Locklizard does not guarantee protection against it.  Your best bet is to either disable use on iOS devices or apply a view watermark to the document that will immediately identify anybody who does screenshot and share it.

How do I stop Windows from taking screenshots?

There are some registry keys or group policies that you can tweak to prevent the use of the PrintScreen key on Windows, but there are issues with this approach.  Foremost, the user can still use a third-party screen grabber application or remote session to capture content.  Secondly, it requires that the admin has control over the device, which is not likely in a work from home or partner-sharing situation.

Thirdly, even if you could prevent screen capture across your OS, it would be a bad idea.  Employees would struggle to get support for issues and likely have a need to screenshot other content.  It’s much better to prevent screen capture only on documents where it is needed using software like Safeguard DRM.

Does Adobe Acrobat prevent screenshots?

No.  Adobe Acrobat does not contain any anti-screenshotting controls.  It doesn’t even attempt to stop Windows print screen.

Is it possible to stop people from screenshotting on a page?

You can’t stop webpage screenshotting.  This is because the user can manipulate the JavaScript in their browser to bypass anti-screenshotting controls.  They can also use a third-party screen grabber application, which the browser will be unable to detect.

Can you stop screenshots in Google Drive?

The above applies.  The only way to stop screenshots in Google Drive is to ensure that the documents you upload are encrypted and can only be decrypted by a secure application on the user’s local PC.

  Download Safeguard PDF Security software to prevent screen grabbing

How to stop screenshots and copy/paste of PDF content with PDF DRM software

Safeguard PDF Security provides PDF document security with Digital Rights Management (DRM) controls and US Government strength AES encryption.  It protects PDF documents from saving, copying, modifying, and unauthorized sharing & distribution.  In addition, the IPR owner can control whether users can print protected PDF documents, and if so, how many times.  Controls check how documents are used, by whom, for how long, and what can be done with them. You can also revoke access at any time regardless of where documents are located.

Safeguard PDF DRM protects your document content from being easily stolen by preventing Windows print screen and screen grabber applications from taking screenshots of your documents.  It will prevent print screen, disable copy paste, stop screenshots of document content, and stop third-party screen grabbers.

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