Using Passwords to Protect PDF Files
PDF open password, permissions password & PDF protection software
PDF Password Protection Software
Although you can use loads of applications to produce a PDF file in the Adobe standard format, not all of them will allow you to implement PDF passwords or digital signatures. It’s a bit hit and miss. For instance, perhaps the commonest application used to create a PDF is part of Microsoft Office. Their applications will allow you to set the password to open a document, but you cannot use them to change permissions or apply digital signatures.
The obvious choice of application for adding passwords to PDF files is Adobe Professional – the originator of the PDF file format. But you may find that their particular solution is not cost effective, or is not readily integrated into existing applications that you already have for creating or handling PDF documents.
Don’t worry, there are a plethora of other suppliers who will allow you to apply the standard Adobe password controls to PDF documents that you create with their applications. If you already have a PDF writer application just check that they provide those capabilities. If they aren’t able to do that then it depends on how much (or little) you want to pay. Suppliers who charge that you might want to look at include:
- Foxit Software
- A-PDF and similar
- or freeware such as pdfforge or CutePDF
- or a toolkit approach such as PDF-TOOLS.com
- or a server based approach like that of pdflib.com
These all work on your local machine and have refinements such as running in batch mode or digitally signing all documents within a folder.
Cloud based PDF Password Protection
If you would prefer to use cloud based services (in other words run the application that is applying the PDF passwords on somebody else’s server) there are quite a few suppliers you could consider, although they often don’t support digital signatures. These include:
- PDFProtect where you can apply passwords online or on your own machine but may have to accept advertising
- conv2pdf which has a size restriction of 6Mb
- pdfconvertonline who offer online or download solutions
- Appligent is an example of another approach of bundling additional services with either desktop or server based solutions
How to add password to PDF in Adobe Acrobat
- When you open a PDF document, click on the ‘Secure’ button on the Security taskbar.
- Select the option ‘Encrypt with Password’. When the dialog box opens, press OK. This verifies that you want the selected PDF to have password security applied to it. The Password Security Settings dialog box will then be displayed.
- Chose the “Require a Password’ in order to “Open the Document” check box. In the text box, enter a password and ensure that the password you use is more than seven characters with the inclusion of at least one number and special symbol. Press OK.
- Re-enter the PDF password and press OK once more.
This is one of the most primary forms of security you can add to a PDF file and it prevents unauthorized users from opening the document. If needed, additional layers of security can be added to the document such as limiting the editing and printing of the PDF document and this requires an additional password to be set – see PDF Restrictions below.
Secure alternatives to PDF Password Protection
Passwords are just the initial piece of protection for a PDF document. Keeping PDF files and documents safe requires an exhaustive procedure for powerful password conception and an easy to use method for users to conform to, to ensure the safety of the those passwords.
To ensure that your PDF documents are properly protected, consider opting for a professional document security solution that does not rely on passwords to keep documents safe. Not using passwords means you do not have to rely on users choosing strong passwords, storing those passwords securely, and administrators managing passwords on behalf of users.