How to Protect Adobe Acrobat Files From Being Edited or Copied


Portable Document Format files can be universally viewed by any user with a PDF reading program. Because the source material may be from nearly any printable file, all types of content may exist in a PDF. That noted, there may be material in a PDF file that you do not want users copying or editing. This is easily solved by adding a password in Adobe Acrobat.

  • Open the PDF file that you want to secure. Click the "File" menu and select the "Properties" option. From the Properties dialog window, click the "Security" tab. This process will work with all three versions of Acrobat: Standard, Pro and Suite.

  • Click the "Security Method" drop-down menu and select the "Password Security" option. Click the "Yes" to allow changes to the security of the PDF. This action will open a separate Password Security dialog window.

  • Click the "Restrict editing..." option in the Permissions section. Enter a password that must be used to edit the PDF. Select the "None" option under both the "Printing Allowed" and "Changes" allowed menus. This will prevent the PDF file form being edited, copied or printed without the password. Click the "OK" button to complete the process.

Tips & Warnings

  • There is no way to recover the password if you forget it. You should write down and store the password in a secure location, or maintain a non-password protected version of the document.

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