Prevent PDF from being copied, edited using Adobe Acrobat

It is easy to add a password to protect PDF files using Adobe Acrobat Pro (not the free reader). In a related article, we learned how to prevent others from opening a PDF with a password. Two types of passwords are available. Except the Document Open Password as we have explained in previous linked post, you can also set a permissions password to restrict printing, editing, and copying content in the PDF. You can find more details about these two types of PDF passwords and how the protection mechanism works from this page. Today, we will outline the quick steps to restrict editing or copying of your PDF files using Adobe Acrobat Pro on a Mac. Protecting PDF using Acrobat on Windows PC involves the same procedure.

Method 1. Set permission password to restrict editing of PDF using Acrobat

Open the PDF document you want to protect in Adobe Acrobat Pro on your computer. Click Protect tool from the right pane. You will then see a toolbar with options to restrict editing, encrypt PDF, etc. Choose Restrict Editing, then enter a permission password, confirm the password, click OK to save the password. Finally go to save the document to apply the security settings. Go to File menu > Save or Save As to save the PDF file.

quickly set permission password to protect pdf and restrict editing using Adobe Acrobat Pro for Mac

Method 2. Customize permissions from File Properties in Adobe Acrobat

You can review a full list of restrictions and customize permissions from File Properties in Adobe Acrobat. Open the PDF file you want to secure in Adobe Acrobat. Open the File menu, choose Properties from the drop-down menu. Switch to the Security tab. Choose Password Security in the Security Method box if not yet.

To customize permissions, click Restrict editing and printing of the document.

  • Choose None in the Printing Allowed drop-down menu to prevent printing.
  • Choose None in the Changes Allowed drop-down menu to disable any changes.
  • Don’t tick the Enable copying of text, images, and other content option to protect your PDF document from being copied.

Disable all the editing privileges to create a read only PDF file using Adobe Acrobat. Again you need to save the PDF file to apply all the security settings you have made above.

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