Acrobat X Essential Training
Illustration by Richard Downs

Password-protecting a PDF


Acrobat X Essential Training

with Anne-Marie Concepción

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Video: Password-protecting a PDF

Here, we have a sensitive document, payroll information for our company. What I would like to do is protect it with a password, so that people can't even open it unless they know the right password. How do I do that? Well, I go to the Tools panel and I open up Protection. I'm going to choose an encryption method for password. So Encrypt with Password opens up. And I know that somebody's going to be opening this with an older version of Reader, so I'm going to keep compatibility at Acrobat 7 or later.
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  1. 1m 53s
    1. Welcome
      1m 33s
    2. Using the exercise files
  2. 55m 0s
    1. Opening documents and moving them around
      6m 3s
    2. Working with the toolbars
      5m 59s
    3. Working with the panels
      3m 43s
    4. Customizing the toolbar with Quick Tools
      4m 40s
    5. Using the Pages panel to navigate
      3m 57s
    6. Selecting and copying text and graphics
      3m 24s
    7. Rotating pages
      4m 49s
    8. Changing the viewing options
      6m 12s
    9. Reviewing preferences
      7m 6s
    10. Finding words and phrases
      2m 35s
    11. Searching a PDF and working with the Search panel
      4m 21s
    12. Sharing PDFs by email and with Adobe SendNow
      2m 11s
  3. 33m 18s
    1. Creating PDFs from Microsoft Office applications
      9m 46s
    2. Creating PDFs from Creative Suite applications
      8m 57s
    3. Creating PDFs from within Acrobat Pro
      4m 27s
    4. Creating PDFs from a web site
      8m 22s
    5. Creating PDFs from the clipboard
      1m 46s
  4. 30m 58s
    1. Editing text
      8m 51s
    2. Adding text
      4m 40s
    3. Editing images and graphics
      3m 39s
    4. Changing the page number display
      3m 48s
    5. Digitally signing PDFs
      6m 26s
    6. Cropping pages and documents
      3m 34s
  5. 1h 6m
    1. Adding watermarks
      6m 17s
    2. Adding page backgrounds
      5m 41s
    3. Adding page numbers
      5m 56s
    4. Adding headers and footers
      9m 7s
    5. Adding bookmarks
      11m 30s
    6. Attaching files to a PDF
      7m 11s
    7. Adding metadata
      3m 45s
    8. Optimizing a PDF for file size and compatibility
      10m 12s
    9. Creating initial view settings
      7m 16s
  6. 37m 59s
    1. Adding hyperlinks to URLs
      7m 33s
    2. Creating links with the Link tool
      6m 9s
    3. Working with interactive actions
      6m 56s
    4. Creating and adding buttons
      6m 28s
    5. Adding video, sound, and SWF files
      7m 29s
    6. Adding page transitions
      3m 24s
  7. 27m 12s
    1. Extracting pages
      3m 53s
    2. Splitting a PDF into multiple files
      4m 13s
    3. Inserting pages from files and other sources
      5m 42s
    4. Moving, copying, and replacing pages
      8m 17s
    5. Combining PDFs
      5m 7s
  8. 27m 9s
    1. Exporting text
      8m 33s
    2. Exporting images
      6m 33s
    3. Exporting PDFs to Microsoft Word
      7m 21s
    4. Exporting PDFs to Microsoft Excel
      4m 42s
  9. 26m 27s
    1. Working with portfolios
      6m 57s
    2. Creating portfolios
      6m 26s
    3. Customizing portfolios
      7m 23s
    4. Optimizing backward compatibility
      5m 41s
  10. 32m 9s
    1. Creating an interactive form
      6m 42s
    2. Working with form fields
      6m 41s
    3. Editing field properties
      5m 34s
    4. Distributing and collecting forms
      9m 43s
    5. Enabling Reader to save form data
      3m 29s
  11. 34m 26s
    1. Adding sticky notes and other annotations
      9m 2s
    2. Using the drawing markup tools
      6m 10s
    3. Viewing, filtering, and replying to comments
      5m 24s
    4. Printing, summarizing, and exporting comments
      6m 35s
    5. Exporting comments to Word for Windows
      3m 28s
    6. Enabling extended commenting in Acrobat Reader
      3m 47s
  12. 25m 29s
    1. Understanding the different review processes
      2m 7s
    2. Using the email review process
      4m 33s
    3. Conducting a shared review with
      6m 54s
    4. Using the Review Tracker
      4m 32s
    5. Using the Collaborate Live review process
      7m 23s
  13. 31m 2s
    1. Reviewing the print production tools
      5m 18s
    2. Previewing color separations
      3m 51s
    3. Using the Object Inspector to learn details
      3m 13s
    4. Working with the Preflight dialog box
      5m 34s
    5. Fixing hairlines
      3m 57s
    6. Converting colors
      2m 27s
    7. Saving as a standards-compliant PDF
      6m 42s
  14. 19m 16s
    1. Scanning a paper document to PDF
      4m 44s
    2. Setting up optimization options
      6m 48s
    3. Recognizing text in a scanned PDF
      4m 43s
    4. Reviewing and correcting OCR suspects
      3m 1s
  15. 17m 18s
    1. Using the built-in Actions for automation
      5m 32s
    2. Editing Actions
      4m 7s
    3. Creating new Actions
      4m 51s
    4. Sharing Actions with others
      2m 48s
  16. 35m 26s
    1. Choosing a security method
      5m 27s
    2. Password-protecting a PDF
      7m 27s
    3. Securing a PDF with a certificate
      5m 6s
    4. Creating a digital id
      5m 43s
    5. Removing sensitive content with the Redaction feature
      6m 52s
    6. Revealing and clearing hidden information
      4m 51s
  17. 33m 45s
    1. Opening and navigating PDFs in Reader
      7m 30s
    2. Adding comments
      3m 14s
    3. Viewing extended features
      6m 53s
    4. Digitally signing a PDF
      6m 15s
    5. Sharing PDFs
      2m 29s
    6. Using
      7m 24s
  18. 3m 54s
    1. Final thoughts
      3m 54s

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Watch the Online Video Course Acrobat X Essential Training
8h 59m Beginner Nov 19, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In Acrobat X Essential Training, author Anne-Marie Concepción demonstrates how to create, modify, review, and share PDFs in Adobe Acrobat X Standard or Pro. Starting with a tour of the new panels-based interface, the course covers the basics of the software, such as creating and customizing PDFs, searching, editing text and graphics, and extracting PDF content to use in other programs. Also included are tutorials on creating forms, inserting interactivity and rich media, using the prepress tools, combining PDFs with other types of files to create customized portfolios, and ensuring document security. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Creating PDFs from web pages, Office files, and Creative Suite files
  • Signing PDFs with a digital signature
  • Creating interactive forms
  • Annotating PDFs with comments
  • Collaborating with others using PDF reviews
  • Making scanned documents searchable with OCR
  • Preparing documents for print with print production tools
  • Automating routine tasks with Actions
  • Securing PDFs with encryption and password-protection
  • Removing sensitive content with the Redaction feature
  • Sharing PDFs
  • Using the new features in Reader X and
Anne-Marie Concepción

Password-protecting a PDF

Here, we have a sensitive document, payroll information for our company. What I would like to do is protect it with a password, so that people can't even open it unless they know the right password. How do I do that? Well, I go to the Tools panel and I open up Protection. I'm going to choose an encryption method for password. So Encrypt with Password opens up. And I know that somebody's going to be opening this with an older version of Reader, so I'm going to keep compatibility at Acrobat 7 or later.

You could choose various levels up here. But if you choose Acrobat 10 and later, then you can encrypt it with the highest level of password security, 256-bit AES, which I think the last time I read would take 1,000 brainiacs working for 10 million years to try and crack. But this Acrobat 7 is fine at 128-bit AES. I think it will take them something like 50 years to crack. Which document components do you want to encrypt? Do you want to encrypt everything, or do you want to encrypt everything except from metadata, or only the file attachments and not the document itself? Notice that with this one selected, Encrypt all document contents, it tells me that all the contents of the documents will be encrypted, and the search engines will not be able to access the document's metadata.

So if you're going to be posting a PDF to the web, you want to pay close attention to this. If you had chosen Encrypt all document contents except metadata, that means that search engines could still find this. So if in your description or author name you're trying to protect that from the search engines, you don't want this PDF to be findable that way, then this will not help you. Instead, you would want to say all document contents, including the metadata. Now, you have two different choices. Do you want to require a password to open up the document? And I said that I did.

So I'm going to turn that on, and now I have to make up a password. This is a little strength indicator, telling you how good your password is. So as you probably know, a password should be a combination of letters and numbers and punctuation and case, but if I just type in say, "123", that's a pretty weak password. Easier to remember. You had to keep that in mind, because you have to remember this password. Seriously, if you don't remember it, you're never going to be able to open this up again, unless you hire like a 14-year-old hacker or something. So I'll go ahead, and I'll type in "123hello".

So now I've added text to it, and that makes it a little better. I'll just leave it at "123hello" for the purposes of this demonstration. So this password will be required to open the document. Let's see how that works. I'm going to click OK. It wants you to confirm that you remember the password, "123hello." Security settings will not be applied to the document until you save the document. After a while, you're going to get used this, and you can turn on Don't show this message again. I'll go ahead.

I'm going to do a Save As, and we'll call it "payroll-openpw." Then we'll close it, and now let's try to open it up. Oops! So you see if you don't know the password, let's try something, and try to open it. Sorry. Make sure the Caps Lock key is not on by mistake and try again. I'll just enter it for real "123hello", and it opens up.

Let's go ahead and change some of the password information so that not only can somebody not open it unless they know the password, but once they open it, they're not able to print it. Maybe you want to add more protection, or we want them to be able to be open it-- that's fine--but they can't print. So again, we go back to Protection > Encrypt. We want to encrypt with a Password. So we want somebody to require a password to open the document. That was "123hello," and then we'll turn this one on: Restrict editing and printing of the document.

So this is called a Change Permissions Passwords. See there are two different ones: Document Open and Change Permissions. So I'm going to actually give the same one to this one, "123hello". Printing Allowed? No. Or you could say only Low Resolution, or High Resolution is there. So if you want them to go ahead and be able to print at high-res, then turn that on. But actually we don't want them to print. Can they make any kind of changes? The default is no. You can change this to say, well, they can insert or delete pages.

So maybe you're sending out some kind of packet to sales reps. You don't want them to be able to change anything in there, but maybe there's information in there that's not material to them. It's for like a different territory. So you'd want to include that one, for example. Or they're allowed to fill in form fields, and they can sign existing signature fields. So maybe it's a form that want them to be able fill out. They can't change any of the other content in the form, and so on. You can also have them able to comment and fill in forms or they can do any kind of changes, except they cannot extract pages from it.

But I'm just going to say this one: they can fill in form fields. Do you want them to be able to copy text or images and other content? If you don't want them to, then leave this as is. If you say, "Okay, yeah. It's fine if they want to do that," then turn that on. And then Enable text axis for screen reader devices, usually people leave that on. That is so people with visual problems can still access the PDF. Then we'll click OK. What happened? Why, you cannot assign the same password for Document Open and Change Permissions.

That's what it's telling us. Oh! Sorry, about that. So we'll change this one to, of course, "hello123." There we go. Please confirm the Document Open Password. That was "123hello". You always get this dialog box-- after a while, you want to turn it off-- but what this is telling you is that not all third-party products fully support and respect these settings, so there may be other kinds of PDF readers that bypass security, and there's also some software that you can buy on various web sites, nefarious web sites, that let you crack PDF security.

So even though we're using a very high level of encryption, it's telling you be very careful and don't completely rely on this 100%. Okay, fine. What's the Permissions password? That's "hello123." That's it. Security settings will not be applied until you save the document, so I'm going to choose Save As > PDF, and we'll call this Open and Permission Password. Close it. And let's open that.

So to open it, we need the password, "123hello". Now it's opened. But if we want to print, it's grayed out. If we wanted to edit content, copy and paste stuff, we can't do that either. If you actually do want to be able to get in there, you need to go back down to Protection, and to remove the protection, you have to know the password to do that. That's how password-based encryption works in Adobe Acrobat.

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