How to set PDF form fields to ‘read only’ using Acrobat X or XI

Learn how to create a fillable PDF form field that is read-only to prevent end users from changing the PDF form field data.

By December 13, 2011

 



In this tutorial, learn how to create a fillable PDF form field that is read-only to prevent end users from changing the PDF form field data. In Acrobat, you can set a PDF form field to read-only to prevent end users from changing the form field data. After you have finished editing your entire PDF form, you can also add Acrobat Security to your file. This will prevent any recipient from opening the PDF form and changing the form field properties.

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How to set PDF form fields to ‘read only’ using Acrobat X or XI

Lori KassubaDecember 13, 2011

In Acrobat X Std. or Pro, you can set a form field to read only to prevent end users from changing the form field data. To do this, open up the Tools pane, Forms panel, and click on Edit to enter Form Editing mode. Click on your form field or multiple form fields if you have them. And bring up the Properties dialog by clicking Ctrl + I on Windows or Cmd + I on the Mac. In the Common Properties area, check the box for Read Only. This will make all the form field that you have selected Read Only.

After you have finished editing your entire form, don’t forget to add Acrobat Security to your file. This will prevent any recipient using Acrobat Std. or Pro. from opening the form and changing the form field properties. To do this, exit out of form editing mode. Open the Protection panel and select Encrypt with Password. In the Permission section of this dialog, check the box for Restrict editing and printing of the document. Enter a password and select allow printing if you desire. And then under the Changes Allowed dropdown, select either Filling in form fields and signing existing signature fields, or Commenting, filling in form fields, and signing existing signature fields. When you click OK, you’ll be prompted to confirm your password. And then you're going to need to save the file before the security settings will take effect. Notice that now your read only form fields are not highlighted in blue when viewing the form.


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3 comments

Comments for this tutorial are now closed.

Lori Kassuba

11, 2015-12-30 30, 2015

Hi John Stubbs,

You use password permissions to secure your PDF to disallow changes. This tutorial explains how to do this:
https://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/how-to/security-permissions-protect-pdf-files.html

Thanks,
Lori

John Stubbs

2, 2015-12-27 27, 2015

I created a .pdf file in Acrobat Pro. I would like to make a ‘read only’ copy of this file so others can read it but not make changes.

Can you tell me how to do this?

Lori Kassuba

1, 2014-08-22 22, 2014

Hi Jansie,

I found another discussion that details how to do this specifically with a checkbox:
http://answers.acrobatusers.com/Use-check-box-reset-text-box-make-read-only-q66649.aspx

Thanks,
Lori

Jansie

11, 2014-08-20 20, 2014

OK, this is something Acrobat probably wouldn’t want to hear, but I created the form in Foxit Phantom, and the signature works fine in Foxit reader and Adobe reader. For some reason, if I create the same form in Acrobat XI, it’s not clickable in Foxit.

Jansie

8, 2014-08-20 20, 2014

Hi Lori,

Thanks for your reply, but I don’t think that’s what I’m after. That covers making an entry read-only, irrispective of whether an action was taken, it seems.

I need the action to take place once a checkbox is checked.

I’ll look around. I’m useless with JS though.

Lori Kassuba

4, 2014-08-19 19, 2014

Hi Jansie,

Let me know if this discussion helps to answer your question:
http://answers.acrobatusers.com/How-I-lock-selective-fields-PDF-form-q35284.aspx

Thanks,
Lori

Jansie

8, 2014-08-19 19, 2014

It’s great and all, but is there a way to add a checkbox in place of the signature field, that, once checked, turns all form fields into “read only”?
The digital signature is giving me trouble and a checkbox is an accepted way of making people agree to terms in an order form.

Comments for this tutorial are now closed.