How to protect PDF files with passwords and permissions using Acrobat XI

Learn how to password protect PDF sensitive information by applying PDF passwords and file permissions.

By Lisa Croft – September 7, 2012

 



In this tutorial, learn how to password protect PDF sensitive information by applying PDF passwords and file permissions to control how people can use your files.

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How to protect PDF files with passwords and permissions using Acrobat XI

Lisa Croft – September 7, 2012

When document security is important, Acrobat XI allows you to easily apply security options in a few steps. Using the Acrobat toolbar and Microsoft Office applications, you can set your document's security options. Just select Acrobat, then create PDF, then protect PDF and you'll see your options for securing the opening or permissions of the document right here. You can also set permissions directly in a PDF file to prevent others from changing your document. Within Acrobat, select file, properties. Then we'll select password security. You'll set your permissions for printing or editing the document. Then you'll use your password so that if you need to change your permissions, you can. I'll confirm my password and save, then my file is secure. There's even a lock option to notify users that you've protected the file. With Acrobat XI, you can distribute PDF documents with confidence, knowing your information is protected.


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Products covered:

Acrobat XI

Related topics:

Protect PDF

Top Searches:

Apply PDF passwords and permissions, get electronic signatures from others, sign and send documents

30 comments

Lori Kassuba

3 weeks ago

Hi Laura,

Under Password Security, select “Filling in form fields and signing existing signature fields” under the changes allowed dropdown. This will prohibit editing but allowing signing.

Thanks,
Lori

Laura

1 month ago

I need a PDF password protected, but also allow those without the password to e-sign the document.  When I add the password, other users cannot sign.  With no password, others can sign (but then also edit the document, which I do not want)

Lori Kassuba

2, 2015-10-15 15, 2015

Hi Rameez,

As I mentioned before, you’ll need Acrobat to lock a PDF file. You can test out the functionality using the 30-day free trial at:
https://acrobat.adobe.com/us/en/free-trial-download.html

Thanks,
Lori

Rameez

6, 2015-10-13 13, 2015

Yes it is Adobe reader file but i cant keep it lock, need some suggetion

Lori Kassuba

11, 2015-10-09 09, 2015

Hi Rameez,

You’ll need Acrobat and not just the free Reader to set passwords on PDF files.

Thanks,
Lori

Rameez

4, 2015-10-07 07, 2015

hello,

i cant keep my pdf file with password,
i already try same option but nit success. kindly send me details how to keep lock PDF file.

Lori Kassuba

12, 2015-09-14 14, 2015

Hi ashish,

Can you provide additional detail on what you’re looking for regarding passwords and PDF files?

Thanks,
Lori

ashish

3, 2015-08-24 24, 2015

how to give password to scanned file in .pdf extension files

Lori Kassuba

9, 2015-08-21 21, 2015

Hi sanjay,

To password protect a PDF by using an open password do the following:
1. File > Properties > Security tab.
2. Select Password Security from the Security Method dropdown.
3. At the top of the dialog, check “Require password to open document” and enter a strong password.
4. Click OK and save the file.

Thanks,
Lori

sanjay

12, 2015-08-18 18, 2015

how to password to pdf files which cannot be open

Lori Kassuba

11, 2015-07-29 29, 2015

Hi Balraj gurjar,

Sorry to hear you lost your password. Unfortunately there is no way to recover it from within Acrobat.

Lori

Lori Kassuba

11, 2015-07-29 29, 2015

Hi tshabalala and Ramya,

You’ll need Acrobat and not just the free Reader to password-protect a PDF file.

Thanks,
Lori

Balraj gurjar

1, 2015-07-23 23, 2015

Help me lost my password.

Ramya

7, 2015-07-20 20, 2015

hi i need one help.how to Lock pdf file using password.in adobe reader please hep me.

tshabalala

9, 2015-07-03 03, 2015

issh guys am unable to create adobe readere password pdf please healp

Lori Kassuba

1, 2015-06-08 08, 2015

Hi Silvia,

I would password protect the PDF and be sure the select no changes allowed in the Permission section.

Thanks,
Lori

Silvia

5, 2015-06-05 05, 2015

I have a scanned .pdf containing an entire file (hundreds of pages). I want to send this to another party. How do you secure the .pdf so that it cannot be altered or tampered in any way.

Lori Kassuba

2, 2015-05-28 28, 2015

Hi jamir,

Make sure you’re opening your PDF in Acrobat Reader (preferably the latest version). If you’re still prompted for a password then the file has been password-protected and you’ll need to ask the document author for the password to open it.

Thanks,
Lori

jamir

8, 2015-05-21 21, 2015

please help i open the Aadher pdf file show in enter password please help. plz plz plz…........

Lori Kassuba

10, 2014-12-09 09, 2014

Hi VK,

You need Acrobat and not just the free Reader to add password security to your document.

Thanks,
Lori

VK

7, 2014-12-08 08, 2014

i am anable to create password in pdf

Lori Kassuba

11, 2014-10-30 30, 2014

Hi Tom,

Unfortunately HIPAA doesn’t outline specific technical practices like encrypting just an attachment or the whole email. So, you would want to contact a lawyer about compliance.

Thanks,
Lori

Tom

1, 2014-10-28 28, 2014

Would this kind of protection (i.e., password required to open and print) be sufficient for HIPPA compliance, or would additional encryption of the file be required before emailing patient medical records?

Thanks!

Lori Kassuba

1, 2014-08-14 14, 2014

Hi Susan,

Only the Pro. version can do this. There is a pre-existing Action on the Exchange that can do this at:
http://acrobatusers.com/actions-exchange

If you don’t see the Action Wizard panel in the Tools pane, you can open using the menu command View > Tools > Action Wizard.

Thanks,
Lori

Susan

9, 2014-08-13 13, 2014

Is there a way to protect an entire folder in Adobe XI vs individual documents?  Perhaps I should use the word “batching” the entire contents of a folder which could hold thousands of individual pages.

I tried to open Adobe Pro XI to find the action wizard to batch and could not locate ... please advise.  I have been assigned to create passwords for the folders of 10 people, and individual docs is not an options.

Lori Kassuba

2, 2014-07-25 25, 2014

Hi Nancy Hopkins,

You’ll need Acrobat and not just the free Reader to add security to a PDF file.

Thanks,
Lori

Nancy Hopkins

11, 2014-07-23 23, 2014

I have a PDF document that I wish to password protect before sending it off in an email. When I click on Properties and open the Security tab the Security Method is locked and I am unable to change the field. Is there another way to protect it?

Kirstine

6, 2014-07-07 07, 2014

Thank you Lori those snapshots were very helpful. One last question, after applying the settings you provided is there anyway to avoid the prompt asking if I want to save each file once the password security action that I created has been applied?

Thank you
Kirstine

Lori Kassuba

12, 2014-07-07 07, 2014

Hi Kirstine,

If you have the Pro. version of Acrobat, you can use an Action to do this. As an example, you’ll find a pre-existing Action on the Actions exchange that restricts editing and copying of content within a PDF document using password security. Note that the passwords needs to be the same for all the files.
http://acrobatusers.com/assets/uploads/actions/SecurityAction.pdf

Thanks,
Lori

krstine

10, 2014-07-06 06, 2014

Hi Lisa

How can you secure multiple pdfs simultaneously? I have a folder of 1000 pdfs to apply the same security setting to but can only apply the settings I want individually using your process.

Thank you
Kirstine

Lori Kassuba

12, 2013-08-02 02, 2013

Hi Ann,

Glad to know you figured it out.

Lori

Ann

4, 2013-08-01 01, 2013

Ah ha!  I needed to be using Adobe Acrobat, not Adobe Reader.  Problem solved.

Ann

6, 2013-07-31 31, 2013

I opened a PDF and tried to follow the instructions.  However when I selected File/Properties/Security the screen wouldn’t allow updates, I can just see what is already selected: No Security and Can Be Opened with all versions of Acrobat.

Lynne

3, 2013-02-13 13, 2013

Excellent tutorial! Clear consise and simple to follow and implement. Thank you!

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