Stuffing digital envelopes using Acrobat 7

Learn how to use the Attachments tab in Acrobat 7 to work with attached files.

By Donna Baker – August 19, 2006


In my opinion, one of the best features of Acrobat 7 is the ability to manage the attachment(s) that can be included with a PDF file—helpful so you won’t lose or forget them, and the recipient won’t have an issue trying to store and retrieve them. What’s especially great is if you move the PDF file on your hard drive, the attached content moves with it.

In an Acrobat or Adobe Reader window, attachments are shown in a horizontal pane across the bottom of the screen, shown in Figure 1. In Acrobat 7 and Adobe Reader 7, a paper clip icon at the bottom left of the program window signals a file attachment.

Figure 1: Read about attached content in the Attachments pane.
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Attachments are added to existing PDF files in Acrobat either as document attachments or as comments attached to a specific location in the file. Attach another document from the Attachments pane following these steps:

  1. Click Add on the Attachments pane toolbar to open the Add Attachment - dialog box.
  2. Locate and select the file to be attached.
  3. Click Open to dismiss the dialog box and list the new attachment in the Attachments pane.

Rather than a file attached to an entire document, indicate a specific location where the file is referenced by using a comment following these steps:

  1. Click the Attach a File as a Comment tool on the File toolbar.
  2. Move the pushpin cursor over the document and click where you want to place the icon to identify the location and open the Add Attachment dialog box.
  3. Locate and select the file and click Select to close the dialog box.
  4. The File Attachment Properties dialog box opens, allowing you to customize the icon’s appearance, the name of the attachment and its description.
  5. Click Close to dismiss the dialog box.

Figure 2 shows the Attachment icon on the page. The number of the page on which the comment is placed is shown in the Location in document column of the Attachments pane.

Figure 2: The attached file’s comment icon shows on the page. Information about the file is shown in the Attachments pane.
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Aside from adding more attachments in Acrobat, you can also:

  • Add descriptions, like the example shown in Figure 2
  • Open or convert the attachments
  • Export the attachment from Acrobat
  • Save, delete or search attachments

Sending secured files and attachments with eEnvelopes

Document security is always an issue whether you are dealing with securing PDF files, their attachments or both. Acrobat 7 Professional offers an
eEnvelope feature that stores a document and attachments in a secure wrapper, which can be password- or certificate-protected. Neither PDF files nor their attachments are encrypted, so once content is extracted from the eEnvelope, the files are no longer protected.

Acrobat 7 includes three default eEnvelope templates, shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3: Use one of three default templates for wrapping content in a secure
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Wrapping your files

Follow these steps to apply an eEnvelope using the wizard in Acrobat:

  1. Choose Document > Security > Secure PDF Delivery to open the Creating Secure eEnvelope wizard.
  2. Select the document(s) to attach to the PDF. Click “Add file to send” to locate and select additional files; existing attachments are automatically listed. Click Next.
  3. In the second pane of the wizard, choose a template from the list. The three default templates are named template1.pdf through template3.pdf. Click Next.
  4. Select either a manual or automatic method for delivering the file. Use the default auto-completed template if you have built a custom template that doesn’t need any customization added, or choose the manual option to add the text in the fields. Click Next.
  5. Select a policy to use for the eEnvelope. In the example, the password policy named password general is selected, as shown in Figure 4. Click Next.
  6. Review the selected options and click Finished to close the dialog box.

Figure 4: Choose a security policy to apply to the package.
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If you are encrypting the file and/or its contents, the Password Security - Settings dialog box opens. Choose the desired options and follow the prompts to secure the files. The final step varies according to the selected delivery option. If you chose to e-mail the eEnvelope, follow the prompts in the resulting e-mail dialog. Otherwise, the file is stored on your hard drive in its encrypted state until
you choose to send it or remove the encryption.

Encryption Options

If you decide to use encryption, choose the option best suited for your security requirements and your recipients’ program version. Select from these options:

  • Acrobat 5 encrypts the entire document and its attachments
  • Acrobat 6 encrypts all content except for metadata
  • Acrobat 7 encrypts only the attachments.

Making it personal

Rather than using one of the default eEnvelope templates – attractive as they are – it's fairly simple to create your own template to enhance your business or corporate brand. You can either start from scratch, or modify one of the existing templates. There are several stages involved in adding a custom template to your system, including:

  • Designing the custom content
  • Changing the template appearance
  • Modifying the template fields

Designing custom content

The three default templates are a good starting point for producing your own template file. The simplest way to generate a custom template is to create your own template appearance, like the example shown in Figure 5, and replace the original template's page in Acrobat. That way, you don't have to add and program fields, but merely adjust the ones already present in the original templates. Be sure the template file you create is the same size as the one in the default template file.

Figure 5: Create a custom template image to use for a secure eEnvelope.

Tip: If you are a power user, don't bother with an entire page replacement. Create your own logo image and paste it into the existing template file. Be sure to save your custom file with a unique name to prevent overwriting the default file.

Changing the template appearance

Follow these steps in Acrobat to replace the page in the template:

  1. Open the default template2.pdf template file. The file is installed with the rest of Acrobat’s installation files and is stored in this location: Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 7\Acrobat\DocTemplates\ENU.
  2. Choose Document > Replace Pages to open the Select File With New Pages dialog box.
  3. Locate and select the custom template file and click Select to close the dialog box; the Replace Pages dialog box opens.
  4. Specify the page replacements as page 1 of 1 and click OK to close the dialog box; click Yes to close the confirmation dialog box and replace the page.
  5. Save the file with a new name. Make sure to store it in the same folder as the other templates. When you want to apply an eEnvelope, your custom template is included in the eEnvelope wizard’s dialog box, as shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6: Store the custom template with the default templates to include it in the wizard's selections.
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Adjusting the template fields

The original template file has three fields, shown in Figure 7. The custom template is simplified by using a logo and returnee name, and needs only two of the fields.

Figure 7: The default template used as a basis for the custom template uses three text fields.

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Preparing eEnvelopes via Adobe LiveCycle Policy Server

An eEnvelope can be created from Outlook if you have access to Adobe LiveCycle Policy Server. In Outlook, click Attach as Secured Adobe PDF on the Standard toolbar to open the Attach as Secured Adobe PDF dialog box. Proceed through the dialog box, choose the security option and click OK to close it. The document attachment to the e-mail displays as usual, but (secured) appears in the attachment’s name.

Follow these steps to modify the fields on the custom template:

1. Choose Tools > Advanced Editing > Show Advanced Editing Toolbar to display the toolbar.

2. Click the Forms tool arrow on the Advanced Editing toolbar and select the Text Field tool from the list. When the tool is selected, the three text fields on the PDF document are active, indicated by a bounding box and the

3. Delete the envelope.sender field, since the new template uses a name and logo as part of the image.

4. Double-click the envelope.recipient field with the Text Field tool to open the Text Field Properties dialog box.

5. On the General tab, click the Orientation pull-down arrow and choose 0, as shown in Figure 8.

Figure 8: Modify the field’s orientation in the dialog box.

6. Modify the appearance of the field using options on the Appearance tab as desired. The example template uses a border color and fill, as well as custom font size and color, selected in the dialog box as shown in Figure 9.

Figure 9: Modify the field’s orientation in the dialog box.

7. Click OK to close the dialog box.

8. Double-click the field to open its dialog box and repeat the orientation and appearance selections.

9. Reposition and resize the fields on the template to their final locations, shown in Figure 10.

Figure 10: Adjust the fields' display on the template.
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