How to Make PDF Read-only

July 31, 20231.3K views

It's usually crucial to secure a PDF document once you've completed preparing it to prevent unwanted changes. Businesses may also have the ability to turn off printing and stop content from being copied and pasted. However, when users have completed a form PDF and want to send it back without making any more changes, this is especially important. You must understand how to save a PDF as read-only in order to accomplish this.

But as we'll see in a moment, not all read-only PDF saving techniques are created equal, since some can be readily circumvented to allow users to edit read-only PDFs.

If you are well aware of the risks of Adobe PDF and realize that it is ineffective for limiting the use of PDF files, but you yet need to know how to save a PDF as read-only with Adobe, continue reading. The following steps are Included in this

Steps to Make PDF Read-only

Step1

Launch Adobe Acrobat DC Pro and press File > Open. Browse to your PDF document and double-click it to open it in Acrobat.

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Step2

Select “Protect” in the right sidebar

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Step3

Click “Protect Using Password” in the top bar

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Step4

Select the “Editing” option, enter a secure password, and press “Apply”

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Step5

Select “File > Save As…” and save your PDF

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Be aware that your changes won’t apply until you save the document.  For additional protection, you may also want to enable the document open password in the “Advanced Options > Security Properties” menu.

You should also be aware that recipients will still be able to fill form fields using this method.  We’ll show you how to address that below.

Conclusion

The most of security measures used to create read-only PDF files may be easily circumvented using either freely downloadable third-party software or the OCR character recognition feature found in the majority of PDF viewers. The protections (PDF permissions to restrict altering or printing) included in Adobe Acrobat, which have long been bypassed using a wide range of techniques, are the ones that get misinterpreted the most.

You should instead look to WPS Office solutions like Locklizard for read-only PDF protection that is difficult to go around. Locklizard makes sure that document permissions or limits cannot be withdrawn and that documents can only be opened by those with express authorization by providing a wide range of document security controls and the ability to interact with existing workflows via APIs.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.