How to Encrypt PDF Files with Passwords and Permissions

by Brad Selbst, Sales Director

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By password-protecting your PDF file, you’re using a form of encryption. What that means behind the scenes is that PhantomPDF employs a mathematical key to scramble the information in your PDF file so it can’t be viewed.

Only when someone inputs the correct password will the document decrypt and be put back into its original, viewable format.

PDF Editor Foxit PhantomPDF makes password-protecting your PDF file pretty straightforward. You can add, change or remove a password, and you can limit the actions users are allowed to take, such as editing, printing or sharing your PDF. Here’s how you do it.

How to password protect a PDF 

  1. Choose Protect > Secure Document > Password Protect, or click File > Properties > Security, choose Password Protection from the drop-down list.
  2. In the Password Protection dialog box, select the choices you want and set the password.

To restrict actions that users are allowed to take with your PDF, such as printing, editing, etc., choose from the following:

  • Print Allowed – enables you to choose the level of printing which users are allowed.
    • Print with low resolution – allows users to print at no higher than 150-dpi resolution.
    • Print with high resolution – allows users to print with any resolution.
  • Changes Allowed – defines which editing actions are allowed in the document.
    • Inserting, deleting, and rotating pages – allows users to insert, delete, and rotate PDF pages.
    • Filling in forms and signing existing signature fields – allows users to fill in forms and sign documents in existing signatures fields.
    • Commenting, filling in forms and signing existing signature fields – allows users to add comments, fill in forms and sign documents in existing signatures fields.
    • Any except extracting pages – allows users to do anything except extract pages.
  • Copy text, images, and other content – allows users to copy content in PDFs.
  • Enable text access for screen reader devices for the visually impaired – allows the visually impaired users to access text with screen reader devices.

Even if someone downloaded your PDF, once you add a password, they’ll have to use the password the next time they open your PDF.

As you can see, you’ve got a lot of control over not only who can view your PDF file, but also over what they can do with it.


4 thoughts on “How to Encrypt PDF Files with Passwords and Permissions

  1. Jim M

    I opened the “PROTECT” tab but do not see any option for Password Protect.
    The only options/tabs are PDF Sign; DocuSign; Sign&Certify; Validate (grayed out); Time Stamp document; Digital ID’s; Trusted Certificates.

    Is this because I have the free version of Foxit (Version 8.2.0.1217)?

    I checked the properties of my document/file and there is a security tab there but no way to alter it.

    Reply
    1. Laura Silva

      Hi Jim ,
      Yes, this is because you are using our Foxit Reader free version. Password Protection is a feature that you can find only in our Paid versions (PhantomPDF). We offer a free 30-day trial for our paid versions where users can see by themselves the benefits of having a PDF editor, if you want to try out our free trial go to https://www.foxitsoftware.com/downloads/

      Reply
  2. Marcelo Schneider

    Hello,

    Choose Protect > Secure Document > Password Protect, or click File > Properties > Security, choose Password Protection from the drop-down list.

    The option “secure document” is missing. Where is it?

    Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Laura Silva

      Hi “Secure Document” is the name of the tab. You can find it under “Protect” under “Password Protect”

      Reply

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