The difference between PDF restriction and PDF protection

By Brad Selbst, Sales Director

Sometimes you want to allow anyone to make changes to your PDF file. Sometimes you want to prevent everyone from doing so. Sometimes you want only certain users—aka, those with the right password—to be able to make changes.

The same goes for even being able to open your PDF. You might want anyone and everyone to be able to open it, or only those who have the password to do so.

In a nutshell, that’s what PDF restriction and PDF protection are all about.

PDF restriction enables you to prevent someone viewing your PDF document from making changes to it, while PDF protection basically encompasses everything under the sun with respect to PDF restrictions, including:

  • Opening the PDF
  • Printing
  • Filling forms
  • Making comments
  • Managing pages and bookmarks
  • Modifying the document
  • Extracting content (such as text or images)
  • Changing the file’s security and permissions settings

In Foxit PhantomPDF, you can enforce restriction and protection by adding password security and following these instructions:

  1. Choose Protect > Secure Document > Password Protect.
  2. If you want to protect your PDF document from being opened, you can require a password. Once you set it, users will need to type the password to open your PDF file.
  3. If you want to add restrictions to your PDF document, in the Password Protection dialog box, choose Add Document Restriction to restrict actions such as printing, editing, etc. That means you’ll create a different password that users need in order to make changes. (Of course, you can also set your PDF document to allow no changes at all by anyone.)

No matter which you choose, make sure to follow best practices for password creation. That means using a phrase instead of a word, adding special characters and numbers, using capitalization, and of course, making sure that the password isn’t something you’re using in another account.


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