Apply Password Security to Your PDF Documents - dummies

By Jennifer Smith, Christopher Smith, Fred Gerantabee

Adobe Acrobat Creative Suite 5 password security features provide you with the ability to restrict who can open and view the PDF documents you distribute.

Selecting the Encrypt with Password option from the Secure button in the Acrobat task bar limits access to the PDF file. Only those who know the password can open the file.

Documents are only as secure as the passwords that protect them. To guard against discovery of a password, use passwords that are six or more characters in length and include at least one number or symbol. Avoid using words in the dictionary and short passwords. For example, the password potato is less secure than p0tat0, which mixes numbers and letters.

To apply password security to a file, follow these steps:

1With a PDF file open, click and hold the Secure button on the Security taskbar and choose Encrypt with Password.

Click OK when the dialog box appears, verifying that you want to apply security to this PDF. The Password Security – Settings dialog box appears.

2Choose Acrobat 7 and Later from the Compatibility drop-down list.

Although Acrobat 9 and later provides more robust security, few people are using version 9 of Acrobat, making it difficult to distribute the file with this high level of security.

3Select the Require a Password to Open the Document check box.

Enter a password in the Document Open Password text box. Remember to use six or more characters and include at least one number or symbol.

You can also add additional security settings. Or you can use this setting as the only security to be applied to the document.

If password protection is the only security measure you apply to the document, authorized users can access the document by entering a password. Users with the password may also be able to edit or print the document unless you apply additional security measures. We discuss ways to limit the editing and printing of PDF files in the next section.

4Click OK. Confirm the password and click OK again.

The dialog box closes.

5Save, close, and then reopen the PDF file.

A password dialog box appears asking for the password to access the secured file. Every time a user accesses the file, he or she will be required to enter a password.