Adobe Acrobat Professional X and Protecting your Documents

Adobe Acrobat Professional X and Protecting your Documents


Now, remember when it was enough to save a document to pdf so that, for example, students could not make changes to the document?  These days are over, with many students having access to the same software that allows for modifying pdf files if they are not protected.  However, protecting your pdf files is very simple.

Here is how you do it:

When you have converted your document into pdf, and you have it open in Adobe Acrobat Professional X, click on Tools (top right), Protection.  One of the choices is Encrypt, and you want to choose Encrypt with Password.  Take a moment to read through this screen.

protection in Acrobat X

Notice that you can set a password to open the document (blue) -- you probably do not want to do this, as that will make your students' lives more complicated.

Look at the red -- Restrict editing and printing of the document -- if you select this and give it a password, you will nee to remember the password to edit the document, but your students will not be able to make changes.

Notice that you get more choices when you select Restrict editing and printing this document.  You can say that folks cannot print or only at a low resolution.  You can say that folks cannot make any changes to the document (None), or that they can fill in any form fields in the pdf file, or that they can extract pages (for example).

In addition, now that this is allowed, you can also choose to Enable copying of text, images, and other content out of the pdf file.  Students can do this if you check the box.  

One word of warning, though -- if folks know short cuts, take screen shots, or find other ways to "rip" content, all the password protection will not really make any difference.  If you are concerned with students not being able to have any kind of editing capability and you want to give them online access to such things as syllabi and assignments, you may want to consider posting your files in the Canvas tools for Syllabus, Assignments, or Pages so they are html files instead.

Content release date: Tuesday, February 05, 2013