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Question: Creating a 'locked' PDF?

I have a Pages project I want to export out as a PDF. I want to 'lock' the PDF so it can't be printed or manipulated with. But I don't want to 'lock' it so people can't read it.


I know I can do a 'Print', choose Save-as-PDF, and then select 'Security' to be able to do this. But I want to be able to use Pages ability to export different compressions (Good, Better, Best). I need the document to be smaller for an internet download.


Is there any way I can export out a Pages document (that is compressed) and still be able to use the 'Security' lock when making the PDF?


All ears,


Ben


When I try to re-print out a PDF from Preview (to be able to add security) ... it won't conform to the original page size and I get a lot of added white. Even when I set the print job to the original 'Page' size.

MacBook Pro (15-inch Glossy), Mac OS X (10.6.8)

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Mar 2, 2018 11:31 AM in response to Ben Low In response to Ben Low

That's definitely a valid concern... Is this what you're talking about (see image below)?

User uploaded file

All I know about that is that particular option is that when I set the bottom two checkbox settings, I was still able to edit the text of the PDF in Adobe Acrobat. So you might have to look at a PDF processor more powerful than Preview or Pages. :/

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Mar 2, 2018 11:47 AM in response to Ben Low In response to Ben Low

Ben,


Neither Pages, nor the print panel PDF sub-menus expose the PDF controls that are required to modify user permission feature access to the PDF. You will need a PDF editor to enable the individual user access settings as a post-processing activity.


Consider using a trial of PDFpen 9 or PDFpenPro 9 editors to see how these settings are managed. Although these applications are in the Mac App Store, the vendor site offers the watermarked trial. You will have to set a password that controls the features that you want to limit, but does not impact the user's ability to open or read the PDF, or access features that you have allowed.


LibreOffice v5.4.5 and v6.0.2 can open a PDF via the File Open panel. You can then choose File menu : Export to PDF…, and on that panel, select the Security tab. This will allow you to set a PDF with a permissions (not open) password that limits feature access for the exported PDF.

User uploaded file

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Mar 2, 2018 10:15 AM in response to zfJames In response to zfJames

Hi zf, does that also allow me to simply ‘lock’ the PDF so it can’t be manipulated with? I want people to be able to open and read it without a password, just not mess with the contents.


I’m on the road at the moment and can’t try it. But I need to solve the issue this afternoon. Deadline delivery time.


B

Mar 2, 2018 10:15 AM

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Mar 2, 2018 10:59 AM in response to Ben Low In response to Ben Low

With that clarification, the answer to your question is no. I haven't ever seen an option in Preview (or Pages) to prevent editing on a PDF. There is only one way that you could potentially prevent editing and it is (by no means) foolproof. Here's the explanation from the Preview Help Menu:

Lock PDFs and images

You can lock a PDF or image so that it can’t be edited or deleted. If you own a locked document, you can edit the document after unlocking it. Others can change the document’s contents only by creating a duplicate of the document and editing the duplicate.


Lock or unlock a PDF or image open in Preview: Move the pointer next to the document’s name in the title bar, click the arrow that appears, then select or deselect the Locked checkbox.

Tip: To lock or unlock a file in the Finder, select the file, choose File > Get Info, then select or deselect the Locked checkbox.


See also

Manage versions of a Preview document

Share your images or PDFs

Password-protect a PDF

Note that I removed links from the quote just because they won't lead to anything that's actually on a website. This locking feature doesn't prevent people from just creating duplicates and editing the duplicates, but it does seem to preserve the original.

Mar 2, 2018 10:59 AM

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Mar 2, 2018 11:10 AM in response to zfJames In response to zfJames

Mmm. So I'm wondering: if in Pages I 'Print' instead of 'Export', then create a PDF, I can 'lock' the PDF ... it seems a bit more 'locked' this way than via Preview or with the Finder ... if I do it this way, will someone who gets the PDF be able to duplicate it and then mess with it?


We're just worried that someone can open the PDF and then edit it ... and put it back out with false info added.

Mar 2, 2018 11:10 AM

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Question marked as Helpful

Mar 2, 2018 11:31 AM in response to Ben Low In response to Ben Low

That's definitely a valid concern... Is this what you're talking about (see image below)?

User uploaded file

All I know about that is that particular option is that when I set the bottom two checkbox settings, I was still able to edit the text of the PDF in Adobe Acrobat. So you might have to look at a PDF processor more powerful than Preview or Pages. :/

Mar 2, 2018 11:31 AM

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Mar 2, 2018 11:34 AM in response to zfJames In response to zfJames

Okay. Thank you most kindly zf. I guess you are right. I used to have Adobe Acrobat ... but I don't think Adobe does any stand-alone apps anymore, and I hate to have my credit card dinged every month for something I only use rarely.


I'll post back here if I find a solution.


Thanks again, very helpful, all the best, Ben

Mar 2, 2018 11:34 AM

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Mar 2, 2018 11:47 AM in response to Ben Low In response to Ben Low

Ben,


Neither Pages, nor the print panel PDF sub-menus expose the PDF controls that are required to modify user permission feature access to the PDF. You will need a PDF editor to enable the individual user access settings as a post-processing activity.


Consider using a trial of PDFpen 9 or PDFpenPro 9 editors to see how these settings are managed. Although these applications are in the Mac App Store, the vendor site offers the watermarked trial. You will have to set a password that controls the features that you want to limit, but does not impact the user's ability to open or read the PDF, or access features that you have allowed.


LibreOffice v5.4.5 and v6.0.2 can open a PDF via the File Open panel. You can then choose File menu : Export to PDF…, and on that panel, select the Security tab. This will allow you to set a PDF with a permissions (not open) password that limits feature access for the exported PDF.

User uploaded file

Mar 2, 2018 11:47 AM

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Mar 2, 2018 11:45 AM in response to Ben Low In response to Ben Low

The other thing you could try is BlueBeam's Revu. I don't know for sure if they allow you to edit security settings, but I really have no doubt that they do. BlueBeam is really overkill for your application, but they do have a 30-day free trial... https://www.bluebeam.com/solutions/revu-mac

Mar 2, 2018 11:45 AM

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Mar 2, 2018 11:49 AM in response to zfJames In response to zfJames

Thank you Viking and zf. I'm going to check out the apps. I also have PDF Expert on my system, but neglected to try it out before the trial run expired. Grrrr. I will find something and post back here what it is that I've found, touch wood...


Much appreciated,



Ben

Mar 2, 2018 11:49 AM

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Question: Creating a 'locked' PDF?