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Encrypt a PDF: how to protect your PDFs

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How to protect a PDF?
Tutorial: password protection and encryption of a PDF
Step 1: start PDF24 Creator and import the PDF document
Step 2: open custom settings
Step 3: configure PDF encryption, password protection and permissions options
Step 4: select a space to save the document

Encrypt a PDF: how to protect your PDFs

For most people, working with digital documents is part of their everyday life. Especially in many companies, a day without Word documents or Excel tables is hardly conceivable. Platform-independent PDF files are an excellent solution for grouping text, images, and graphics into a single document. This format is also very common in most offices around the world..

However, when it comes to security, it is the same as with all files; If you want to protect your content from unauthorized access, you cannot do without the necessary security measures. It does not matter if the document is stored on the hard drive, in a cloud space or on a web server, or if it is sent by email, as as soon as third parties gain access to the file, they can easily inspect the content, always and when it is not encrypted. In the case of sensitive content, such as customer data or internal company information, this scenario would have fatal consequences. For this reason, you should always encrypt PDFs or provide them with password protection. This article will show you how you can do it in just a few steps.

Index
  1. How to protect a PDF?
  2. Tutorial: password protection and encryption of a PDF
    1. Step 1: start PDF24 Creator and import the PDF document
    2. Step 2: open custom settings
    3. Step 3: configure PDF encryption, password protection and permissions options
    4. Step 4: select a space to save the document

How to protect a PDF?

No system is totally secure, so any files you store or send over networks are always at risk. For this reason, if you consider that the content of a PDF document is confidential or important, the best option is to protect it. For this you have a wide variety of tools to protect and encrypt PDF; even some free ones, like PDF24 Creator. For example, the program from the Berlin-based company geek Software GmbH, which allows you to create, edit and compress PDF files, is also used in the following tutorial as an example to encrypt a PDF and protect it with a password..

Note

If you send PDF files or other documents by email, you should not only encrypt the documents, but also the transmission of the mail itself. You can read how to do it in our article on "email encryption with TLS / SSL".

Tutorial: password protection and encryption of a PDF

The PDF24 Creator program is, as we have mentioned in the previous point, free, for both private and commercial use. On its own website, the manufacturer offers three different editions for download, although there are (currently) no functional differences between? PRIVATE ?,? BUSINESS? and? MSI? (for central distribution on company computers)..

In the first step, go to the official PDF24 website and select the most appropriate version to meet your needs in the download center:

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After clicking the link for the desired edition of PDF24 Creator, the download window will start automatically.

Once you have downloaded the file, start the installation by double-clicking on its icon. During the installation process, the wizard will also configure PDF24 as a virtual printer, which you can select at any time to save your documents in PDF format.

After installation, open the PDF24 installer using the desktop icon or the start menu and proceed as follows to encrypt your PDFs and protect them with a password.

Step 1: start PDF24 Creator and import the PDF document

The launcher gives you access to a number of tools, including a viewer for viewing PDF and the aforementioned PDF compressor. To start PDF24 Creator, click on the? PDF Creator? Button, which you will find on the start panel:

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Since users encrypt or compress their PDFs completely free of charge with PDF24, the software displays advertisements in the program's interface, both for advertising its own product and for external companies. In this way, the developer continues to generate income without costing users money to use their service.

In the next step, drag and drop the PDF you want to protect and password encrypt the PDF into the designated area. It will be displayed in a separate new window:

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Instead of dragging and dropping, you can also select the button? Add files? to import documents into PDF24 Creator.

Step 2: open custom settings

The PDF password and encryption feature is found in the user-defined settings of PDF24 Creator. However, these options do not allow you to add it directly, but only while saving a current project. Click the save button in the upper right corner of the imported PDF document window and click? User Defined? in the dialog box? Select output profile ?:

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You don't need to make any changes to the quality settings first.

Step 3: configure PDF encryption, password protection and permissions options

Change to the option? Security? in the left menu to access the menu of the same name. Here you will find all the relevant options to protect and encrypt your PDF. They are divided into four categories:

  • Password for encryption
  • Encryption depth
  • Password to open the PDF
  • Authorizations

Therefore, you have the option to encrypt your PDF by assigning an individual encryption password and specifying the encryption depth - 128 or 256 bits. Additionally, you can define another password, which must be entered later to open the document. Finally, at this point you can also specify what permissions the users have after opening the document. Just check the appropriate checkboxes or uncheck the ones that contain permissions you don't want to grant.

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Make sure the? Protect Document? is also checked so that you can apply the security features of PDF24 Creator to your document.

Step 4: select a space to save the document

Once you have configured the desired security settings, click? Next? and select a location to save the encrypted PDF:

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Selecting the location of the encrypted PDF file.

As in the previous step we have ensured that the PDF is protected with a password, the file cannot be opened without entering this key, regardless of the selected PDF viewer. For example, the Kdan PDF Reader program asks us to enter the password in the following window:

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The Kdan Mobile PDF Reader uses this dialog to react to a PDF file that is encrypted or password protected.

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