How to Save a PDF File So That Others Cannot Edit It

By Ken White

The Adobe portable document format was developed in 1993 to allow document sharing. A file saved as a PDF document does not require people viewing the document to have the software that created the document installed on their computer. Adobe PDF files can be viewed and printed with a free program, such as the popular Adobe Reader, and edited with an application such as Adobe Acrobat. You can prevent others from editing a PDF by adding password security to the file using a program such as Acrobat, a downloadable converter such as PrimoPDF or a password protection website such as PDFProtect.

Adobe Acrobat

Step 1

Click the Windows "Start" button, and then click "All Programs." Select the "Adobe Acrobat" icon to open the program.

Step 2

Click the "File" menu and select the "Open" option to load an existing PDF file. Alternatively, select the "Create PDF" option to create a new PDF from a file, a document in your scanner, a Web page or data in a Windows clipboard.

Step 3

Click the "Advanced" menu and select the "Security" option. Click "Encrypt with Password." Click the "Yes" button at the prompt to change security settings on the document.

Step 4

Select the compatibility of the password-encrypted document from the "Compatibility" drop-down menu. Choose "Acrobat 7.0 or later" to ensure maximum compatibility with an acceptable level of encryption.

Step 5

Click the "Encrypt All Document Contents" radio button. Click the "Restrict Editing and Printing of the Document" check box. Enter a password in the "Change Permissions Password" text field.

Step 6

Click the "Printing Allowed" drop-down menu to allow printing of the PDF in low or high resolution, or select "None" to disable printing without the password. Click the "Changes Allowed" drop-down menu to allow specific changes to the document, or select "None" to allow no changes to the PDF. Click the "OK" button. Type the password again to confirm the new security setting. Click the "OK" button.

Click the "File" menu and choose "Save" or "Save As" to save the encrypted document. Now, no one can edit the document without first entering the password you entered.


Step 1

Download and install the free PDF creator from the PrimoPDF website.

Step 2

Click the Windows "Start" button and then "All Programs." Scroll to the "PrimoPDF" folder and click. Click "PrimoPDF Settings."

Step 3

Click the "Change" button on the PDF Security panel. Click the check box next to "Require a Password to Change Security Settings and Access Specific Functions" to select that option.

Step 4

Enter a password for the PDF and retype it to confirm. Select "None" on the "Changes Allowed" drop-down menu. Click the "OK" button. Click the "Save Settings" button.

Drag and drop the PDF file you want to protect into the "PrimoPDF - Drop Files Here To Convert" icon on the desktop. Doing this applies the password to the PDF document.


Step 1

Open a Web browser window and go to Click the "Browse" button to load a PDF file. The file must be 10 MB or smaller.

Step 2

Type a password for the document in the "Password" text field. Type the password again in the "Re-enter password" field to confirm. Select an encryption level for the file. Click the "Protect!" button.

Click "OK" to save the file to your computer. The password-protected file is saved with "-protected" appended to the file name. For example, "resume.pdf" would be saved as "resume-protected.pdf."