Cyber Security

Every time you send a PDF file, how confident are you that it is safe and secure? There are many valid reasons to protect your documents, while also keeping them accessible to people who have to access and review them. 

Password protection is key to document security. In PDF, it works by limiting access to the file by requiring a password upfront. Continue reading as we discuss further why you should protect your PDF with a password. 

Protect Your PDF File Using a Password

PDF was first introduced in the 1990s and since then, it has become an essential electronic file format for people from different walks of life—professionals, students, etc. As such, sending a PDF email attachment has become second nature to us. And, it’s no-nonsense to see to it that we protect PDF files, too. Below are some ways to password-protect a PDF file. 

• Add a Password Using an Adobe Reader 

Adobe Reader is available in several different versions, and these tools give you the option to protect a PDF with a password. All you have to do is open the PDF in the reader > Go to File and click “Protect Using Password”. You can set the password and limit access only for editing or for viewing it. Type the password and retype it to confirm, then click “Apply”. 

• Add a Password Using PDFBEAR 

Another way to secure your PDF file with a password is by using a free online platform that edits, converts, and adds a password to PDF. PDFbear is a conversion tool that lets you do just this and more. To encrypt a PDF file, upload it on the site and add a password. Afterward, your file will instantly be encrypted and protected from prying eyes. This PDF service is all online-based for easier access. 

Adding a password to your PDF limits access to the file to those who know the password. It is helpful when sharing high-stakes documents in a corporate setting. 

Why Password-Protect Your PDF? 

Think of PDF security as a way to protect your sensitive files against unauthorized use. Here, we discuss further the advantages of using passwords to encrypt and protect your PDFs and just how adequate it is in terms of PDF protection. 

1. Maintain PDF Integrity 

Certain types of files have to remain accurate, and one way to maintain their consistency is to lock them. It is necessary when you have approved a specific version of a document before exporting it as a PDF. In another point of view, locking the document will also prevent users from altering it when filling the embedded forms, whether deliberately or accidentally.

2. Limit Access 

We can’t stress further enough how locking the documents enables you to limit who can access them. This is helpful when your PDF document contains sensitive information that you want to keep away from prying eyes. Another instance is when the PDF features content that is either sold or available only to your subscribers. 

Protecting intellectual property is essential on both an individual and enterprise level; locking your document and encrypting it with a password is one way to keep your work from being illegally reproduced and shared without authorization. If you want to share trade secrets and core processes, make sure you utilize such copyright protection features. 

4. Prevent Unwanted PDF Sharing/Printing

PDF files can be easily shared. Without proper protection, they can be leaked to anyone, even those who are not authorized to access them. If you have to share information via PDF, make sure to use such tools to prevent further unauthorized sharing. This is also an issue when printing a PDF file. Fortunately, however, the same PDF tools also allow you to prevent the printing of PDF documents. 

Other Ways to Protect Your PDF 

Protecting your PDF with a password is by far the most convenient way to deter unauthorized document access. While it’s not foolproof, you can increase the security it offers by using it in combination with other security measures, some of which are as follows. 


Watermarking has been used as early as the 13th century to claim ownership of documents. But, in the digital sense, it has some other applications such as discouraging the illegal distribution of confidential information or tracing a document in case of leakage. You can watermark your digital documents either by adding a logo, email address, or other marks that can easily be traced back to you. Another basic application of a watermark is to classify a document (e.g. confidential, sample only, copy only, etc.) This should better inform the recipient of how to better treat the file.

Document Expiry 

There are potential scenarios where it’s better to either revoke access to a PDF file or limit access so that it’s not permanently available to the recipient. Some examples include when an employee has left the company, a contract with a third-party provider has ended, or you have a project during which access to information must be limited within a set period. Setting an expiry date to your PDF is also helpful when you have a limited-time offer or when you want to prevent a link from being reused. All these scenarios can be managed with document expiry or self-destruct features. 


Other PDF protection services include document tracking which is helpful in situations where you are transferring sensitive information and you have to be careful about how far it goes. Overall, the steps you take to secure your PDF document depend on the level of protection you require. 

In addition to that, there are PDF editing tools that let you add e-signatures to your PDF document before sending it out. These e-signatures are legally binding and carry the same weight as any pen and ink signature on a paper document. 

The reasons discussed above should serve as a good reminder of the potential risks involved when you don’t use any security measures with your PDF. Nevertheless, the solutions that follow let you explore your options in securing valuable data. 

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Clare Anderson

Not a green elephant! Part-time blogger in technology, gaming and gadgets.

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