I got a call from a friend of mine recently. They needed to e-mail a business plan in PDF format to someone and wanted to know if there was a way to prevent the copying of the information. Now you may not sent a business plan in PDF, but I bet you regularly sent artwork in PDF format.
Regardless of the contents of the PDF, there are quite a few security settings you can use to protect the artwork. Just as a lock on your front door won’t stop a criminal from entering, neither are these security settings going to stop all criminals. They will definitely stop most illegal activity involving your PDF.
Below you will see the security options in CorelDRAW X6 when creating a PDF file. The dialog box is nearly identical in the most recent few versions and the same settings (and more) are available in the Adobe Acrobat software.
Let’s first talk about the Open Password. This password would be in place for anyone who wanted to view the PDF file in a PDF Reader. So in the case of the business plan, this could be quite important. That way if it got into the hands of someone who shouldn’t even see what was said, they could not open it without the password. Similarly, you may have artwork you’ve designd for an unreleased product and it should only be seen by certain eyes. Typically you will use this option a small percentage of the time for extra-sensitive files.
The Permission Password is something you should be using on almost all of your files. With it, you can prevent someone from printing the file or various types of editing. Where you would give the Open Password to someone who you want to open the file, you would rarely give the Permission Password to anyone. That’s because someone with the Permission Password can remove the passwords completely.
Just think about preventing printing. If you have artwork you send to a client, they could illegally give that to someone else to print. Disabling the printing ability would prevent that type of theft. Or you can prevent someone from editing (that includes importing the PDF into CorelDRAW) so they can’t do whatever they want with your artwork.
Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.