Please Try a Different Browser

You are using an outdated browser that is not compatible with our website content. For an optimal viewing experience, please upgrade to Microsoft Edge or view our site on a different browser.

If you choose to continue using this browser, content and functionality will be limited.

Blurred business office shopping mall

Making a PDF Non-Editable in 5 Simple Steps

After creating a brand-new PDF document for business use, it is vital to ensure that the information it contains remains safe and secure. For some documents, security is a minimal concern—for example, a PDF of marketing materials or scanned receipts may not be a high priority for hackers. However, you may wish to lock down other kinds of documents, especially those with more complex contents, to prevent employees or outside users from making any edits.

These critical documents could be official news releases, proprietary product information, or fillable forms. You may already know how to use a Word to PDF converter but not how to save a PDF form as Read Only. Preventing users from making edits with PDF software is an essential process, and so is ensuring that a user cannot edit the PDF's contents in other software, such as Microsoft Word. Thankfully, there are easy solutions.

With Kofax Power PDF, you can not only manipulate and change documents in many ways but also make sure that other users can't do the same. Let's take a look at a few of the methods that you could use to learn how to save a PDF as Read Only.

Happy pretty cute woman working with computer drinking coffee

Lock Down the PDF With Encryption

A PDF file is not automatically editable within Microsoft Word. However, modern versions of Microsoft Office will attempt to convert the PDF to Word format so that users may make changes. Although not a perfect process, it is one way that someone could try to make changes to your document.

One simple way to ensure fewer concerns about the document's integrity is to use password-based encryption on the PDF. With a strong password and encryption options (those supported by Power PDF include AES-256), unauthorized users won't even be able to open the document, let alone try to open it in Word to make changes. This method is reliable for securing a document when you convert from Word to PDF as well.

How Can I Make a PDF Not Allow Editing?

If you don't want to hand out the password to multiple users who may need to view the file but who should not edit it, you can use Power PDF to set restrictions using a permissions system. With these options, you can restrict editing, printing, and other actions in a way that will make it impossible for any unauthorized users to make changes or tamper with the contents in any way.

Here’s how:

  1. Open the document in Power PDF.
  2. Navigate to the Security tab and click Manage Security.
  3. Check the box that says, “Set a password to restrict editing of security settings.” Enter a password.
  4. Set restrictions, including whether to allow printing and which changes you wish to allow. You can also forbid copying text and images.
  5. Press OK and save your document.

You now know how to save a PDF as Read Only on a Mac or PC. You could also convert the document manually and set restriction settings in Word instead. If you need to retain a Word copy of the PDF content, you can rely on Microsoft's access control settings to prevent editing. This process works similarly to the methods that you'll find in Power PDF.

How Do I Save a Fillable PDF as Read Only?

What if you need to know how to save a fillable PDF to Read Only mode? The process is the same as the one that we’ve described above, with one additional step.

If it is critical to prevent forms from being modified or filled out, you can choose to “flatten” the document. Flattening a PDF automatically removes form features. Here’s how:

  1. In Power PDF, select Advanced Processing.
  2. Select the Process option.
  3. Select “Flatten” and adjust options to remove the necessary form elements.
  4. Click OK and save your new flattened document.

You can then follow the previous set of steps to put the document into a Read Only mode that requires a password for users to make changes.

Do More With Your Documents With Power PDF

With multiple pathways to securing your PDF documents and preventing unwanted changes, Power PDF simplifies this vital task. Instead of wasting time searching for solutions and explanations online, a few quick clicks is all that it takes to secure documents.

More than just a PDF to Word converter, Power PDF's rich functionality is ideal for supporting many other workflows related to working with digital documents. Explore these features firsthand to discover their value with a free 15-day trial. When you're ready to explore cost-effective licensing, contact our customer service team for further information.

Blur image of empty boardroom with window cityscape background. Business concept

We know PDFs can be critical to your individual or business needs.

Find the PDF solution that’s right for you