Making resources into PDFs 2.9

How to stop a PDF being printed

SMT may have been granted permission to upload a paid resource into our learning management system (e.g. eCampus) as long as we do not allow students to print or copy it. This can be done quite easily, though it should be acknowledged that Mozilla Firefox and SafariĀ do not respect these settings at this time. Internet Explorer and Chrome both do.

To completely protect a document learn about converting to a SWF (Flash) file, which does have other limitations.

The main tool you need is the following software installed to be able to change the security settings. If you don't have it installed on your own PC check with other staff in your section. For instance, administrative personnel may have it installed.

  • Adobe AcrobatĀ®

WARNING: Wherever copyright permission requires that students do not download or print a resource also add this as a notice where the resource is placed in your course.

Once you are logged onto a PC that has Adobe Acrobat, follow these steps:

  1. Open Adobe Acrobat
  2. Open the PDF document you wish to protect
  3. Go to File > Properties... and click the Security tab at the top.PDF document security properties
  4. The dialog that appears will show you the current settings for the PDF. By default everything should be 'Allowed'.
  5. Select the drop-down arrow alongside Security method: at the top of the dialog. Choose Password Security.
  6. A new dialog appears. PDF Password Security settings
  7. <Optional> You may if you wish select 'Require a password to open the document' to require anyone even viewing the document to type in a password, and
  8. Tick 'Restrict editing and printing of the document'.
  9. Once ticked you can optionally set "Printing Allowed:" and "Changes Allowed:" settings. By default both are set to None which means anyone viewing the PDF will be unable to either print or edit the document. You can also choose whether to "Enable copying of text, images, and other content" by ticking the relevant check-box. In Copyright protection situations please do not enable. Do leave the accessibility option selected though.
  10. Type in a password, making sure that you get at least a 'strong' rating. Make sure you have it written down somewhere! If restricting opening of the PDF as well as printing you will need to enter two different passwords. To make any changes to any of these settings Adobe Acrobat, and the passwords, will need to be used.
  11. Choose [OK] to apply.
  12. A standard warning appears to let you know that Adobe cannot guarantee these restrictions will not be bypassed. Pick [OK] to proceed.
  13. The Confirm Permissions Password dialog appears where you need to type in the password you have just set to confirm it. Then click [OK]
    PDF confirm permissions password
  14. Another alert appears to warn you the password will not apply until you have closed the document completely. Click [OK] to close.
  15. Click [OK] to close the Document Properties dialog.
  16. Pick the [X] button (or File > Exit) to completely close the document. It is now protected.
  17. You can now log-in to your eCampus course, [Turn editing on] and add the protected PDF resource to it using 'Add an activity or resource' File, or by drag & dropping it onto the course page.

NOTE: for the settings in a secured file to be altered you would need to re-open the document using Adobe Acrobat, return to FILE > Document Properties and pick [Change Settings]. You will then be prompted to type in the Password to enable any changes to be made. It is very important that you keep either a copy of the file that is not secured, or make sure you write the password down somewhere safe to refer to if needed.

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