25 Mar 2011, 10:29pm
Computers Work
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6 comments

How to create PDF files that cannot be printed or copied

I was asked at work if it was possible to create PDF files that was not printable or could not be copied, i.e. Select all, copy and paste in to a document. After some research it turns out that you can. And very easily!

The World Wildlife Fund came up with it’s own filetype that could not be printed. This uses the file extention wwf and is in fact a non-printable PDF. They would like you to use their own converter when you can actually do it all with the free office suites of OpenOffice.org or LibreOffice. Both are Microsoft Office compatible and a great alternative for people who like free open source software. How far you are willing to take the free bit depends on your own point of view. Here’s a nice write-up on both -> Open Office Dilemma: OpenOffice.org vs LibreOffice

I did this tutorial in Windows but I am sure it’s the same no matter what OS you use as long as you use OpenOffice.org or LibreOffice. I would also like to remind people that there is no such thing as perfect security and, no doubt, these files can be cracked and unlocked but it should at least make it a little harder!!

Just follow the following steps:

  • Open the document in either OpenOffice.org or LibreOffice and select File – Export as PDF

  • Click on the Security tab and set a permissions password.

  • Tick the Not Permitted box in both the Printing and Changes sections. Un-tick the box next to Enable copying of content. The finished screen should look like this.

 

  • Click Export to start converting your document. Select a suitable name and location for the new PDF file. By default it’s the same folder and the same file name as the original document.
  • Your document is now converted. When you open this document in Adobe Reader, the default program for viewing PDF files for a lot of people, the top of your screen will look like this:

Notice that the print button is not selectable and neither is edit – copy!

  • Right click on the document you wish to convert. Select Open With and OpenOffice Writer. Or OpenOffice Calc. Or OpenOffice Impress depending on the file type you are trying to convert.

  • Click on File – Export as PDF.

  • Click on the security tab and click set permission password.

  • Enter a password and enter the same in the confirm box. This would be used if someone wanted to edit the PDF file using a PDF editor. This is not possible with the software currently in the hospital and would not be very common. Press OK.

  • Tick the Not permitted box in both the Printing and the Changes sections. Un-tick the Enable copying of content box. The finished screen should look like this:

  • Click Export to start converting your document. Select a suitable name and location for the new PDF file. By default it’s the same folder and the same file name as the original document.

  • Your document is now converted. When you open this document in Adobe Reader, the hospitals default program for viewing PDF files, the top of your screen will look like this:

Notice that the printer icon is not selectable. Selecting the content by dragging your mouse over the document, clicking edit and copy doesn’t work either.


I followed all the steps and it did not work. It still prints copies etc

What operating system and open office version are you using? The steps works perfectly and I have used it many times.

*screen shots*

Yes, Screenshots still work.. As I said it’s not full proof but will deter people a bit :)

Hi

Everything works ok. I then sent it by email to myself to test it. I opened the file using the password and when the file opened, the print option was there though it did not allow copying. How do you restrict printing once the file is sent as an attachment thru email.

1 Jul 2014, 2:34am
by hermes_shevat

reply

thx it work perfectly

 

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  • A little bit about me!

    My name's Jan-Bart Spang. Born in The Netherlands and living in Mallow, Ireland. I work as a Medical Scientist at the local Hospital, married to Majella and spend most of my spare time doing things with computers and the internet. Welcome to my blog where I just keep a general collection of Linux things, funny things and other things worth mentioning in my life.

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