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!