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How to Prevent Direct Access to PDF Files?

Published By Nilesh Kumar
Debasish Pramanik
Approved By Debasish Pramanik
Published On September 1st, 2023
Reading Time 8 Minutes Reading
Category Email Tips, PDF Tips

Summary Do you want to prevent direct access to PDF files? If yes, then, you have landed on the correct guide-up page. This guide will provide you with step-by-step instructions for your query on how to restrict access to PDF files. Here you will not only find one but two solutions that can be beneficial for your PDF file. So, let us start finding the best solution for you through this guide.

PDF is the most common file format for sharing documents that is widely used by people. In the rapidly growing era of digitalization, the security of your confidential data has become an essential concern. 

Now, imagine that a simple link can bypass all your security and grant access to crucial PDF data. This is the reality we face in the modern age.

Fear not, in this comprehensive guide, we provide a manual as well as one expert strategic solution that stands on query how to restrict access to pdf files. We will also discuss the expert tactics to protect against unauthorized access. Also, we’ll discuss strong methods through which you can make your PDFs more secure from strong passwords to using encryption as a strong defense.

Firstly let us understand the reasons to prevent direct access to PDF files.

Why Do We Need to Protect PDF Files?

As we know PDFs are crucial file formats. There has always been a need to protect these sensitive data and also the documents which contain that data. Documents are a fundamental resource for humans, especially in professional life. So, it requires a higher level of protection and access to the document. 

Therefore, it becomes important to prevent unauthorized access. This helps to keep your data safe from leaks and protects it from potential threats that could compromise its privacy and integrity. 

Encryption is a good way to prevent direct access to PDF files. Restricting access to a certain number of users is, however, just one of the approaches to document protection. Therefore, let us know how we can protect and restrict access to PDF files.

How to Restrict Access to a PDF Document

Restrict access to pdf files

As it becomes necessary to prevent direct access control of PDF, restrictions play a key factor in preserving PDF documents. So, basically, there are two approaches to prevent direct access to PDF files. 

The first one is the manual method and the other one is the Professional solution. The manual approach gives you steps with the help of Adobe Acrobat. The professional approach is not implemented with the help of Adobe Acrobat but it gives you a one-shot platform with advanced features. Hence, let’s see how to restrict access to pdf files by different approaches. 

Quick Steps to Prevent Direct Access to PDF Files

Step 1. Download PDF Lock Software & install it on your system

Step 2. Click Add File/ Add Folder to load the PDF

Step 3. Set the preferred destination path for the resultant file.

Step 4. Apply permissions & passwords according to your choice

Step 5. Finally, click the lock button to Prevent direct access to PDF Files

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Approach #1 How to Restrict Access to PDF Files Manually

To perform these steps by using the manual method you need to install Adobe Acrobat first on your system and perform the steps which are mentioned below:

Step 1. Firstly, select the PDF file for which you want to set limitations

Step 2. Download and install the Adobe Acrobat software on your system.

Step 3. Now, open the tool menu and choose the Protection option. 

Step 4. Just click on the Encrypt button and select the option to encrypt using a password.

Step 5. A confirmation click will generate; click Yes to proceed. 

Step 6. Next, click on the Compatibility drop-down menu and choose your desired location. 

Step 7. Hit the button to Encrypt All Document Contents

Step 8. Now, mark the checkbox labeled “Restrict editing and printing of the document”.

Step 9. Lastly, check the “Restrict editing and printing of the documents” box.

Step 10. Enter the password and uncheck the option “Enable Copying of Text, Images and other content” box.

Step 11. Click “OK” to confirm.

This is the manual way to prevent direct access to pdf files. But, after conducting some research, the outcome shows that it also has limitations as well. So, let us understand the limitations of this method:

Some Limitations of the Manual Solution

1. The one who is performing the steps should purchase a professional version of Adobe Acrobat to use the application and know in depth about how to restrict access to PDF files.

2. It requires a bit of technical knowledge to perform these steps. And, if any step got skipped or wrongly executed then you might face several issues like data loss or your file might be corrupted.

3. It is required to apply the highest level of encryption security to the PDF and for that, you need more advanced encryption methods for more secure protection

4. After performing these manual steps, your original file will undergo customization and you won’t have access to the original version anymore. So, if you need to perform restrictions without any changes in the original file it’s advisable to seek a professional solution.

As per these shortfalls, it becomes important to prevent direct access to PDF files with more advanced security with the help of professional solutions. So, let’s see how to restrict access to a PDF document through a professional solution. 

Also, read How to Put Restrictions on PDF File? Now Become Easy

Approach #2 How to Restrict Access to a PDF Document Professionally

After deeply examining the manual approach let us discuss an advanced professional approach now. The PDF Lock Software is the method that takes care of data security and integrity throughout the process. This software is designed in such a way that it can lock PDFs from editing, printing, and other actions.

So, before performing the steps let us understand some of the striking features of the software. 

Some notable features of the software are:

1. It restricts multiple PDF files in batch mode.

2. You can specify the respective destination of the resulting files according to your requirements.

3. Use the permission password feature to prevent direct access to pdf files.

4. You can opt for the Document open password for the opening of the files.

5. It also maintains the folder structure throughout the process.

6. It has an inbuilt functionality that is capable of performing in all the versions of PDF.

7. This tool uses the latest encryption algorithm AES256 bit.

Now, If you want to know how to restrict access to PDF files by using the professional approach, you just need to follow the steps given below:

Steps to Prevent Direct Access to PDF Files

Step 1. Download and install the software on your system.

Download & Software Software

Step 2. Click on Add File & Add Folder to select the required data in the software. 

Add File/Folder in the software

Step 3. Next, find Settings and tick the “Apply Document Restriction option”. And apply the password.

Apply Document Restriction option and apply password.

Note- While performing this step you can also use Remove the specified file and Remove All to remove all the files inside the software. 

Step 4. Once the file is uploaded to the software, click on the Change button to find a Destination path for the resulting file. 

change button and find the destination path

Step 5. Next, go to Settings and tick the Apply Document Restriction option. Also, click on the Printing drop-down and select the Printing restrictions as per your convenience. 

apply restrictions

Step 6. You can also change the editing options by just choosing the Change drop-down option. 

change dropdown option

Step 7. Once all the restrictions are applied, you can set the Password to lock the PDF and apply the restrictions.

set the password and lock the pdf

Step 8. Afterthat, tick the Apply Document Open Password and enter the password

apply document open password

Step 9. Click on the Encryption Drop-down menu to select the encryption type and secure your PDF from any kind of modifications.

Select the encryption type and secure PDF

Step 10. Lastly, hit the Lock button to prevent direct access to PDF files

 lock & prevent direct access to PDF files

After performing all the above-mentioned steps you will get a pop-up “The PDF files are Locked successfully ” which denotes that your file is now password-protected. To cross-verify, you can navigate to the desired location where you intend to store the file. 

Final Say

Whenever PDF files are generated whether personal or professional, it has to be secured in any case. That is why, we have discussed both the possible solutions by which you can prevent direct access to PDF files. The manual approach as well as the professional approach. However, the professional approach is recommended because it is an expert’s choice and it fulfills all the limitations of the manual approach as well. You can opt for any approach which is best suited to you. 


By Nilesh Kumar

As a Chief Technical Writer, I know the technical issues faced by home and professional users. So, I decided to share all my knowledge via this blog. I love to help you with challenges while dealing with technical jargon.