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How to disable "Save as" in an Adobe PDF document

How to disable "Save as" in an Adobe PDF document

  • I want to post on our Moodle site, some PDF documents I've created with Adobe Acrobat Professional 8. I can not figure out how to secure the document not to "Save" or "Save as" once it has been opened. Does anyone have advice on the procedure. Do I need to upgrade to Acrobat 9 to do this?

  • I just played with the security properties of a PDF document and the security settings I could find were

    Permit printing

    Modify contents


    Copy Contents

    Screen Readers

    Modify Annotations

    Fill In

    Permit all


    So I encrypted the document and set an owner password.  You can still save a copy but it carries the same permissions so you can't print or modify the document.  Not permitting save as is really useless as you can always recover the document from your internet cache after you have down loaded the document.  So removing save as only stops the less knowledgeable and give a false sense of security.  Even so once you publish the document there are ways to retrieve and copy the data (screen print, etc)

    I used PDFTK to modify the document, you should have permissions or document security properties in your adobe software.


  • I think if you disable the ability to print, edit, and copy that you will get what you want. Then even if someone saves or saves as the pdf cannot be modified from the original version.

    If you really don't want any additional copies to be created, even as unmodifiable duplicates, I'm not sure you can do that or want to use PDFs.


  • Even if you disable it, a crafty user will be able to check their Internet Browsing history and find the file and start poking at it.  That's just how it works - if they are using their own computer to get access to the files, then somehow that computer needs to show them the file.  Usually it downloads it locally and displays a copy from the Internet cache which will eventually get deleted.  Consider this: if you put it on a website and people are able to see it in their browser, consider it a piece of data that someone will be able to modify if they put their heads to it.

    If you are trying to protect data or the integrity of a document, don't give it to other people.  If you post it on a website, its pretty much available for download, editing, hacking ,etc.  There are ways you can verify if someone has the same file you posted, unmodified.  Like CRC checks and Hash results.

    Chris Shipley
    Nutmeg Consulting

  • Oh, also - most people don't have a version of Acrobat that lets them edit a PDF file anyhow, so you should be OK.  Most people can only read them, not modify them.

    Chris Shipley
    Nutmeg Consulting

  • Where did you go in adobe to navigate to those settings?  I think I might have a different version :(


    Physician Credentialing Software