How to make a PDF non-editable or read-only in a few steps.
Stop people from making unwanted changes to your PDFs. Learn how to protect your documents in three different ways.
Need to learn how to make a PDF non-editable but not sure where to start? You often have to share PDF documents with others — but you may not want them to be able to make any changes to the files. Setting PDF files to read-only mode allows anyone to view them while preventing them from making edits. But how can you create a read-only PDF?
You can complete the task in many ways. Read on to learn how to make a PDF read-only using three different methods.
What is a read-only PDF file, and how safe is it?
A read-only PDF has its settings adjusted to where it cannot be edited. Users can open and view the PDF but cannot adjust the contents of it. A read-only PDF is a great way to save your PDF if you do not want the contents altered. It keeps your hard work secure and the original intention behind the content intact.
Options for how to make a PDF non-editable.
There are several ways you can make your PDF non-editable. You can choose to make your PDF read-only with Adobe Acrobat, convert your PDF to read-only on your Mac or Windows computer, or make your PDF read-only with passwords.
How to save a PDF as read-only.
You can set files to read-only mode through your operating system’s basic tools. On Windows, just right-click your PDF and select Properties > Read-only > OK.
On a Mac computer, the process is a little more complex. Select the PDF and click File > Get Info. You can then set access rights under the Sharing & Permissions tab.
This is an easy method to protect your PDFs — but it can also be unreliable. Anyone with sufficient user rights could change the file’s status back to read-and-write.
How to make a PDF read-only with Adobe Acrobat.
Most PDF editing applications have quick and easy tools for restricting editing.
For example, in Adobe Acrobat, you just need to do the following:
- Select Tools.
- Choose Protect.
- Choose Restrict Editing.
Some editors lock editing with passwords, while others use program-specific settings to prevent it.
But this method isn’t foolproof, either. Some editing restrictions only work in certain applications and not others. If, say, a colleague uses a different editor, they may not even realize that the file is supposed to be protected.
How to convert a PDF to read-only on Mac and Windows.
You can set files to read-only mode through your operating system’s basic tools.
On Windows, just follow these steps:
- Right-click your PDF.
- Select Properties.
- Choose Read-only.
- Click OK.
On a Mac computer, the process is a little more complex. Follow these steps to create a read-only PDF on your Mac:
- Select the PDF.
- Click File.
- Choose Get Info.
- You can then set access rights under the Sharing and Permissions tab.
This is an easy method to protect your PDFs — but it’s not infallible. If someone has sufficient user rights, they could change the file’s status back to read-and-write.
How to make a PDF read-only with passwords.
Because of these issues, the read-only mode isn’t an ideal solution for fully securing your PDFs. If you need more protection, password-locking your PDF files is a better idea.
Here are the steps to password-protect your PDF using Acrobat online services:
- Click the “Select a file” button or drag and drop a PDF into the drop zone.
- Enter a password, then retype it to confirm the password.
- Click “Set password.”
- Sign in to download or share your protected PDF.
Granted, passwords aren’t a read-only solution — no one will be able to view your file without the password. If you’re looking for a quick way to show PDFs to others, read-only can be a better option — but for higher security, opt for passwords.
How to remove read-only PDF restrictions.
You can remove read-only restrictions on a PDF by using Adobe Acrobat.
Use these steps to take away the restrictions:
- Upload your read-only PDF file to Acrobat to edit.
- If the file is protected, make sure you have the password information, then select Tools > Protect > Encrypt > Remove Security. Then you can edit.
- Save your file.
While you may need to edit a PDF for a variety of purposes, there are many situations in which it’s better to keep your PDF non-editable and secure.
Reasons to make a PDF non-editable.
There are a multitude of reasons to make a PDF non-editable.
The following are a few motives to consider making your PDF non-editable:
- Prevent employees or other users from making adjustments to important company documents
- Ensure content is uniform for all who read it
- Maintain the original intention behind your work
More resources to work with your PDFs.
Now that you know how to make PDFs non-editable, here are additional ways to work with your PDFs:
- Learn how to send a PDF securely.
- Discover how to turn handwritten text into a PDF file.
- Learn how to easily convert any PDF into an image.
- Discover how to compress PDFs to 200KB or less.