Three ways to make PDF files read-only.

Stop people from making unwanted changes to your PDFs. Learn how to protect your documents in three different ways.

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.

Use integrated read-only settings.

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.

Block changes with PDF editing software.

Most PDF editing applications have quick and easy tools for restricting editing. For example, in Adobe Acrobat, you just need to select Tools > Protect > 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.

Protect your PDFs 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.

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.

Discover all Adobe Acrobat online services has to offer to help your team get the job done whether you are converting PDFs or password-protecting them.