Secure PDF files


One of the things that make PDF one of the most popular formats is its security aspect. You can encrypt your PDFs and secure them with a password, and you can even digitally sign PDF files. Read on to find out more about the security options that the PDF format has to offer. 

Secure PDF files with a password

When handling documents with sensitive data like, for example, invoices, contracts and official documents, it is recommendable to share them as PDF. One reason being that you can secure them with a password and select from a variety of options what the recipient is allowed to do with the file, for example open, print or edit it. Enrypting your PDF files automatically is part of the many PDF automation features that PDFCreator has to offer.



An easy way to add a password to your PDF files is with a PDF converter like e.g. PDFCreator. Here a distinction is being made between an 'owner password', which you need for editing a file and a 'user password', which is needed for opening a PDF file. The passwords are encrypted before they are stored by PDFCreator. Encryption prevents unauthorized copying of information contained in the PDF. To ensure that your password is secure, PDFCreator will indicate during password creation whether you have chosen a weak or a strong password.

Passwords are not enough

You may have come across articles or tools about removing passwords from PDF files. Unfortunately these tools are not the only method to bypass passwords for PDF files. The first thing you need to know is that there are two types of passwords you can create for your PDF files: an 'owner password', which you need for editing a file and a 'user password', which is needed for opening a PDF. In other words, an owner password gives you the right to do anything you want with your PDF file. Optionally, you can create a user password to view the file. If you do not know the user password, you cannot open the PDF. In any case the password always encrypts the PDF file. However, if no user password has been set, there still needs to be a way to display the content. Therefore, the PDF reader can actually completely decrypt the file while it is only sticking to the selected settings “by courtesy”. That leads to the possibility that after printing with for example PDFCreator, the password security might be completely removed.

Create digital signatures for PDF files

In order to make your PDF files as secure as possible, it is recommendable to add a digital signature to the document. While this cannot prevent any changes being made to the PDF file, it does prove that the PDF has not been modified after the signature was added.

A PDF converter tool like e.g. PDFCreator allows you to sign PDF files digitally. This helps to verify the identity of the sender and to ensure that the document has not been modified after signing. There are different certificate authorities where you can create digital signatures.

Once you have created your digital signature, PDFCreator offers various options for displaying the signature at the preferred place in your PDF file and makes it easy to define the size of the signature.

FAQs: Secure your PDF files

How can I secure my PDF files with a password?

To secure your PDF files with a password, you can use a PDF converter tool like PDFCreator. It allows you to add a password to your PDF files during the conversion process. You can choose between an "owner password" for editing the file and a "user password" for opening the PDF. The passwords are encrypted for security.

Are passwords alone enough to protect my PDF files?

No, passwords alone may not provide complete protection for your PDF files. While passwords can encrypt the PDF file, there are tools available that can bypass password protection. Additionally, if no user password is set, some PDF readers may decrypt the file entirely, potentially compromising the security. It is recommended to use additional security measures like digital signatures.

How can I create digital signatures for my PDF files?

To create digital signatures for your PDF files, you can use a PDF converter tool like PDFCreator. It provides the option to add digital signatures to your PDF files during the conversion process. Digital signatures help verify the identity of the sender and ensure that the document hasn't been modified after signing.

Can a digital signature prevent changes to my PDF file?

No, a digital signature itself cannot prevent changes from being made to the PDF file. However, it serves as proof that the PDF has not been modified after the signature was added. If any changes are made to the document after signing, the digital signature will become invalid.