Protect your PDFs with Passwords and Permissions

How to Encrypt PDF Files with Passwords and Permissions

Want to ensure your files are secure? Learn how to encrypt your files by using password-protection.

By password-protecting your PDF file, you’re using a form of encryption. What that means behind the scenes is that Foxit PDF Editor employs a mathematical key to scramble the information in your PDF file so it can’t be viewed.

Only when someone inputs the correct password will the document decrypt and be put back into its original, viewable format.

Foxit PDF Editor makes password-protecting your PDF file pretty straightforward. You can add, change or remove a password, and you can limit the actions users are allowed to take, such as editing, printing or sharing your PDF. Here’s how you do it.

How to password protect a PDF 

  1. Choose Protect > Secure Document > Password Protect, or click File > Properties > Security, choose Password Protection from the drop-down list.
  2. In the Password Protection dialog box, select the choices you want and set the password.

For further control over what actions users can take with your document make sure to take advantage of user permissions.

To restrict user permissions such as printing, editing, copying etc., choose from the following:

Print Allowed – enables you to choose the level of printing which users are allowed.

Print with low resolution – allows users to print at no higher than 150-dpi resolution.

Print with high resolution – allows users to print with any resolution.

Changes Allowed – defines which editing actions are allowed in the document.

Inserting, deleting, and rotating pages – allows users to insert, delete, and rotate PDF pages.

Filling in forms and signing existing signature fields – allows users to fill in forms and sign documents in existing signatures fields.

Commenting, filling in forms and signing existing signature fields – allows users to add comments, fill in forms and sign documents in existing signatures fields.

Any except extracting pages – allows users to do anything except extract pages.

Copy text, images, and other content – allows users to copy content in PDFs.

Enable text access for screen reader devices for the visually impaired – allows the visually impaired users to access text with screen reader devices.

These also work retroactively, for example, if someone downloads your PDF and you add a password after the fact, they’ll have to use the password the next time they open your PDF.

As you can see, you’ve got a lot of control over not only who can view your PDF file, but also over what they can do with it.

7 thoughts on “Protect your PDFs with Passwords and Permissions

    1. KarolinKarolin

      David, please go to the “Protect” tab, click on the little arrow next to “Secure Document”, and then, select “Password Protect”.

  1. BenBen

    Am I right that this is unavailable in Foxit Reader? Seems a bit arbitrary, given all the more advanced “Protect” things you can do.

    Even Apple’s Preview will add a password.

    1. KarolinKarolin

      Yes, these advanced protection features are only available in Foxit PDF Editor. You can download a 14-day free trial in our Download Center. Foxit PDF Reader is a free PDF reader software which allows you to view PDFs, and only provides a few protection features.

    1. KarolinKarolin

      Hi Lior, yes, there is. You can use Action Wizard in Foxit PDF Editor Pro to save multiple files with the same password. To do it click File > Action Wizard > Create New Action > Create. Click on the p+ next to Protect > + next to Secure Document > Password Protect > Add. Click on Specify Settings and check Require a password to open the document and then choose your password and confirm it. Then click OK, and then Save, and name the action. After you have created the action you can now run it by clicking on Run Action under File, and choosing the Action you just created. You can also check out our Action WIzard tutorial:


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