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.pdf recipients receive message saying they don't have permission to print document

New Here ,
Aug 21, 2021 Aug 21, 2021

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I apologize in advance for my lack of tech knowledge. I have been having an issue for several months now and can’t really find a conclusive answer.

 

I create and sell .pdfs. I have to secure those .pdfs to ensure people can’t pull fonts and clipart from the .pdfs because it is a violation of the terms of use for the fonts/clipart.

 

I only want buyers to be able to print, NOT edit my .pdfs. I create the .pdfs in Canva then use Adobe Acrobat DC to secure them. I was taught to make the following selections to secure:

“Protect”
“Advanced Options”
“Encrypt with Password”
“Restrict editing and printing of the document. A password will be required in order to change these permission settings.”

“Printing Allowed”
“High Resolution”
“Enable text access for screen reader devices for the visually impaired”
Then under “options” I choose “Acrobat 7 and later” and “encrypt all document contents”
Then I type in a password, then again to confirm and then save the .pdf

I have been doing this since March 2021. I was initially choosing “Acrobat X and later” and someone suggested the person printing might not have the latest version so I might want to consider choosing an option that goes back a little further.

 

About once every two weeks I hear from a buyer who says they get a message they don’t have permission to print. Other buyers have purchased these same products and don’t seem to have a problem. Some buyers only use the .pdfs digitally and don’t have a need to print.

 

Am I doing something wrong on my end? And if so, what do I need to change? If it’s not on my end, what is happening on their end, and what can I tell them to do in order to fix it? I can’t seem to find any kind of consistency because I have no way of knowing who is printing, who isn’t, how they are trying to view and print the document, or what kind of device they are using.

Any ideas on what the problem(s) might be? HELP, PLEASE! I need to be able to give troubleshooting options when this happens and I don't know how to help them. 

TOPICS
Create PDFs, General troubleshooting, Print and prepress

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LEGEND ,
Aug 22, 2021 Aug 22, 2021

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If you set a permissions password some apps, especially mobile apps, will not be able to print it.

Really, these passwords are nothing but a nuisance, since anyone with a little knowledge can remove them, but many others are just stuck.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 22, 2021 Aug 22, 2021

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As mentioned, you can't rely on this type of protection, unfortunately.

I would do it differently. Don't apply any security policy at all. Instead, digitally sign the file.

That will allow the users to print the file, but they will not be able to edit it, at least without invalidating the signature.

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New Here ,
Aug 22, 2021 Aug 22, 2021

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Thank you so much for your response! I tried your suggestion of digitally signing the .pdf, but when it was attempting to create a copy of the read-only file, I received an error saying "document upload failed" because the file was too big.

 

I cannot compress the pdf -- I design products that are mainly photo images and clipart and compressing affects the quality of the file. Teachers often use my products on large screens so I need the quality to be as good as possible. 

 

If you have any other suggestions, please let me know.

 

Thanks 🙂

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 22, 2021 Aug 22, 2021

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Yes, digitally signing can increase the file size. I'm afraid there's no way around that, if you want the signed version to be verifiable. You need to look for a way of distributing the file where this is not an issue, like Google Drive, Dropbox, or even the Adobe Document Cloud.

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New Here ,
Aug 22, 2021 Aug 22, 2021

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My files are already huge as it is, without the digital signature! lol I'm afraid I might be out of luck.

 

I was hoping there was an easy solution, but having the files accessible elsewhere creates other issues, which in all honesty are about the same amount of hassle as the glitchy "secured, but not really secure" .pdfs. I have tried having them on Google Drive for my Etsy store and had to close that store just because of the issues with that. Most of my customers are even less tech savvy than I am (which is frightening, I know!)

 

Thank you so much for trying to help me out. I really appreciate your time and effort. 

 

Jen

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 22, 2021 Aug 22, 2021

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Just don't bother with the protection. It's not worth it, and if someone is willing enough they'll be able to get around it, anyway.

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