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Automating Password Encryption of PDFs using Acrobat Pro

Community Beginner ,
Aug 06, 2020

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Hello There. I have recently been evaluating Acrobat Pro for several colleagues in my business area. 

 

The requirement is to automatically produce PDFs with unique passwords as per the title. The originating application is Excel. The previous solution used an app which is depracated in the organisation, but like Acrobat Pro provided a printer interface, through which you could specify the password when your PDF was being created, automating the process with VBA.

 

I've run out of evaluation period, so I can't experiment further, but I haven't been able to do this quite simple, extremely reasonable thing with Acrobat Professional. The only way to specify a password within Acrobat seems to be typing it by hand; Here are some of the things I tried:

 

- You can run an Action from the Acrobat Professional application when creating a PDF, but you can't ascribe multiple passwords on a per-document basis, only set the same password for all this way.

- There's a JavaScript interface in the main application which can be initiated from an Action. It doesn't seem to expose simple password encryption. 

- There's no command-line argument you can provide to the main application whereby you could specify the necesarry options to encrypt and provide a password.

- If you reference 'AdobePDFMakerForOffice' in VBA, you can see there is an object under ISettings called 'SecuritySettings' but I believe use of this interface is not documented or supported by Adobe.

 

Is there an easy way of automatically feeding a password to Acrobat at document creation? Am I missing something very obvious? Acrobat definitely produces the best looking PDFs, but we need a bulletproof 100% solution if we're going to meet the high per-seat cost of subscription. 

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Correct answer by try67 | Most Valuable Participant

It might be possible with a plugin. It's not possible with a script.
It is certainly possible to do it using a stand-alone tool, independently of Acrobat, which will not affect the quality of the file one bit.

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Create PDFs, Security digital signatures and esignatures

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Automating Password Encryption of PDFs using Acrobat Pro

Community Beginner ,
Aug 06, 2020

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Hello There. I have recently been evaluating Acrobat Pro for several colleagues in my business area. 

 

The requirement is to automatically produce PDFs with unique passwords as per the title. The originating application is Excel. The previous solution used an app which is depracated in the organisation, but like Acrobat Pro provided a printer interface, through which you could specify the password when your PDF was being created, automating the process with VBA.

 

I've run out of evaluation period, so I can't experiment further, but I haven't been able to do this quite simple, extremely reasonable thing with Acrobat Professional. The only way to specify a password within Acrobat seems to be typing it by hand; Here are some of the things I tried:

 

- You can run an Action from the Acrobat Professional application when creating a PDF, but you can't ascribe multiple passwords on a per-document basis, only set the same password for all this way.

- There's a JavaScript interface in the main application which can be initiated from an Action. It doesn't seem to expose simple password encryption. 

- There's no command-line argument you can provide to the main application whereby you could specify the necesarry options to encrypt and provide a password.

- If you reference 'AdobePDFMakerForOffice' in VBA, you can see there is an object under ISettings called 'SecuritySettings' but I believe use of this interface is not documented or supported by Adobe.

 

Is there an easy way of automatically feeding a password to Acrobat at document creation? Am I missing something very obvious? Acrobat definitely produces the best looking PDFs, but we need a bulletproof 100% solution if we're going to meet the high per-seat cost of subscription. 

Most Valuable Participant
Correct answer by try67 | Most Valuable Participant

It might be possible with a plugin. It's not possible with a script.
It is certainly possible to do it using a stand-alone tool, independently of Acrobat, which will not affect the quality of the file one bit.

TOPICS
Create PDFs, Security digital signatures and esignatures

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Aug 06, 2020 0
Community Beginner ,
Aug 06, 2020

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Posted a bit too quickly there, just wanted to add: Thanks in advance for any thoughts/comments 🙂

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Aug 06, 2020

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It might be possible with a plugin. It's not possible with a script.
It is certainly possible to do it using a stand-alone tool, independently of Acrobat, which will not affect the quality of the file one bit.

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Aug 06, 2020 1
Most Valuable Participant ,
Aug 06, 2020

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It's also not possible with an Action, by the way.

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Aug 06, 2020 1
Community Beginner ,
Aug 06, 2020

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Thanks for your helpful response, try67. I wonder what prevents this rather obvious convenience? I wonder if it is Acrobat's security model? 

 

I read you loud and clear about the couple of command-line tools which are available, including some free and open-source ones. I have already completed some successful experiments with them. But they are not currently available through my corporate software centre, like Acrobat Professional is. If I have to go through the hassle of trying to qualify these options through our IT acquisitions process having paid for Acrobat, it makes me wonder why we're paying for Acrobat... We could just use these tools directly on native Excel PDFs; the business case for Acrobat is then moot.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 06, 2020

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Why want you add password protection?

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 06, 2020

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The reports I generate are shared by email with customers external to the business.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Aug 06, 2020

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As you saw, Acrobat does a very good job of creating PDFs. When it comes to automating tasks it does a mediocre job, for the most part, because it's not very robust and not really built for batch processing large volumes of files, partially on purpose and partially due to limitations in the way it's built (for example, it's still just a 32-bit application, which means it's limited to 2GB of RAM usage, which is not much at all).

 

If you're interested, I've created command-line tools (as well as ones with a GUI) that can do what you've described, and I can customize them to your specific needs. You can contact me privately via [try6767 at gmail.com] to discuss it further, including the cost.

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 07, 2020

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Thanks for your help in this thread, try67. I think we've concluded that Acrobat isn't the right choice for our circumstances.I think we're going to proceed with an Open Source tool for wrangling PDFs with a command-line interface. Thanks too for your offer of your own special tools, I'll bear it in mind if it is needed later!

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Aug 07, 2020 0