Password protect individual pages in a pdf

New Here ,
Mar 12, 2021 Mar 12, 2021

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I want to send a fillable pdf with certain pages or sections of text hidden or locked. At several points during the online meeting, I would like to give passwords (one at a time) that would each reveal one page or section of text. Because people are going to fill in text on some of the pages during the meeting and possibly refer back to previous pages, I don't want to send multiple files, which would require them to have multiple documents open at the same time. I want everything together in one document and then only reveal certain sections as we get to that content. By the end of the meeting, the participants will have received the several passwords that reveal all the hidden pages/sections so the entire document can be read. Is this possible? If so, how? Thanks in advance for your help! 🙂

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 12, 2021 Mar 12, 2021

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Hi,

 

What would your users be using to view the PDF files?

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New Here ,
Mar 12, 2021 Mar 12, 2021

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I don't know 100%, but probably Reader.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Mar 12, 2021 Mar 12, 2021

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It's possible, but it's quite tricky to implement and requires defining pages as Templates, hiding them and then either showing (if the file will be used in Acrobat) or spawning (if used in Reader) them when the password is entered.

All of this will also require a custom-made script to be created.

Another option is to attach the additional pages as separate files to the main PDF file and password protect them. That will require much less work to set up. I think you can even create a link to those files, which will prompt the user to enter the password automatically, so no scripts would be needed at all...

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New Here ,
Mar 12, 2021 Mar 12, 2021

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How do you attach additional pages as separate files? Will the users in the end have multiple files? In the past I have sent multiple files to avoid this issue, and I got the feedback that they wanted one file with everything together. But I don't want them to see everything in the beginning.

I've never used Templates before or created a custom-made script. 😞
But I'm open to learning. Could you point me to an explanation somewhere for how to do this? 😉 

Would it be possible with Templates to have multiple passwords to hide multiple pages/sections within one document?

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Mar 12, 2021 Mar 12, 2021

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I think you should focus on the second option I described. It's much easier to implement.

Yes, the resulting file will be a single file.

 

To create it extract the pages from the main file as new PDFs (via Tools - Extract Pages), and delete the from the original file. Then apply a security policy to them (File - Properties - Security - Password security) with a File Open password.

Save those files and then go back to the original and open the Attachments panel on the left (a panel with an icon of a paper-clip). Drag and drop the extracted files into it.

Now to link to them all you need to do is use the Add Link tool. Draw a rectangle where you want the link to be and then select as its action the "Go to a page view" command and click Next. A floating window will appear with a "Set Link" button. While this window is open double-click the attachment file to open it (you'll need to enter the password to do so), and then click the Set Link button.

It sounds like a lot but it's really the best way, I think, and you'll see it's not too complicated once you do it.

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New Here ,
Mar 13, 2021 Mar 13, 2021

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@try67, thanks for this detailed explanation! I tried what you wrote and it started out okay, but in the end, it didn't quite work and I'm not sure where I went wrong. I was able to extract the pages and add different passwords to each of the files. Then I added them as attachments. So far so good. I was even able to add links to the extracted pages. Then I opened the original file in Adobe Reader to test what my users are going to do.

 

When I clicked on the first link and entered the password at the prompt, it opened up that one page, but then the original document was gone. I couldn't see any way to get back the original document other than to open it again. The single page was not integrated into the original document. This was true for all the links I added.

 

When I clicked on the links to pages with fillable fields, I encountered an additional problem. There was a message at the top of the page saying that the information that is entered cannot be saved and if I want a copy for my records, I should print the page.

 

My goal is that at the end, the users would have one complete document where they:

1) don't have to enter any more passwords (after the first time)

2) have all the pages together in one document

3) can enter information into the fillable fields

3) can save the filled in document without having to print it

It should basically look like the normal fillable pdf as if I hadn't done any of this with the extracted pages.

 

Do you have any idea what I did wrong? And more importantly, do you have any more suggestions for what I could try? Thanks again! 🙂

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Mar 13, 2021 Mar 13, 2021

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OK, now that you've provided your actual requirements I can see that the solution I suggested won't work.

In that case you have to define the pages as Templates, hide them, and then use a button to run a script that will prompt the user for a password and, if correct, spawn a page from those hidden Templates.

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New Here ,
Mar 13, 2021 Mar 13, 2021

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Thanks for your reply. Sorry, I thought I was clear in my first request.

 

I don't really have experience with Templates, writing scripts or spawning pages. Could you give me some guidance or tips with this?

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