What Is An Encrypted PDF? Explained

by John Sanderson
What Is An Encrypted PDF

If you read this article to the end, you will get answers to what is an encrypted PDF and how to password-protect your files.

It is becoming more and more important to share sensitive documents securely. Even the smallest details can impact your business, so you must ensure that any personal or confidential information remains private.

If you work with sensitive documents, you’ll know they can easily be compromised. If the information isn’t encrypted, anyone who has access to it can read it and use it against you somehow.

However, if you encrypt those files first, hackers won’t be able to do anything with them because they won’t be able to read them in the first place! So,

What Is An Encrypted PDF?

It’s a PDF that you need a password to access its contents, edit or even print it. When a PDF file is encrypted, only those people who know the password can access it. Encryption is a great way to protect sensitive information as it is a very strong form of security.

The Safest And Most Reliable Way To Encrypt Your PDF

There are many solutions to password-protecting your digital files, but Adobe Password Protect is the best way to Encrypt PDFs.

Adobe, being the PDF file format inventor, has mastered it and offers reliable document security.

When you protect your files using Adobe, you get to control who can access the files. Additionally, Adobe tells you your password’s strength, whether weak, medium, or strong.

This ensures that you can select a strong password to deter hacking attempts. The process of setting up a password using Adobe is very simple;

  • Step 1: Select the document you want to protect from your device or drag and drop it into the provided space.
  • Step 2: Enter your preferred password, and then confirm it.
  • Step 3: Click on set password.
  • Step 4: Download the password-protected file
  • Step 6: Or sign in to share the PDF

How Does PDF Encryption Work?

PDF encryption is a method of protecting files stored in Adobe Acrobat or other PDF viewers. The main purpose of PDF encryption is to prevent unauthorized access and modification of files.

Encrypting a file can prevent anyone from viewing the contents without the correct key. The most common type of encryption is a password-based system, where users must enter a specific passphrase before viewing the file.

Password-based encryption will also protect any sensitive information you may have saved in the document. Another popular way to encrypt PDFs is by using a digital certificate.

This type of protection requires an online Certificate Authority (CA) to issue a digital certificate for each file you want to encrypt. Once the CA has issued a digital certificate, you can use it to encrypt any files that use that specific certificate.

Why Is It So Important To Encrypt PDF Files

Today, digital documents are the primary way of transferring data between parties. Whether it’s an agreement, contract, lease, or even a thesis — digital documents have become the standard for business interactions.

Did you know that most of these documents are sent unencrypted? This poses a security risk in today’s world of cybercrime and hackers.

Despite all the risks associated with sending sensitive information digitally, businesses continue to do so without encrypting their files.

Why is this so? Is it because people don’t know about its benefits? Here are some reasons you need to encrypt your PDF files.

1. Prevent PDFs from being altered

Let’s face it — business is competitive. Even accidental alterations to a contract or agreement can lead to a hefty fine.

As a result, businesses send their collaborators’ encrypted PDFs to avoid modification or deletion of content within the document.

2. Protect your intellectual property

Encryption is a great way to prevent any counterfeiting of your intellectual property. This is especially important for brands and businesses that manufacture products.

Not only do you want to protect your IP, but you also want to make sure you aren’t being counterfeited.

3. Comply with industry regulations

If you work for a government agency or regulation, you might be required to send your collaborators encrypted PDFs.

This is especially true if you are dealing with sensitive information. A good example is in the medical sector, where hospitals and relevant institutions must comply with HIPAA rules while handling their patient’s medical records.

The legal sector is another affected area where they are required to protect their client’s confidentiality. To do so, they need to password-protect their documents using the necessary tools.

4. Protect sensitive financial information

Financial institutions often encrypt their PDFs. This is because they want to ensure that any sensitive financial information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

If you are a financial institution client, you want to ensure that your sensitive information is protected.

The best way to do this is by protecting PDF files with a password. This way, even the employees at the bank can’t alter the documents for whatever reasons.

5. Prevent unauthorized printing of the PDFs

By default, PDFs don’t have encryption, meaning that anyone with a copy of the file can use it to view or print the contents.

Encrypting a PDF prevents this, making it impossible to view or print the contents without using the correct password. 


By now, you know what is an encrypted PDF and why it’s important to protect your files. As you’ve seen, encrypted PDF files are a great way to protect your sensitive data.

The 21st century has brought with it a host of new digital threats. Hackers are on the prowl, looking for ways to break into your computer and steal your sensitive data.

It can feel like there’s no stopping them, but a little bit of encryption protects your data from prying eyes. Luckily there are many ways to encrypt PDF files so that only you can access them.

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