Securing PDF Files with PDF-eXPLODE™

You can protect the PDF files generated by PDF-eXPLODE, in two parts - prevent unauthorized access (PDF password encryption) and restrict what can be done to a document once it has been opened (PDF Permissions).

Step 1: Enabling PDF Security

This step is a prerequisite to creating secure PDFs.

  1. Open PDF-eXPLODE.
  2. On the Printer menu, click PDF-eXPLODE Options....
  3. In the Options List, click PDF Security Settings.
  4. Set Encryption Level to 128 bit Encryption.
      Note: 128 bit Encryption works with Adobe Acrobat 5.0 and later. This is the recommended setting. For compatibility with older versions of Acrobat, select 40 bit Encryption, which works with Acrobat 3.0 and later. (This is discontinued in PDF-eXPLODE V4)
  5. Set Permissions. Optionally de-select Allow All Features and select only those permissions you want to grant to users of the document. Typically only set permission to 'Print' and optionally 'Copy'. Refer to PDF-eXPLODE Help for a description of each permission.
  6. Set Passwords. On this screen, the passwords (Owner/User) apply globally to all PDFs created across all batches. However, passwords may be overridden by passwords assigned in Variables (Step 5), or on Client Details or Client-specific Message ID levels (Step 4), or on the Default Message ID screens (Step 3), in that order of priority.
    • You must enter an Owner Password for security to be applied to PDFs. The Owner Password is required to be able to set and change the Permissions in a PDF file. You normally would NOT give this password to users.
    • You enter a User Password to restrict who may open a PDF.
    • The following applies to Version 4: If you are using 'Variables' passwords, then then you can set 'Permissions' of 'Print' and 'Copy' (optional) on the PDF Security Settings screen and select either of the following 'Security Mode' settings : 'Do not secure any PDF document after exploding' OR 'Secure all PDF documents after exploding
  7. Click Save.

Step 2: Identifying Who Receives Secure PDFs

After enabling security (Step 1, above), your PDF documents still will not be secured. You must also create a Client Details screen and select password protection for each person you want to receive a secure PDF document.

  1. In the Options List, expand Mail Settings and expand Clients.
  2. For each PDF recipient, click the New Client button and enter the client details.
    • You must select Protect Resulting PDF Document for the person to receive a secure PDF.
    • Optionally enter a User Password and Owner password. These passwords will override passwords defined at a higher level.
    • The following table summarizes the order of precedence of passwords. Passwords at higher levels are overridden by passwords defined at lower levels.

      Level Description
      PDF Security Settings On this screen you set the type of PDF password ENCRYPTION and PERMISSIONS that control what can be done in the opened PDF.

      This screen is also allows you to enter the highest-'global' level default password. You can use this level to apply the same password to all documents across ALL batches of documents processed
      Variable- File Password This method /level of password protection is specific to each PDF. It requires a configuration in the VARIABLE settings of the PDF-eXPLODE configuration. It also requires passing the Password to the report tag as a Variable.
      Default Message ID Tag This password is a default for all e-mails with a specified Message ID Tag. Use this level to give all recipeints of a certain document the same password.
      Client Details This password is specific to a client or recipient. Use this level to give each recipient their own password.
      Client-specific Message ID This level is specific to a certain type of document for each client. Use this level to give clients a unique password for each document type they receive.

      Note: PDF files will not to be secured

      • if a password is not defined at any of the levels in the table above.
      • if the Owner and User passwords are identical, then PDF-eXPLODE will not secure the PDF
      • A password will not be applied if the password includes any accented or non-english alphabetic characters like ü î ø å é and others
      • A leading space or trailing space in the password is unacceptable

Step 3: Setting a Default Message ID Password (Optional)

If you want to apply the same password to all PDFs tagged with a specific Message ID Tag (e.g. Invoices), do the following.

  1. Follow Steps 1 and 2 above, leaving the password blank on the client Details screen.
  2. In the Options List, expand Mail Settings and expand Default Message ID Tags.
  3. Click New to create a new Message ID Tag or click Edit to modify an existing one.
  4. Enter a User Password and/or Owner Password.

Step 4: Setting a Client-specific Message ID Password (Optional)

If you want to apply a different password for each type of document a user receives (e.g. Invoice, Statement, Order Confirmation), do the following.

  1. Follow Steps 1 and 2 above.
  2. In the Options List, expand Mail Settings, expand Clients and expand a specific client.
  3. Click New MessageID to create a new Message ID or click Edit to modify an existing one.
  4. Select Protect Resulting PDF Document.
  5. Enter a User Password and/or Owner Password.

Step 5: Setting a Variable password in the tag for each PDF in a batch

If you want to apply a different password, specific for each document in a particular batch, do the following.

  1. Follow Steps 1 for setting the document Permissions and the encryption method on the PDF Security Settings screen.
  2. Click on Variables in the PDF-Options List.
  3. Click File Password tab on the right hand pane of the Options screen.
  4. Check Use variable as a PDF password
  5. Select the variable to use as the password field position (in the tag) from the dropdown; select one of Var1,Var2...Var9 as the position of the password in the report tag
  6. Enter an Owner Password to be used to prevent any unauthorised editing or modification of the PDF. This owner password will be used to secure all documents in the batch of processed document. The User password will be provided in the report tag at the specific position configured in the previous point as an individual/specific password
  7. In your document report writer, insert a data field or a password algorithm consisting (for example) of Family Name and Social Security No. OR Family Name and Person's initials and Date of Birth in YYYYMMDD format in the relevant Variable possition of the tag.

FOR YOUR INFORMATION: A PDF-eXPLODE Tag should take the following format (all on one line):
<pdfexplode> + Variable 1 to 9 separated by comma followed by '%', then an optional Message ID text, followed by a '#' and then one or more email addresses separated by commas or semi-colons + </pdfexplode>

For more information, contact .

Adobe and Acrobat are registered trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries.

Download your free 45-day

trial version now