Tips for Acrobat: Part 4 – Managing Security Policies

July 18, 2024 Surya Nair

As discussed in my previous blog, Acrobat enables you to specify your view, copy, and print preferences for a PDF and set up your security settings. This blog explores how you can save your security settings as a user policy that can be applied to any PDFs that you have. 

Do I need to create a security policy? 

Ask yourself this – "Do I often apply the same security settings to different PDFs?"

If you answered “Yes,” then it will be a good idea for you to save your often-used security settings as a policy that you can apply to your PDFs. Doing this can save you time and effort. “Create once, reuse as many times as you want.” 😊  

Note that the security policy discussed in this blog is a user policy. Acrobat also enables you to create organizational policies, which are quite useful if you want specific members in your organization to have access to PDFs for a limited time. This type of policy is stored on a server and only users who have access to that server can use the policy.  

Create a new user security policy 

1. Make sure to have a PDF file open for you to be able to access the necessary tools.  

2. Select Tools>Protect  

3. From the Advanced Options drop-down menu, click Manage Security Policies

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4. Click New 

5. In the New Security Policy dialog box that opens, select Use passwords. Click Next

6. Select Save these settings as a policy, as shown below. Add a policy name. You can also add a description if you want. Click Next

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7. In the Password Security – Settings dialog box, set up your security preferences (screenshot provided below for reference). The setup details were covered in my previous blog on PDF Security

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8. Click OK to save your new security policy.  

Select which security policies to display in the Quick Access list 

Acrobat enables you to pick your favorite security policies. This can restrict the display of the security policies to the frequently used ones.  

1. Select a security policy and click Favorite. A star appears next to the policy (as shown below). 

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Only the ones marked favorite are listed in the Quick Access list. (Not sure if Adobe calls the policy list that, but I found it a quick and easy way to access the policies. Hence, the name😊.) 

2. To remove a policy from your favorites, select that policy and click Favorite again.  

In the screenshot above, notice how the policy named TOC has no star next to it, indicating that it is not marked as a favorite. Now, check the Quick Access list shown below. The policy named TOC is not listed there either. Also, as you may have noticed, the policies are listed in alphabetical order. 

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Apply an existing security policy to a PDF 

  1. Open the PDF to which you want to apply the security policy. 

  1. Select Tools>Protect

  2. From the Advanced Options drop-down menu, select the required policy from your Quick Access list (as shown below).  

    A screen shot of a computer

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  3. The settings are automatically applied to the document. However, they are saved only when you save the file. So, make sure to save the file after applying the policy.  

  4. When you open the file next, you will see (SECURED) displayed next to the filename on the title bar.  

    Note that when you apply a security policy to a PDF, until you save that file, you can change or remove the security policy at any time. Once the file is saved, you will need to use the password to unlock the protection before you can remove the security.   

    We hope these tips and tricks improve your Adobe experience. Ever wonder why your PDF is not displaying its file name on the title bar? Check out my next blog 


NOTE: This blog is part of a series with tips for those using Acrobat PDFs. 
See below for the other topics:

Part 1 Adobe PDF Basics
Part 2Extracting Pages
Part 3 PDF Security
Part 4 Managing Security Policies
Part 5Title Bar Display
Part 6Creating Forms
Part 7Sharing and Tracking Electronic Forms
Part 8 Five Useful Features
Part 9 – Combining Files (An Introduction) - coming soon
Part 10 Steps for Combining Files - coming soon

About the Author

Surya Nair

Technical Writer and Editor<br><br>Surya has been writing and editing technical content for over two decades in multiple industries. How do you transform complex technical content into an easy-to-understand document? Ask Surya - technical writing is her passion! She has been with ASCENT since 2018. She holds a master’s degree in English Literature, and a diploma in Journalism, and is a certified Technical Writer.

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Previous Article
Tips for Acrobat: Part 3 – PDF Security
Tips for Acrobat: Part 3 – PDF Security

This article discusses the many security features available in Acrobat Pro for protecting your PDFs.

Next Article
Tips for Acrobat: Part 5 – Title Bar Display
Tips for Acrobat: Part 5 – Title Bar Display

Learn what to do when your Acrobat PDF does not display its file name on the title bar.


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