Thursday, May 14, 2015

Why and How to Secure Your pdf--Mac version

If you're on Teachers Pay Teachers or another site that sells worksheets, documents, etc, you've most likely been told to "secure and flatten" your projects, especially if you are using pictures or clip art created by another person. As a clip artist, I specifically require my images to be secured in my terms of use. Let me go over why.

**PC users, don't worry, I didn't forget you! There is a link to a great tutorial for you at the end of this post**

1st- A pdf does NOT mean an image or piece of work is secured or flattened! Check out one of your unsecured/unflattened pdf and right click on an image or word.

Notice how it becomes highlighted and the word "copy" comes up? That's bad. That means if someone downloads your work, they can copy anything from off your document they want to. And it means if you are using another person's clip art, pictures, etc, you are most likely in violation of their terms of use. Yikes!

2nd- Even if you flatten your pdf, an unsecured pdf still can lead to trouble. Here I have a "flattened" pdf (I saved it as a .png first, and then converted it to a pdf). But if I take this image and put it into a program like Adobe illustrator or Powerpoint...
It'll open right up and the user can create things over my pdf. They can change my hard work and possibly even credit it as their own! (Oh, no you didn't!)

So lets teach you how to secure your pdfs! And luckily for Mac users it's quite simple. (Yay Mac!)

1. Open your project in Preview (or just double click. Default settings are to open in Preview).

2. Click File, Print (don't worry we are not really going to print it).

3. A print window will open. In the bottom left corner, click on the blue arrow next to "PDF."
4. An options scroll will open. Click on "Save as PDF."

5. Next, a "Save As" window will open. In the bottom, middle is a button that says "Security Options," click on it.

6. Click on the box that says "Require password to copy text, images and other content" (Note: Only this box! Don't Click on the box to "Require a password to open document" or "Require password to print document." That could lead to major trouble if you want to sell your work!). Put in your password and verify it (retype the password), then click okay.

7. Now click save. (Note: if you saved the pdf with the same name as your previous pdf, it'll ask if you want to replace the original, it's up to you if you want to or not. I usually do, because I don't want a bunch of similar pdf's cluttering up my computer)

8. Your done! You can check to see if it worked by opening your document and right clicking. When you do this there should be no option to copy.

And if you try to put it into Power Point, or another program, you'll get an awesome message similar to this!

Yay! Now go, young grasshopper, and secure all of your documents! You will be happy knowing that your documents are secure, and your clip artist, photographers, etc, will thank you!

If you are working on PC, the 3am Teacher has a fantastic tutorial for you!

Now that you know how to secure your files, I totally trust you ;), so head on over to my TPT store and pick up some fun clip art for your projects!


  1. This is so helpful! There is so much to learn that it is almost like peeling an onion. Thank you for helping me peel faster.
    My hubby has us on a Linux machine. I'm gonna have to research how to do this on that platform, but you inspired me.

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is so much easier! I am embarrassed at how hard I was making this haha You rock!