Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

Unable to secure my signature on pdf document created on PDF Expert

etrnLwanderer

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 15, 2020
5
0
I use PDF Expert on my Mac while I have Adobe Acrobat DC on my PC.

Have never been very confident about the security PDF Expert provides me for my pdf files created on it. So I recently created a test document on the app and added my signature (using stamp tool), and a coupe of other annotations to the file before saving it as a flattened pdf file. I emailed this to my PC and opened it in Acrobat DC.
To my absolute horror, I was able to very easily access my "securely flattened" pdf file and edit/copy all the embedded stuff like my signature, annotations etc.
This has got me thinking on whether PDF Expert actually helps safeguard pdf files created on it. I know I could password protect a file and send it, but that would still leave content on it vulnerable to being edited once opened by whoever I send the password to, to access the file.
That said, I'm not sure if I'm following the right procedure to securing my pdf file when creating it on PDF Expert. What I do is create my file on the app and then use the Save as Flattened option.

Any help to prevent my files created on PDF Expert from being edited/copiedby other pdf programs in the market, would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
 

xraydoc

macrumors demi-god
Oct 9, 2005
7,744
1,891
192.168.1.1
I use PDF Expert on my Mac while I have Adobe Acrobat DC on my PC.

Have never been very confident about the security PDF Expert provides me for my pdf files created on it. So I recently created a test document on the app and added my signature (using stamp tool), and a coupe of other annotations to the file before saving it as a flattened pdf file. I emailed this to my PC and opened it in Acrobat DC.
To my absolute horror, I was able to very easily access my "securely flattened" pdf file and edit/copy all the embedded stuff like my signature, annotations etc.
This has got me thinking on whether PDF Expert actually helps safeguard pdf files created on it. I know I could password protect a file and send it, but that would still leave content on it vulnerable to being edited once opened by whoever I send the password to, to access the file.
That said, I'm not sure if I'm following the right procedure to securing my pdf file when creating it on PDF Expert. What I do is create my file on the app and then use the Save as Flattened option.

Any help to prevent my files created on PDF Expert from being edited/copiedby other pdf programs in the market, would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
Flatten doesn’t actually secure anything. It just ensures that graphics (like arrows, pen strokes, hand-written signatures, etc.), text boxes, highlights, underscores, etc., become a fixed part of the file, displayed by default, regardless of the render software.

It doesn’t stop anyone from further editing the PDF file (like cutting and pasting your signature out of the file), but they can’t do things like unhighlight your highlights or hide your annotations.

Now, I know that apps like the full Adobe Acrobat has separate ability to restrict copy/print and certain other features (presuming the recipient’s application respects those settings). Not sure if PDF Expert has the same features.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Apple_Robert
Comment

etrnLwanderer

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 15, 2020
5
0
Flatten doesn’t actually secure anything. It just ensures that graphics (like arrows, pen strokes, hand-written signatures, etc.), text boxes, highlights, underscores, etc., become a fixed part of the file, displayed by default, regardless of the render software.

It doesn’t stop anyone from further editing the PDF file (like cutting and pasting your signature out of the file), but they can’t do things like unhighlight your highlights or hide your annotations.

Now, I know that apps like the full Adobe Acrobat has separate ability to restrict copy/print and certain other features (presuming the recipient’s application respects those settings). Not sure if PDF Expert has the same features.

Thank you for your input @xraydoc.
PDF Expert lets me password protect a created document but that has limited uses.

The workaround I'm thinking about, to prevent tampering of signature would be save the file as an image first and then convert it back to pdf?
 
Comment

xraydoc

macrumors demi-god
Oct 9, 2005
7,744
1,891
192.168.1.1
Thank you for your input @xraydoc.
PDF Expert lets me password protect a created document but that has limited uses.

The workaround I'm thinking about, to prevent tampering of signature would be save the file as an image first and then convert it back to pdf?
Acrobat will let you set secure flags to prevent copying text, though there’s still ways around it. Converting to an image will prevent copying text, but file size will explode. And doesn’t prevent someone from doing OCR on it.
Why are you trying to limit access, out of curiosity?
 
Comment

etrnLwanderer

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 15, 2020
5
0
@xraydoc Most times I need to send authorisation forms for payments, etc where they usually ask for a print copy with my signature on it. Easier and quicker to send a pdf file with my actual signature embedded on it and let them print the copy at their end. I have my signature on file in png format so I use that. Just didn't want someone to extract the embedded png file from the pdf
 
Comment

xraydoc

macrumors demi-god
Oct 9, 2005
7,744
1,891
192.168.1.1
@xraydoc Most times I need to send authorisation forms for payments, etc where they usually ask for a print copy with my signature on it. Easier and quicker to send a pdf file with my actual signature embedded on it and let them print the copy at their end. I have my signature on file in png format so I use that. Just didn't want someone to extract the embedded png file from the pdf
Flatten will do that (will make the signature an irremovable part of the file background), but doesn't prevent people from highlighting/copying text.

With Adobe Acrobat DC (at least on the full paid Windows version), you can set the file to restrict printing (or restrict high-resolution printing), prevent editing (like people adding their own annotations), prevent copying text, and a few other settings. And this can be done without setting a password to open the file.

But I don't know that PDF Expert has those same options.
 
Comment

etrnLwanderer

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 15, 2020
5
0
Can only password protect the file on PDF Expert. No option to prevent printing/editing etc separately. I guess I'll have to live with that on Mac. Thank you for the help @xraydoc
 
Comment

xraydoc

macrumors demi-god
Oct 9, 2005
7,744
1,891
192.168.1.1
Can only password protect the file on PDF Expert. No option to prevent printing/editing etc separately. I guess I'll have to live with that on Mac. Thank you for the help @xraydoc
Investigate your options. There may be other free/low-cost options to do what you want. Or consider investing in a subscription to Acrobat DC Pro (or whatever Adobe is calling it these days) if you need to manage access to a lot of PDF files.
 
Comment

etrnLwanderer

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 15, 2020
5
0
Investigate your options. There may be other free/low-cost options to do what you want. Or consider investing in a subscription to Acrobat DC Pro (or whatever Adobe is calling it these days) if you need to manage access to a lot of PDF files.
Yes. I am considering Acrobat DC Pro now. I wish I had known that PDF Expert didn't have features I wanted before I paid for it lol
I'm not a big fan of subscriptions and would rather pay a one time price which was why I went for PDF Expert over Acrobat. But now with no other option, I might as well bite the subscription bullet
 
Comment

bogdanw

macrumors 65816
Mar 10, 2009
1,050
543
Maybe I don't get something here, but if someone can open a password protected, read-only pdf file, they can take a screenshot and use that however they like (edit it, print it and so on). There is no way to protect an image of your signature. The password only restricts access, but there is software that claims to remove passwords from pdfs.
 
Comment
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.