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How-to Password Protect PDF Documents in OSX - Part 1

Protecting sensitive information in the real-world is easy. The document could be kept in a secure place, locked in a safe or even hidden under the floor-boards where prying eyes can be kept at bay! You could do the same with an electronic document by moving it to a hard to find location. However, there may be times when you want a document to hand on your desktop or you need to email it to someone you trust while still keep it's contents protected from the outside world...

In Part 1 of this special 2 part Tip, we'll explore how to use OSX's built-in encryption technology to password protect your sensitive PDF documents.

Step 1

Open your PDF document in Preview and choose File > Save as...

Step 2

In the Save as dialog window enable the password feature by clicking on the Encrypt checkbox and type in your password into the text fields provided. Click Save when done.

Step 3

Try opening the PDF in Preview and you be instructed to enter the correct password before being able to view the contents. Your document can only be opened by whoever knows the password. Hmm, now where did I write down that password...

In Part 2 we'll look at how to convert virtually any document or web page into a PDF and of course password protect it!

Rounik Sethi

Rounik Sethi | Articles by this author

Rounik is the Executive Editor for Ask.Audio & macProVideo. He's built a crack team of professional musicians and writers to create one of the most visited online resources for news, review, tutorials and interviews for modern musician and producer. As an Apple Certified Trainer for Logic Pro Rounik has taught teachers, professional musicians and hobbyists how to get the best out of Apple's creative software. He has been a visiting lecturer at Bath Spa University's Teacher training program, facilitating workshops on using music and digital media tools in the classroom. If you're looking for Rounik, you'll most likely find him (and his articles) on Ask.Audio & macProVideo.com.


Jan 23, 2013
Peter Schwartz
I just googled for "how to password protect a pdf" and this was the first link that appeared. Thanks for this, worked like a charm! :)
Jan 23, 2013
Glad it's helped!! :)

btw, are you the same "Ski" I'm meeting in LA soon?
Apr 11, 2013
In 10.8 Mountain Lion, there is no save as, but there's the option to "export" which you would have the option to choose "encrypt"
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