Best Practices for Securing PDFs Best Practices for Securing PDFs

Best Practices for Securing PDFs

Eden Davis Eden Davis


Drawings become locked after digital signing or fields that shouldn't be editable are.


A combination of document setup and workflow. 


Bluebeam Revu 20 & 21


Check & Change Permissions

Check the general security permissions of the document and ensure the necessary actions are allowed.

  1. Navigate to Document > Document Properties > Security Tab (or use the Ctrl+L shortcut)
  2. Click "Change Permissions" 
  3. Adjust as necessary

Issues can arise when users are not permitted to extract documents, so be sure this is a setting you want before certifying.

Another problem can stem from a document with various sections of the file set up as Form Fields. If the Form Fields on the document aren't optimized, then even when applying the option to only allow "Filling in Form Fields (Including Signing)" users can edit everything, since only form fields are present.

Getting around this:

There are two workflow options for securing a PDF document with Form Fields. The first involves adding text using text boxes, setting up signature fields, and allowing "Filling in Form Fields (Including Signing)" as a security option. The second method involves filling out form fields, flattening the document with the "Form Fields" option checked, adding signature fields, and allowing changes only for "Filling in Form Fields (Including Signing)." Users must save, close, and reopen the file to apply security settings.

Option #1

  1. Add text (Cert number, name, share amount, etc.) using text boxes.
  2. Set up signature fields.
  3. Allow "Filling in Form Fields (Including Signing)" as a security option.
  4. Users can't edit other information.

Option #2

  1. Fill out all form fields for share information.
  2. Flatten the document (Document > Flatten) with the "Form Fields" option checked.
  3. Add signature fields.
  4. Allow changes only for "Filling in Form Fields (Including Signing)" in PDF Security options.
  5. Save the file and reopen it.
  6. Users can only add signatures; other features and options are blocked.
  7. To adjust security options, users must go to Document Properties, select Security, choose "Change Permissions," and enter a set password.
  8. Security settings apply after saving, closing, and reopening the file.

Check Permissions after Certifying

When certifying, confirm the settings below are correct.

  1. Navigate to Tools > Signature > Certify Document
  2. Check the "Pemitted changes after certifying" settings
  3. Adjust as needed


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