11 Replies Latest reply on Feb 24, 2014 11:10 AM by t0nimari3

    Certified PDF Document Restrictions Change on the Web

    t0nimari3

      I'm normally given a Adobe PDF Document for posting to our website. These documents are normally certified by an individual, which gives them the following "Not Allowed" Document Restrictions:

       

      Changing the Document

      Document Assembly

      Commenting

      Filling of form fields

      Signing

      Creation of Template Pages

       

      Once the document is posted to our web, it retains the validation, but none of the Document Restrictions. Users open this in the browser and can add annotations and comments, and in some areas delete and add text. When they download it, the PDF reflect that the certification is no longer valid, retains the browser edits, and reverts back to the original Document Restrictions. However, if the user downloads the document without making browser changes, it reverts back to the original Document Restrictions and cannot be changed.

       

      Is this a known quirk, or is there a way I can ensure the PDF is locked down, even when posted to the web?

       

      Thanks!

        • 1. Re: Certified PDF Document Restrictions Change on the Web
          IsakTen Level 4

          Which platform/OS? Which browser? I presume this is using Acrobat or is it a Reader-enabled PDF opened in Reader? Which version?

          • 2. Re: Certified PDF Document Restrictions Change on the Web
            t0nimari3 Level 1

            Windows 7, IE10. Acrobat X is used when opening on the desktop, but the problem seems to lie in the how it is opened in Reader in browser, which I believe is Reader X.

            • 3. Re: Certified PDF Document Restrictions Change on the Web
              IsakTen Level 4

              Start Acrobat X on the desktop, go to Edit->Preferences->Internet and look which PDF Viewer it shows as the one that the browser uses (the filepath to the PDF Viewer may be grayed out). If you use one on the desctop and the other in the browser then the difference in behavior might be related to that. In Reader you cannot perform many operations that you can perform in Acrobat.

              But from what you're writing it seems to me that in Acrobat on the desktop you cannot perform certain operations because it obeys restrictions but you can perform those operations in the browser when Reader is used. This is strange since you can generally do less in Reader.

              Could you, please, check that you indeed are using Acrobat X on the desktop and Reader X (or XI?) in the browser (preferences will tell you). Which exact version of Acrobat/Reader (10.1.9 is the latest for X) are you using?

              In Reader XI you can do more than in Reader X, like commenting, but you definitely cannot sign with certificates  in Reader but can in Acrobat. Could you, please, check if you can sign in the browser and, separately, on the desktop?

              Are you opening Reader-enabled PDFs? If you open reader-enabled PDF in the browser you may get more permissions. Can you open the same PDF in Reader on the descktop and see if the behavior is the same as in the browser?

              See http://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/using/display-pdf-browser-acrobat-xi.html for more info on how to set which PDF Viewer the browser will use. I think that directions for IE 8 and 9 apply to IE10 as well. Try to change the PDF Viewer in the browser to the same one that you are using on the desktop and see if the behavior changes.

              • 4. Re: Certified PDF Document Restrictions Change on the Web
                t0nimari3 Level 1

                Thank you so much for your help and patience on this! Please bear with me if I need clarification on some things, but you're keeping things easy to understand for now.

                 

                Start Acrobat X on the desktop, go to Edit->Preferences->Internet and look which PDF Viewer it shows as the one that the browser uses (the filepath to the PDF Viewer may be grayed out).

                Under Web Browser Options, "Display PDF in browser" is checked with a path to Acrobat 10.0,

                 

                Could you, please, check that you indeed are using Acrobat X on the desktop and Reader X (or XI?) in the browser (preferences will tell you). Which exact version of Acrobat/Reader (10.1.9 is the latest for X) are you using?

                Desktop - Adobe Acrobat 10.1.9

                Browser - Adobe PDF Reader 10.1.9.22 (I'm thinking I was mistaken saying we used reader. The path for this looks like it goes back to Acrobat/ActiveX)

                 

                Could you, please, check if you can sign in the browser and, separately, on the desktop?

                I cannot add a signature to the document either in browser or on desktop.

                 

                Are you opening Reader-enabled PDFs? If you open reader-enabled PDF in the browser you may get more permissions. Can you open the same PDF in Reader on the descktop and see if the behavior is the same as in the browser?

                Going back to my previous statement, I don't believe we use Reader afterall.

                 

                See http://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/using/display-pdf-browser-acrobat-xi.ht ml for more info on how to set which PDF Viewer the browser will use. I think that directions for IE 8 and 9 apply to IE10 as well. Try to change the PDF Viewer in the browser to the same one that you are using on the desktop and see if the behavior changes.

                This is the area I went in to pull the Browser version information I provided above, and it is enabled.

                • 5. Re: Certified PDF Document Restrictions Change on the Web
                  Dave Merchant MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                  The first question - are you absolutely sure that your web browser is using the Acrobat/Reader plugin and not an internal PDF rendering engine?

                   

                  By default, Firefox/Chrome/etc. will all use their own engines even if Acrobat or Reader are installed, and those engines do not respect document permissions.

                  • 6. Re: Certified PDF Document Restrictions Change on the Web
                    t0nimari3 Level 1

                    Dave Merchant - when I go to IE10 > Tools > Manage Add-Ons, I see:

                     

                    Adobe PDF Reader - Enabled

                     

                    More Information shows:

                     

                    Name: Adobe PDF Reader

                    Publisher: Adobe Systems, Incorporated

                    Type: Active X Control

                    Status: Enabled

                    Architecture: 32-bit

                    Version: 10.1.9.22

                     

                    Does that confirm it, or is there another way? And if so, can you provide me directions on how to find that for you?

                     

                    Thanks for your help!

                    • 7. Re: Certified PDF Document Restrictions Change on the Web
                      IsakTen Level 4

                      If  Edit->Preferences->Internet shows a path to Acrobat X your IE uses Acrobat not Reader. IE's Manage Add-Ons always shows "Adobe PDF Reader - Enabled" for both Acrobat and Reader. One more test that you can do to put this to rest is this:

                      1. Open any PDF in the browser.

                      2. Move cursor to the bottom of the screen, an Acrobat/Reader transparent toolbar appears: select right-most item - PDF icon. If you don't see the toolbar, IE does not use Acrobat/Reader. After this selection the PDF window in IE gets a toolbar on the top of the window.

                      3. Click on "Sign" on the right-side panel and open "Work with Certificates". If all items in this group are grayed out, IE uses Reader (signing is not supported in Reader). If some of items in this group are full color and you can click on them ("Sign with Certificate") then IE uses Acrobat. You can click on it to start signing workflow and immediately cancel it. The main point here is to check whether Signing with Certificate is enabled (Acrobat) or not (Reader).

                      I am pretty sure that this test will only confirm that your IE is using Acrobat, in which case we are back to square one.

                      Does your original problem manifest on your computer or on other people's computers? If it manifests on your computer then I do not know what to tell. It does not manifest on mine. If it manifest on other people's computers but not yours, then the test which PDF Viewer IE uses needs to be performed on those computers not on yours. It is possible that on those computers browsers use PDF Viewers other than Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader. Other than a browser using of a non-Adobe PDF Viewer I cannot see a reason for not respecting permissions.

                      • 8. Re: Certified PDF Document Restrictions Change on the Web
                        t0nimari3 Level 1

                        When I select a non-validated PDF, the transparent toolbar appears. The validated PDF already gets the toolbar at the top. The validated PDF has no "Sign" in the right-side panel. I'm not able to sign the validated PDF in browser or on the desktop.

                         

                        I've had some users in on this troubleshooting state that they are unable to manipulate the text or add comments, while others could. I'm not too concerned about the validation of the document coming into question, I was just curious as to why the permissions changed from desktop to browser. I'll check more in to what PDF Readers are being used in the browsers.

                        • 9. Re: Certified PDF Document Restrictions Change on the Web
                          Test Screen Name Most Valuable Participant

                          Have you actually established it's permissions? Have you found a way to check the permissions while viewing in a browser?


                          Acrobat/Reader have always offered a different interface with different rules in a browser, so I wonder if you are just seeing that difference.

                          • 10. Re: Certified PDF Document Restrictions Change on the Web
                            t0nimari3 Level 1

                            After validation, the document has the document restrictions listed in my first post. In the browser, when I look at the document restrictions (I look at the document properties for this), the restrictions are gone.

                             

                            What's curious is that two machines with seemingly the same settings act differently. This doesn't happen with everyone.

                             

                            The current process for creating this PDF is as follows:

                             

                            - User adds a signature field

                            - User select "Lock fields after signing" and signs

                            I offered up a workaround as follows:
                            - Add the digital signature field for validation

                            - Change the document security properties to require password, and restrict the editing to signing existing signature fields

                            - When signing, select "Lock fields after signing"

                             

                            For some reason, that extra layer of security carries over to the browser and everything is restricted as it's supposed to.

                            • 11. Re: Certified PDF Document Restrictions Change on the Web
                              t0nimari3 Level 1

                              Update: I've learned from my customers that the PDFs being posted are created from a template where the first page involves form fields, as well as a field for a signature. Would the form fields of the PDF affect how its viewed in browser?