Certificate security

Digital IDs let you encrypt files that can only be opened and used by people who have exchanged certificates. Certificate-based security has many advantages over password-based security: documents can be opened without the need to remember passwords, Digital IDs cannot be shared or copied easily, the one document can contain different security settings for each recipient of a file. For example, you may grant one person editing and printing privileges, while another is limited to just viewing the file.


Before you can receive files encrypted for your digital ID, you must create your digital ID and then share its certificate with people who you intend to share certificate-secured files. You must have also received and imported the certificate of the recipient before you can encrypt files for their use.


NOTE: When you use certificate-based security, remember to add your own certificate as an intended recipient. Otherwise, you do not have access to the PDF file when it is secured.

Methods to secure a PDF file with certificate security

There are two ways to secure a PDF file with certificate security. These procedures are described below.

  • Certificate Security dialog: View security settings and manually apply security in Document Properties

  • Security profiles: Re-usable security profiles allow you to save custom security settings and then apply those settings to a document with one click. Profiles can include details on the recipients you allow. This lets you secure documents the same way for each recipient, every time

To manage certificate security:

  1. Do one of the following:

    • On the Protect tab, in the Secure Document group, click Certificate Security

    • In the File menu, select Document Properties. The Document Properties dialog opens. On the Security tab, in the Security method menu, select Certificate security

  2. In the Certificate Security dialog, select contacts you want to allow access to your secured file, and click Add. To restrict usage for each recipient as you add them, select the Restricted Permissions option, and define the levels of printing and changes allowed for that person

  3. Click More. In the Security Level section, specify an encryption Algorithm. 256-bit AES is considered the most secure

  4. Click OK or Finish

  5. Save your PDF document to apply the new security settings

To apply certificate security with a specific profile:

  1. To manage security profiles, on the Protect tab, in the Secure Document group, click Manage Profiles. If necessary, create or edit a security profile before proceeding

    For more information, see Security profiles

  2. On the Protect tab, in the Secure Document group, click the arrow below Certificate Security

  3. Select a security profile from the list, and confirm that you want to secure the document

  4. Save your PDF document to apply the new security settings

Certificate security