How to Prevent PDF from Downloading and Printing

Protect PDF from Printing and Downloading

Content security online is a forever hot topic. But now, as the pandemic keeps pushing businesses toward digitalization, it is increasingly so. Every day more than 300 billion emails are sent, and with them, billions of digital documents are shared—reports, proposals, catalogs, newsletters… Most of them are probably in PDF, which is still a go-to format for digital documentation. However, some PDF documents can be more sensitive than others—for example, a business proposal, an internal presentation of an upcoming update, or the results of completed automated testing. Suchlike sensitive documentation requires privacy and good protection from unsolicited distribution. And all of these PDF documents, especially private ones, need to be protected from unsolicited distribution. 

So how do you prevent your sensitive online documents from falling into the wrong hands? Namely, how do you protect PDFs from printing and downloading? We’re convinced that the best solution is online flipbooks. Why? Read on and find out!


Is It Possible to Make a PDF Non-Downloadable?

Short answer: if a PDF is still a PDF—not really. 

There are three ways to download a PDF when you open it. You can click the Download button, right-click the PDF itself and choose Save As…, or choose to print the whole web page and save it as a PDF. And there are really no easy workarounds to any of them.

You can’t disable the Download button in your PDF files, and you sure can’t prevent the user from choosing Print... in the right-click menu for the entire screen. 

What you can do is password protect your PDF in Adobe Acrobat. Aside from password protection, their Protect tool also allows you to disable printing. However, some PDF viewers ignore this setting, so it’s not as helpful as you’d hope. And even if it does protect a PDF from printing, it doesn’t restrict downloading in any way whatsoever.

Various forums and help boards offer a lot of convoluted advice on the matter. For example, you can develop your own PDF-viewer to try and prevent downloading of your document—easy peasy lemon squeezy. The main point of this and other suchlike solutions is to make the process of printing and downloading your PDF so complicated for potential content thiefs that most of them wouldn’t bother trying. The problem is, all these solutions are pretty complicated for most people to implement as well—they require knowledge, time, and effort and still they don’t guarantee the result, i.e. that they will actually allow you to disable PDF downloading from your website.

As they say, the best way to prevent a PDF from being downloaded is not to send it at all.

However, we’ve already mentioned yet another option of PDF protection that we consider to be better than others. It’s online flipbooks.


What Are Online Flipbooks And How Can They  Help?

Online flipbooks are interactive HTML5 publications that you can make by taking your PDFs and converting them in a click via FlippingBook. They are essentially PDFs made better—they can be shared as links, they look like printed publications put online, down to a smooth page-flip effect, they have a lot of cool interactive features, and—what’s most important in our case!—they are easier to protect from printing and downloading.

Berkshire Real Estate Market Report

When you send an online flipbook to your recipient, what you actually send is not an attachment, but a link. When the recipient clicks the link, your flipbook opens in a new tab, and while they can flip through it all they like, they won’t be able to download it or print it if you’ve disabled these options.

Click the link to see for yourself

What’s even more important, disabling printing and downloading for a PDF is so simple in FlippingBook it will take mere seconds to do it.


How to Protect a PDF from Printing and Downloading with FlippingBook

It only takes four easy steps to turn your PDF into an online flipbook protected from unwanted downloading and printing:

  1. First, register on the FlippingBook website and upload your first PDF. It will be converted into a flipbook automatically.
  2. When the conversion is finished, FlippingBook will offer to customize your flipbook before you share it—do that.
  3. In the customization mode, you will see a menu on the left. Choose Controls there.
  4. In the Controls, you will see the Share, Print, and Download options. Disable Print and Download. Voila! Don’t forget to save the changes!
    Note: You can save these settings as default ones to save time later.

Disabling printing and downloading results in the Share and Print buttons disappearing from the control panel below your flipbook—as you can see here:


And, if you want, you can turn on password protection and lock your PDF for private eyes only—FlippingBook can do that, as well!

In conclusion, you can see that preventing a PDF from downloading and printing is not as impossible as it seems and is actually pretty simple—if your PDF is a flipbook! Convert your PDF documents into flipbooks and protect them with ease.

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