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URGENT! How to hide/eliminate the date created/modified from pdf file (Acrobat 6.0)

Posted on 2004-09-05
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Last Modified: 2008-01-09
I have created a pdf file, which I will be shipping to a number of clients, and I would like to somehow alter/encrypt??? the file so that the date it was created and modified is hidden from them. Any suggestions? I've already set the password security, but it did not seem that this would achieve what I wanted. Can you post the procedure to achieve this, if it is possible?

Thanks!
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Question by:MMsabry
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9 Comments
 
LVL 44

Expert Comment

by:Karl Heinz Kremer
ID: 11984074
This is not possible. The creation and modification time stamps are in the document's "Info" dictionary, and all encryption you can apply to a file will only hide this information as long as the document is not opened in Acrobat. Once Acrobat (or any other PDF processor that can process encrypted PDF documents) opens the file, all the information is decrypted, and therefore made available.

What you can do is modify this information before you encrypt the file. This would allow you to change the created date, but not the modified date. You would use a tool like the Enfocus Browser for this (http://www.enfocus.com/support/knowledgeBase/browser.php). However, this is a very dangerous process: You are working "in the guts" of your PDF file, and it's really easy to corrupt the whole file. You would however still not be able to change the modification date (this would still be the date and time you write out the encrypted file).

You could probably modify the modification date within an Acrobat plug-in, but this is a solution that would require quite a bit of work (or money).
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Author Comment

by:MMsabry
ID: 11985121
On the enfocus webpage it says:

"Modifying a PDF file with Enfocus Browser 2 can easily damage the file beyond repair, resulting in data loss, crashing applications and worse. Enfocus takes absolutely no responsibility for any consequences. Use Browser's low level editing features only if you are a software developer or an expert user in a development environment, and use them with extreme care even then."

Do you have any ideas about what they mean by..."and worse..."? I'm not an expert by any means, I'm really a newbie. When I first read your post I thought I would just create a copy of the original file, and try to modify that, so that if any problems occur then I would still have the orig. uncorrupted. But..this warning on their web sounds quite serious... what would you advise?

Does anyone else have any alternative suggestions?


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LVL 44

Expert Comment

by:Karl Heinz Kremer
ID: 11985493
That's probably something their lawyers wanted :-) The most that can happen is that your PDF file will be corrupt. You need to enable the feature in the prefererences dialog before you can actually modify a PDF file, so you can safely look around and find the data that needs to be modified (it's in the Info dictionary that you see when you open up the browser for a PDF file.
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Author Comment

by:MMsabry
ID: 11986082
i'm trying to install the enfocus browser...but for some reason will not start up
i tried both the plugin and the full browser..installed separately and together even, restarted comp several times
wondering if i'm tripping over something basic. you mention i need to enable the preferences dialog - this is after i have the enfocus working correctly, presumably?
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LVL 44

Expert Comment

by:Karl Heinz Kremer
ID: 11986335
Yes, either as the standalone application, or as plug-in. I'm using both on a PC (Win2K) and Mac OS X (here only the standalone app, they don't have a plug-in for the Mac).

Do you get any error messages?
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Author Comment

by:MMsabry
ID: 11986357
error message:
"BrowserApp.exe - Unable to Locate Component
This application has failed to start because CSFTPL32.dll was not found. Re-installing the application may fix this problem."

any ideas?
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LVL 44

Expert Comment

by:Karl Heinz Kremer
ID: 11986363
Here is some information about a different Enfocus product that also requires to manually install this library (there is a download link on this page):

http://www.enfocus.com/support/knowledgeBase/showarticle.php?kbnr=111

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Author Comment

by:MMsabry
ID: 11986426
Ya Thanks! That worked! Now I'm in there, and I see the info dictionary (going to the "browse current document" or "browse current path"), and i have the creation date before me but I don't see any way to modify it? You mention i have to enable this somehow in the preferences dialog? Can you explain more details on how?
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LVL 44

Accepted Solution

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Karl Heinz Kremer earned 500 total points
ID: 11986515
If you run the Acrobat plug-in, go to Edit>Preferences>Enfocs Browser (or something very similar) and enable "Editing". Then, when you want to edit something (e.g. the creation date), hold down the Ctrl key when you double-click the dictionary entry. Then click on "Put" to write the change back. Then save your document (and potentially apply the security settings).
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