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Possibility of allowing only 'view only' option to .pdf / .doc / .xls files

Posted on 2010-01-09
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Last Modified: 2012-05-08
Can we create a web application where in pdf files are only viewable on a browser and user should be avoided from saving or downloading files onto local system.

We are basically looking at the possibility of allowing only 'view only' option to .pdf / .doc / .xls files .. is that a possibility through a web application (php based).

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Question by:proman121
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Seosaimh earned 1000 total points
ID: 26272377
yes it is possible, the first thing you would probably need to do is set the permissions on the actual files them selves, so when downloaded they can only be viewed. I know in pdf you can set the security permissions as you would like to  do

example:

http://createpdf.adobe.com/cgi-feeder.pl/help_security 

You should set the files to open within the browser and not their actual application, then when they open, they open as read only.
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Author Comment

by:proman121
ID: 26276613
Seosaimh Thanks for responding

yes it is possible, the first thing you would probably need to do is set the permissions on the actual files them selves, so when downloaded they can only be viewed. I know in pdf you can set the security permissions as you would like to  do example:http://createpdf.adobe.com/cgi-feeder.pl/help_security You should set the files to open within the browser and not their actual application, then when they open, they open as read only.

I created a trial account on createpdf.com to evaluate 'view only in browser' functionality, but i can't find the menu option "select a security setting from the pulldown menu on the Convert a File, Web Capture, or Paper Capture page." (from the above createpdf link provided by you)

I tried to create a new pdf / tried importing existing pdf / converted a .doc into .pdf file .. but i could not find the above security menu ... how do i change security settings for the pdf file ?

Is this security feature disabled in trial accounts ?

Is this feature available in offline Acrobat sofwtare ?

Kindly help me out.
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Assisted Solution

by:Karl Heinz Kremer
Karl Heinz Kremer earned 1000 total points
ID: 26278395
Whenever somebody "views" a PDF file in a browser, it is already downloaded to the computer. If you know where to find that file, you can take that file and copy it somewhere else.
You can however configure the PDF document so that a user cannot extract or copy information from that file.
If you want more, you need to use a full DRM (digital rights management) system. Adobe can sell that to you, but it will not come cheap.
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Expert Comment

by:Seosaimh
ID: 26285275
Hi,

I think khkremer has given an answer to this question. In essence the free versions are limited in what security can implement for PDF, whereas .doc .xls you can set the permissions on these before they go on the website, the cost will be negligible here..

Let us know if you need anything else.
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Author Closing Comment

by:proman121
ID: 31674943
Thanks for your help!
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