Password protecting multiple scanned in PDFs at a time with Adobe or third party software

We are starting to scan in from a Xerox 7530 MFP,  a few thousand multi page documents to a location on our network server.  We are not worried about most internal users accessing them but want to password protect them in case they are hacked remotely or someone tries to remove them on thumb drive etc.

We have Adobe Acrobat Pro 12 but it appears that according to Adobe support you can only password protect one file at a time by opening it in Adobe Pro and applying the password.  This may take forever !

I talked to Xerox and they have no built in password protection in the scanning function at the unit .  I have seen comments about third party ways to password protect multiple files at once and wondered what the latest options out there may be as some of the comments are somewhat old.  We have about 500  PDFs now and will eventually once scanned in have about 3000 to password protect.

anyone have recommendations?
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Have you tried using the automated PDF Actions with Acrobat?

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There's also a "competitor" site that I can't link to that suggests an open source PDF Toolkit, pdftk( that can do the job too.

Here's some examples

    Encrypt a PDF using 128-Bit Strength (the Default) and Withhold All Permissions (the Default)

    pdftk mydoc.pdf output mydoc.128.pdf owner_pw foopass

    Same as Above, Except a Password is Required to Open the PDF

    pdftk mydoc.pdf output mydoc.128.pdf owner_pw foo user_pw baz

    Same as Above, Except Printing is Allowed (after the PDF is Open)

    pdftk mydoc.pdf output mydoc.128.pdf owner_pw foo user_pw baz allow printing

David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
We are not worried about most internal users accessing them but want to password protect them in case they are hacked remotely or someone tries to remove them on thumb drive etc. Which would mean that an internal user would have the password.. Use some sort of DRM i.e. ADRMS is my suggestion.
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to2007Author Commented:
ok thanks but the alphabet lost me.,   DRM,  ADRMS ??
to2007Author Commented:
also the internal users already have access to the paper files.  They appear more concerned about being hacked which should not happen but who knows these days.  But still will check DRM and ADRMS  if you can clarify .  Thanks
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
Hi to2007,

You can do this with a combination of the FORFILES command (free, built into Windows) and the excellent, third-party (free!) PDF Toolkit (PDFtk):

PDFtk comes in both command line and GUI versions. The command line version is called PDFtk Server and may be downloaded here:

Don't be misled by "Server" in the name. I don't know why they called it that, but it's just an executable (pdftk.exe, with a supporting DLL, libiconv2.dll) that runs on XP, Vista, W7, and W8 (it does not have to run on a "server" OS).

The PDFtk command line call that you'll need is this:

pdftk inputfile.pdf output outputfile.pdf user_pw password

If you'd like to see the full syntax for the PDFtk command line and some usage examples, here are the links:

Your FORFILES command would be something like this:

FORFILES /P "c:\inputfolder" /M *.pdf /C "cmd /c c:\PDFtk\pdftk.exe @path output c:\outputfolder\\@file user_pw WhateverPasswordYouWant

Open in new window

The "/M" is there so that only PDF files are processed. So the above command will create a new PDF in "c:\outputfolder" for every PDF in "c:\inputfolder", but each new file will be protected with the password "WhateverPasswordYouWant". When you try to open the file, you will get this:

password protected PDF
I tested this here (W7/64-bit) on a folder with many PDFs in it — worked perfectly! If you have any problems, I can probably help you through it. Regards, Joe
to2007Author Commented:
Serialband and Joe
I downloaded the trial of VeryPDF Encrypt PDF
it has both graphical and command line.  Installed the trial and opened it up.  it walks you through selecting files and I selected several at one time.  You can give it  a "user" password and a "manager" password  that allows for changing user password and rights etc.  Seems to work great.

Not sure I understand the FOREFILES command and if needed in the case of the above app.

I also checked out the Adobe video above and it appears to be for older version of Acrobat Pro and also uses the Actions Wizard and doesn't really explain well how to use it to make password.  In Acrobat Pro 12/DC  it is very different and kind of a pain.
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
VeryPDF makes many excellent PDF products — some free, some not. I often recommend their products, but in this case, I thought that PDFtk was a better choice.

The FORFILES command allows you to process all of the files in a folder at once — to address your point that "This may take forever" if doing it one at a time. When operating on lots of folders/files, I prefer batch/command-line operations, which is why I recommended PDFtk Server. But if you prefer a GUI product, PDFtk has that, too (and also free). Here's the download link for it:

PDFtk also supports two password options: owner_pw and user_pw (as you said that VeryPDF Encrypt PDF does). But if you're happy with VeryPDF's product, that's great! Regards, Joe
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
DRM - Digital Rights Management
ADRMS  - Active Directory Rights Management Server.
For instance we have shares that cannot be printed, emailed. Files containing 'Company Confidential' cannot be copied to removable media nor emailed. files matching ###-###-### or the word "SIN" or "Social Insurance Number" (Canadian Company) cannot be copied/Emailed.
Open source and fully free are often pretty good.  There are only a handful of products that don't really have ideal replacements yet.  Fortunately for the commercial products, most Windows techs need a support contract, so most free and open source are off the table.

I also prefer batch command line operations.  They're usually less overall work when you have lots of items to process.
to2007Author Commented:
Thanks all  The answer turned out to be Action Wizards In Adobe Pro but took several calls to Adobe support to get to someone who really new the ins and outs of using the Wizards.  Rotten documentation and terrible phone support.
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
You're welcome. Happy to help. Regards, Joe
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