2 Simple Ways to Encrypt PDF Files for Email

PDF appears as the most common file format to deliver data and information between various systems and devices. PDF files receive love from millions of users from pole to pole thanks to their ability to maintain fixed formatting and easy accessibility.

When it comes to sharing these files, sending PDF attachment emails becomes the easiest way. But how do you secure your private files with confidential information?

It’s recommended to encrypt your PDF files in emails before sending them to others. This helps to completely secure your private files. But how can you achieve that?

This article will help you protect your private PDF files with passwords when sharing them online using Acrobat and PPWP Pro plugin. The reasons why you should encrypt PDFs will also be brought to the table.

Let’s get started.

Why You Need to Encrypt PDF Files for Email

As mentioned, PDFs including personal and sensitive information shouldn’t be available to the public. However, you’ll never know if the receiver forwards the PDF attachment email to others or sends them the PDF file links.

Even when users don’t intend to share the file, hackers can still try brute force attacks on the email and steal your private PDF document. This requires you to encrypt it for better file security.

How to Encrypt PDF Files Using Acrobat

If you once used PDF files to deliver information, you must have heard about the Acrobat software. Acrobat is the most famous tool to create, view, manipulate, print, and manage PDFs.

Besides these main features, you can encrypt your PDF with Acrobat software too. All you need to do include:

  1. Select and open your desired PDF files in Acrobat
  2. Click on File and choose the “Protect Using Password” option
  3. Decide your password type. You can set the permissions you want to give readers, one for editing the PDF and the other for viewing it only.
  4. Enter your password then retype it to confirm
  5. Hit the Apply button

That’s it! Your PDF file is encrypted now. Receivers have to type the correct password to view or edit it.

Although it’s simple and common to password protect PDF files with the Acrobat tool, there are limitations that drive users to a more comprehensive solution.

As a matter of fact, you have to attach the encrypted file and the password in the email. In case the recipient forwards that email to others, they can use that password to unlock the file. So it becomes meaningless to protect your files now.

Plus, what if you want to prevent that person from viewing your PDF files after a given time? You can do nothing rather than change to another password.

Luckily, PDA Gold and PPWP Pro plugin can help you ease these curbs without any fuss.

Encrypt PDF Files with PPWP Pro and PDA Gold Plugins

To use these plugins, you must own a WordPress website and upload your PDF files to the Media Library.

Why Using PPWP Pro and PDA Gold

PPWP Pro allows you to lock your WordPress pages and posts with passwords. You can embed your PDF file in a page or post, then password-protects that section. As a result, users have to own the password to unlock and view it.

Additionally, you don’t have to worry about the problem of sharing passwords since you can set the expiration for them. The expiration can be based on usage or time. After a certain time or a number of usages, users are no longer able to reuse those passwords.

Out of the box, it’s possible for you to bypass users to the protected file. Instead of sending them the page URL embedding the PDF, you can create access links for users to access it automatically. There is no chance for them to share the password since they never own it.

Although your PDF is encrypted by PPWP Pro, it’s still indexed by crawlers and shows up on search results. Only when visitors have the file’s URL, they can access it without having to enter the password. That’s where PDA Gold comes in handy.

PDA Gold is recognized as the no.1 plugin to protect WordPress media files, including PDF documents. Once protected, your PDFs become inaccessible to unauthorized users or de-indexed by search crawlers. At the bottom line, people won’t be able to find your links on Google. Even though they have the link somehow, they won’t be able to download it.

Step 1: Install PPWP Pro and PDA Gold Plugins

PDA Gold and PPWP Pro plugins only work properly when you also have their lite versions activated. We will guide you on how to install PDA plugins and you can follow the same process with PPWP.

  1. Head to Plugins > Add New in your WordPress admin dashboard
  2. Type “prevent direct access” in the keyword box
  3. Install and activate the free PDA plugin
  4. Download PDA Gold plugin from our website under a zip file format
  5. Go back to the Plugins page, click on the Upload Plugin button, and choose the zip file you just downloaded
  6. Enter the license key sent to your email then activate the plugin

Step 2: Protect PDF Files with PDA Gold

You have 4 different ways to protect files with the PDA Gold plugin. We recommend the simplest method which is securing the file while embedding it to the content.

  1. Open the page or post you plan to embed the file
  2. Click on the Add Media button on the page toolbar
  3. Upload the PDF file to your WordPress Media Library if you haven’t had it ready there
  4. Tick on the Protect this file checkbox in the Attachment Details section
  5. Insert the file to the content

Step 3: Password Protect the Page Content

As soon as you install and activate the PPWP Lite and PPWP Pro plugins, they will add a Password Protect WordPress section to your page’s edit screen. Now, enable the Password protected toggle.


  1. Click on Add new and enter your password
  2. Set the password role.

Global passwords allow every user to enter and access the protected page while the Role ones force users to log in with a specific user role to open the content.

The plugin doesn’t limit you on the number of passwords you can assign to your protected page containing the private PDF files. To manage the password usage as well as bypass users to the page, let’s move to the next step.

Step 4: Manage Your Encrypted PDF

  1. Go back to the Pages or Posts list and find your desired content
  2. Click on the Manage passwords link of your protected page/post
  3. Hit the Password protect this page button which will show you a password management popup
  4. Generate new strong passwords automatically or you can create them manually by going to the New Password tab
  5. Enter the password usage limits and password expiry in both New Password or clicking the edit icon on the Action column

After expiration time or a number of clicks, users can’t re-access them using these passwords anymore.

Instead of sending users the page’s URL with the password, you grant them direct access via quick access links. Each link will correspond to a password.

Users are not required to remember passwords or fill in the password form. On top of that, this reduces the chance of sharing passwords among users.

Bonus tip: Add Digital Signature to PDF Files

Apart from encrypting PDF files in emails, you should also add a digital signature to prevent ill-intentioned people from touching and reusing your PDF.

Digital Signature app gives you permission to create e-signs and add them to PDF files. You can save money from printing PDF files to sign them manually. Although being launched recently, Digital Signature receives love from many users thanks to its ease of use and various features.

The tool makes it easy for you to create an e-sign on your phone then add it to your PDF invoices, contracts, portfolios, etc. You can sign using either your finger or an electronic pen.

On top of that, sharing signature images with others via Gmail and any other social platforms has never been simpler.

It’s Time to Encrypt PDF Files for Better Document Security

We all understand the importance of PDF files in delivering information online. However, not all users know how to protect it effectively. One of the most simple methods is to password protect them.

You have multiple ways to encrypt PDF files, from using Acrobat software to the PPWP Pro plugin. Each comes with a set of benefits and drawbacks that can directly affect the effectiveness of your PDF protection process.

The former lets you lock your PDF offline with just a few clicks. However, there is no way to block users from sharing passwords.

PPWP Pro, meanwhile, gives you a helping hand to assign passwords to your PDF document. You can set usage limit and expiration time for your files and at the same time create quick access links to allow users to open the file directly.

That said, you need to own a WordPress website and upload your files there in order to protect them with a password. What’s more, you’re required to install the PDA Gold plugin to prevent Google indexing on your files.

We also provide you with a bonus tip on how to add digital signatures to your PDF files to protect them efficiently.

Let PPWP Pro and PDA Gold assist you in encrypting your PDF files now!