How to Disable Print Options in PDF

In the world of digital file sharing, Portable Document Format (PDF) files lead the way.

The advantage of a PDF file is that it's always identical regardless of the program or device it's viewed in.

A PDF is independently functioning, not relying on any particular browser, hardware, or operating system for viewing.

However, what do you do when you need to secure a PDF from being printed? In this article, we go over the Why's and How's of disabling the print option in a PDF for security, compliancy, and copyright protection.

Benefits of PDF

PDF files reign above other digital file types due to a compressed file size and easy mobile accessibility. Another significant advantage of working with PDF files is the ability to have centralized control and embedded security features. PDF files allow ideas to be shared, yet remain secure with many options, such as assigning passwords and having the ability to permit only select users to view the document.

Whether signing electronically, encrypting, sharing catalogs, invoices, or any other use, PDF has undoubtedly become the go-to file type in many fields especially government, health sectors, and finance technology. However, it is beneficial to know how to utilize the functions offered, to protect valuable information and misuse of a PDF when sharing the file.  

Censoring relevant material through redaction of the data is possible and can make certain parts of the file only visible to those granted access. Another valuable tool is to learn how to disable the ‘Print’ option for your material. Taking a proactive stance against the misuse of your PDF files is a choice that is worth investing the time into protecting. 

Why Disable the Print Option in a PDF? 

While PDF files are a standardized way to share documents of various types, for security or copyright purposes you may not want the file printed out. By opting for this action, you are stopping unauthorized sharing.

High-quality PDF modification software allows the user to publish PDF files that are secure and print disabled but still allow printing to individual users. Within these rights, precautionary measures are again taken by only allowing limited copies. It is also wise to watermark these documents with distinctive information or a patterned background that is difficult to mimic.

If in the hands of an unintended audience, misuse could result in serious issues. The unwanted user could print, photocopy, and then scan printed copies saving them and naming them as new PDF files. There could also be sensitive or private information you do not want to disclose.

Disabling the Print option on the PDF provides an extra barrier of copy protection against any misuse or alterations to discreet information, such as social security numbers, signatures, sales, or any other matter.

Not taking the proper steps to assure the protection of your documents could result in identity theft, business loss of profit, or numerous other effects. A secure PDF that cannot be printed or accessed without proper permissions helps to ensure the safety of the information for both those delivering it and those receiving it. There are several specific scenarios in which creating a print disabled PDF is essential.

Disabling Print for Compliancy 

The healthcare industry commonly employs print-disabled PDF files. Patient portals are more popular than ever because they allow patients to access their health care records online, complete questionnaires, make appointments, and more. These portals typically have a very high level of security, because of the sensitive nature of the information they contain.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and other various laws require that patient information is kept highly secure and not be vulnerable to any hacking or data breaches. Creating secure PDFs can be advantageous in this industry, as organizations can make the PDFs partially editable for patients to enter their information, yet prevent them from making unauthorized changes or printing, and protect the data that they do come from potential breaches, which could release highly sensitive or personal information.


Similarly, in the financial sector, if an organization can create a print disabled PDF for clients to access their statements, update their personal information, and manage their accounts, then they have a much broader ability to serve their clients without the risk of altered details.

The public's dependency upon electronic records for a myriad of purposes is only increasing – It's not limited to solely their financial information. Keeping sensitive information private and compliant is critical in almost every industry.

Government sectors commonly use secure and print-disabled PDFs for handling public needs, such as housing vouchers, applications, child support, job postings, tax forms, and many other functions. By creating secure and print-disabled PDFs, the information both presented to the public audience, as well as any information that consumers enter for eligibility are protected to a far higher level than other methods of information exchange. 


How to Disable Print Option in PDF 

Disabling the ‘Print’ option in a PDF is made easy and approachable by following the steps listed below. Here we examine a few ways to disable the ‘Print’ option in a PDF and break it down into simple instructions across a few different platforms. 

Disable the PDF Print Function Using Toolkit by ActivePDF (Developers):

There are a few ActivePDF developer tools that offer the ability to disable the print option. Toolkit, for example, is the award-winning PDF manipulation SDK that offers many other features, including digital signatures, watermarking, form fill, and more. 

Visit the Toolkit GitHub page for code examples. Below are specific links to disable print options, depending on which programming language you work in. 

C#: https://github.com/ActivePDF/Toolkit/blob/master/C%23/Toolkit.DisablePrint.cs

VBS: https://github.com/ActivePDF/Toolkit/blob/master/VBS/Toolkit.DisablePrint.vbs

Here's a visual example of how to 'add security' to disable the print option in Toolkit:



Download Toolkit


Disable the PDF Print Function Using DocConverter:

DocConverter is another popular server-side PDF document conversion SDK by ActivePDF. DocConverter gives you the ability to seamlessly integrate document conversion into your existing applications. It also provides you with the power to disable the print option.

Visit the DocConverter GitHub page for code examples. In the meantime, take a look at the entire code sample for disabling print options: 

C#: https://github.com/ActivePDF/DocConverter/blob/master/C%23/DocConverter.SetPDFSecurity.cs

Here's a visual example of how to 'add security' to disable the print option in DocConverter:


Download DocConverter


Disable the PDF Print Function Using WebGrabber:

When enterprise organizations need to convert HTML to PDF, WebGrabber is their go-to developer tool. Consistent, reliable, and accurate, WebGrabber generates high-quality, compact PDF files from webpages or raw HTML using a familiar standards-based language. To help keep PDFs secure, WebGrabber also provides the ability to disable the print function. 

Visit the WebGrabber GitHub page for code examples. In the meantime, take a look at the entire code sample for disabling print options: 

C#: https://github.com/ActivePDF/WebGrabber/blob/master/C%23/WebGrabber.SetPDFSecurity.cs

Here's a visual example of how to set security to disable the print option in WebGrabber:


Once you've gone through the steps of disabling your 'Print' option, be sure to test it before sharing the document!

Download WebGrabber


In Summary: How to Disable Print Option in PDF 

With the benefits of PDF reigning supreme, there is an ever-increasing necessity to feel entirely capable of protecting sensitive content. With a thorough understanding of how to protect your PDF files via disabling the ‘Print’ option, you and your organization can have genuinely centralized control over the information you are sending and receiving.

With the universal nature of these documents, the material could quickly go from who was meant to view the file to someone who is not intended to view the file. By disabling the print option, as well a myriad of other security measures mentioned and available, this worry can dissipate, and your business can thrive.




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