Word and PDF’s – a warning about protection settings in Word

Word and PDF – how does the new feature of PDF to Word cause issues when protecting Word documents

Word and PDF: Word iconPDF to Word is a newer feature in Office and initially can be seen as a great feature! This feature allows you to open up a PDF document into Word format so that it converts it for you.

This feature came up in conversation recently in a training course. The attendee posed a question to me about it which led in some further research being done. After much research, we’re sharing the findings we came across.


What did we find…

For a while now its been possible to ‘Save As’ a Word document to create a PDF document. It is possible with the later versions of Word to then open this document back up in Word and then edit it in Word. This a bit of a surprise to some people who would want to use PDF’s as a way of sending secure non editable documents to others.

I’ve found that even applying Editing Restrictions in Word before saving as a PDF does not prevent it from being opened and edited in Word. You can of course send a Word password protected document to another. However they then cannot even view it without knowing the password. To apply true editing security protection to a PDF requires the PDF Pro version or some other PDF protection software.

So you may have to think again if you want your documents secure and non editable. So although this newer feature might be useful to some, in some work situations this could now cause a problem. A method that has been used to send documents safely and preventing any editing being done now seems to be in a bit of a ‘loophole’.

Have you come across this ‘loophole’? Any comments would be appreciated on this article. Please send to johnlegge@jplcomputer.co.uk.

If you liked this post on Word and PDF, why not take a look at our last hint and tip on how to insert an icon into a Word document?