I find that I need to send financial PDF files via email, and I’m worried about who can view these files. Is there some way to password protect a PDF file before I email it? I could send the recipient the password separately, if necessary. I’d prefer to do all this for free, if possible. Can you help?
This need made be new to you but the need to password protect PDF files is as old as well PDF files because the PDF file format is generally read only and because just about every human with a computer can load and display a PDF file.
It's really the perfect means for transmitting information that can't be edited. Transmitting PDF files via e-mail has almost but not quite superseded the ancient ritual of faxing documents. The main difference is that faxing is generally considered more secure because it's a point to point protocol and never uses the Internet. The only security flaw with a fax is that you don't know who will see the printed page on the receiving side.
With a PDF file it's all too easy to print, forward, or otherwise share confidential information. To avoid security issues with PDF files then you can apply a password to the document so it can't be viewed without knowledge of the corresponding password. You can set one or more passwords for viewing, extracting pages, and printing the document.
Along with other activities most people that password protect PDF files do it using the Adobe Acrobat application but this application is far from free. If you do own Adobe Acrobat which is different from the Adobe Acrobat Reader which is free, but doesn't support password applied to documents without paying for it. You can use Adobe Acrobat to add password protection.
On the other hand if you want a free solution check out this website PDFprotect.net. This site is free although it will cost by barraging you with reminders that you should give them money for their services. You can use it for free but be warned that you'll feel guilty about it. That's PDFprotect.net.
Also know that their size and daily use limitations for free services but for a one off protection of a normal sized PDF you should be fine. The site is self-explanatory, follow directions to, Upload a file and password protected you can upload a file from your computer or use a file from Google Drive or Dropbox. It's really pretty simple. There are some advanced options as well if you want to investigate.
Now once you've password protected the file and you've mailed it you don't want to put the password in the same email as the file because that kind of spoils the point of password protecting it. In that case you want to call the person with the password or send it in a separate e-mail so at least if someone gets the document they didn't also get the password. Check out PDFprotect.net for more information.