How to set permission in a PDF form to allow saving data

Written by robin noelle
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When working with Adobe Acrobat and several other related Adobe products, you can create forms that users can either print and fill out by hand or that can be filled out and saved on the computer. These PDF forms can be assigned a variety of permissions and security settings that restrict or allow users to manipulate the form. Using these settings, you can decide whether to allow a user to print or save the form and whether they can save the data that they've entered into the form.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Create your form in Adobe Acrobat. Adobe Reader is a free program that anyone can download to read PDF files, but Acrobat is the full featured document creator used to manipulate PDF files.

  2. 2

    Save a version of your form on your computer or jump drive. Depending on the level of security you set for your form, it's a good idea to have an unprotected backup copy in a safe place. Go to "File>Save As" and save your file to your documents folder.

  3. 3

    Set permissions for the form. Open the "Form Properties" dialogue box from the File menu by selecting "File>Form Properties." Click on the tab that says "PDF Security." Check the box that requires a password to make changes to the document, but not the box that requires a password to open the document. If you do not wish to set a password for this document, you can still enable Reader users to save a filled in form. Skip to Step 4.

  4. 4

    Enable usage rights for Adobe Reader users. You can set usage rights that allow Reader users to save their PDF forms once they've made changes by choosing "Advanced" from the main toolbar at the top of the screen, and then "Enable Usage Rights" for Adobe Reader for Acrobat 8 or "Extend Forms Fill-In & Save" In Adobe Reader for Acrobat 9.

Tips and warnings

  • If you set a password for a PDF file, you cannot recover the password if you lose it. It's always a good idea to keep an unprotected copy of the document, or store the password in a place where you will be able to find it if needed.

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