In LibreOffice Writer Version: - export as PDF, I try to disable copying the content.

I.e. I don't want people to open the PDF file with a PDF viewer application and copy the content (text) to the clipboard.

I follow the instructions in an older answer.

I set a "permission password".

Then I uncheck "Enable copying of content".

Then I export as PDF.

But then I open the PDF with Evince version 3.18.2 and can copy the content like a boss.

Is it a bug?

  • It's a feature. If you can read something you can copy it. Evince doesn't bother checking DRM features. – vidarlo Jan 31 '18 at 13:37
  • A lot of Linux PDF viewers don't think much of DRM, makes it nice when someone sends you an Office protected document insert Nope gif – Robby1212 Jan 31 '18 at 13:38
  • Are there ways then to make the content less easy to copy other than converting it to image (but then I lose features like clickable links) – rapt Jan 31 '18 at 13:43
  • 2
    Yes - but why? If the user wants they can copy the content if they can view it. No matter what you try to do. – vidarlo Jan 31 '18 at 13:46
  • They could always retype it, or run through OCR, even if I converted it to an image. I would like to prevent it from them to easily copy it by select all & copy. Most of them will not go any further since they are technologically challenged. – rapt Jan 31 '18 at 13:54

If you want to stop your text from being copied, the only way is to first turn them into images and then turn them back in PDF. It's easy:

  1. you need a PDF editor like Adobe Acrobat or in Ubuntu, nothing works better than Master PDF Editor. Open your PDF file with it and go to:

    File> Export to> Images

then select the format (like jpg) and directory.

  1. Open the terminal and go to the directory you saved the images and type:

    convert *.jpg output.pdf

There you have a perfect PDF!


There really is no way to accomplish what you are requesting. All sales mumbo-jumbo aside, there's nothing you can do with a commercial product as mentioned elsewhere that you can't do with open source tools such as gimp , etc. And as you mention in your own comment there is always a workaround. Whether that be an existing tool such as vidarlo mentions or simply running OCR over the document. Seeing as how the PDF specification doesn't specify specific methods, developers are free to provide whatever functions they feel are useful. Securing your text doesn't appear to be a priority for every PDF processor across all platforms.

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