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Techy Tuesday on Thursday: How to Flatten Images & Secure Your PDF files


UPDATE FOR MAC USERS: 11/17/2012
Scroll to the bottom of the tutorial where I have placed a link for all of you. Sorry this was not in the tutorial before (-;

Hi everyone! 
There have been many inquiries on Facebook and in the TPT forums regarding the best way to secure images and content within a PDF file. You might be surprised, but many people were NOT aware that converting a document to a PDF does not automatically secure the content in the file...WOAH!!!
There are extra steps you need to follow to make sure your files are secure. This tutorial also includes directions for taking a few EXTRA steps to make sure the images (clip art, borders, graphics) are secure in your files. 

Many artists require that the images are "flattened" in a SECURED PDF file. However, most do not explain what it means to "flatten" the images or offer directions as to how to do this....but today.....you will become an expert....hahahaha..

Actually, I am just hoping you can understand my directions..hehehehe

You can view the images below and/or download the PDF file to save directly from my blog...WOWEE!!

Here we go:

Programs I used in this tutorial:
Adobe Acrobat X Pro
Windows OS (Operating System): Win 7
Microsoft Office (PowerPoint) 2010
  
This tutorial will help you learn how to add the most efficient security to your published files. More specifically, I will show you how to "flatten" images to prevent people from extracting (copying & pasting) images from the digital files you create.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding this tutorial or you would like to offer suggestions to improve this tutorial.
3amteacher@gmail.com


Step One:
Launch Microsoft PowerPoint and start a NEW project.
For this tutorial I created a simple cover page with text and images. If you have already created a PowerPoint document, you can skip to the step that applies to you.

Here is the finished slide BEFORE saving. None of the images have been flattened and nothing is secure……yet.

Step 2: Saving the finished PowerPoint
Save your document as you normally would; creating a PPT version of your original file.
You want to save the original as a PPT in case you need to make changes to your file in the future.
Many of you might be used to saving your file and then immediately converting the file to a PDF. If I convert my PPT file to a PDF without taking any other steps (as I did in the picture to the right), you will see that I am still able to highlight, copy, and paste the individual images within the file. You might be shocked to discover that saving your document as a PDF does NOT secure the content. You must take extra steps to secure the content in your file.


Step 3: Saving Your PPT as an Image
Before converting your saved PPT to a PDF, we are going to “flatten” the images by saving each slide as an individual PNG or JPEG image. You cannot edit the flattened image files. I choose to save as a PNG, but you can choose to save your file as a JPEG.
Save PPT as an Image:
Go to FILE>SAVE AS
Once the window pops up, you will use the drop down menu at the bottom labeled: SAVE AS TYPE, and choose to save the file as a PNG (Portable Network Graphic) or JPEG.
Once you have chosen the file type, click save. You might be prompted to choose to save the current slide or all of the slides in the file. If you want to use all of the slides, then choose to save each slide as an individual PNG image. The images will now be saved in the place you designated on your computer or flash drive.


Step 4: Creating a Secure PDF from your flattened image files
Now that you have saved each slide as an individual image file, I will show you how to convert the images to a single PDF file.
Open the file on your computer or flash drive that contains the image files you just created. As you can see (to the top right), I have only one image saved, since I only had one slide in my file.
To create a PDF using the image, I am going to RIGHT CLICK on the file and choose to
CONVERT IMAGE TO A PDF
If you have more than one image to convert, highlight (IN ORDER) the needed files, RIGHT CLICK and choose to COMBINE SUPPORTED FILES IN ACROBAT (See bottom right picture)
In this window, you can add more files or remove files you do not want in the PDF. Choose to COMBINE FILES and your images will be converted to a PDF.


Quick Note:  
Sometimes, the images that you saved as a PDF will not convert in the correct order. Do NOT panic. All you need to do is open the bookmark preview in Adobe (right panel). Once opened, you will see thumbnails of each page in your pdf. Just select and drag the thumbnails and drop them in the correct order. The page number will change automatically once it is dropped in another position.

Step 5: Securing the PDF
You have not added security yet….

Open the PDF if it is not already.
Now that you have your PDF open, you can click on any area and notice that the entire page will be highlighted, rather than any one image. You now have “flattened” the images within a PDF file; however, you have not secured your PDF. If we leave the file as is, the buyer will still be able to copy and paste the entire page.

The only way one could “steal” images after flattening would be to take a screenshot of the image; however, the quality will be terrible and the image will not be by itself (see bottom right picture). The thief will have to do quite a lot of editing in a design program to get the image by itself.
Next, I will show you how to add security to your PDF to prevent anyone from copying the pages.






Step 5 Continued
Adding Security Options to your PDF

Click on the TOOLS tab located on the top right menu bar of your Adobe file.
Select and click the PROTECTION tab, ENCRYPT, & choose to Encrypt with a password.
Choose YES to change the security setting if prompted with this question
You will get a pop-up window with options for securing your file.
Choose your encryption settings: Add a Password
Make sure to UN-CHECK the first box to enter a password. This option prevents anyone from opening the file.


Step 5 Continued
Adding Security Options to your PDF

Check the box to restrict editing and then customize your settings.
Create a PASSWORD. 

To get a strong password setting make sure your password includes an uppercase letter and a number.
Choose OKAY once you have finished creating your password. 

You will be prompted to enter the password a second time before the window closes. Now, save your PDF and you have created a secured PDF file!




Congratulations!!! You did it!!!
I really do hope this helps some of you out and helps to secure your digital files! Click the download button save/print a copy of this tutorial.

Thank you for visiting! Come back and check out my post tomorrow to see what I post for FREEBIE Friday!! I was determined to be prepared this time and participate in the fun!!

The GOLDEN ticket for Mac users:

I noticed that many of you who read my blog are actually Mac users and I always feel so bad that I can't offer you the same help...so....as usual, I don't give up until I learn..HA!!

I found a helpful tutorial and had a friend "test" it out before sharing with all of you. For those of you using PAGES in Mac, there is a way to save your pages as a "grouped" JPEG image. 

Here is the Tutorial I found
CLICK HERE
Save this site in a reference journal, so that you can refer back to this site when you need help. I can tell you that YOU DO NOT WANT to use the help forums on the APPLE site!!!! They are filled with tons of information from many people that have NO CLUE what they are talking about. There may be forums in there that are helpful, but I did not even see one. In fact, I was so irritated about some of the advice people were giving that I had to sign in and comment - I couldn't resist!! I left the link to the correct tutorial in that forum because the people who actually needed help were being prompted to do things that caused more frustration! People REALLY should not comment in forums like that UNLESS they do know what they are doing and they are actually prepared to provide a step by step solution. It drives me bonkers when people just decide to continually add their 2 cents, because it causes far more harm than good. 

I also received some input from a friend - Tracee Orman, who  is just some small time blogger and seller on TPT...bwahahahaha - yeah right!...

Here is what she had to say...(referring to using Pages on a MAC)
You can group every object & text box as a single item, then do the "Arrange" > "Lock" to completely secure it. Just remember when grouping objects, you can't make changes (like adding a drop shadow) after it is grouped together.

Thank you for the info Tracee!! Please check out her blog (if you haven't already); however, please refer to the tutorial that I listed above if you have questions. I would hate to have her get a ton of emails from people saying, "The 3AM Teacher sent me to you to get help with using Pages"...I would feel horrible....truly....
However, I did make sure it was okay for me to include her knowledge before posting this...(-;

For you MAC users, please go through the tutorial and let me know what you think and if it was helpful or not...(-;
Kindergarten, 6th, 7th, 8th - TeachersPayTeachers.com 

42 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for sharing... I am definitely in need of this since I am trying to get all of this kind of stuff down. Did you give your blog a make-over? It looks fabulous if you did!!! I just gave mine a make-over too.

    Brittany
    Lovely Literacy & More

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks and I hope the directions are clear...hahaha

      And YES, I redesigned my blog and finished it last week. Thank you for noticing - I love the new look and I love it even more when I think about how much time it took to finally change it..

      Michelle

      Delete
  2. Thank you Michelle! I've been wondering how to do this! Your explanation is very clear and easy to follow!

    thanks again!
    --jen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Jen! I wasn't really worried until I had it posted...hahaha...

      Michelle

      Delete
  3. Thanks for the information. I know we "flatten" by saving the slides as jpegs with just PowerPoint. Is the only way to create a "secure" file to use the Pro version of Adobe?
    Thanks
    Jenn

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am sure there are other programs that can be used to secure PDF files. I would think that any program that converted files to PDF's would have this option; however, this is just what I used because it is the program I have. You do not need Adobe Pro, Just Adobe Acrobat is fine. The pro version only has a few extra features, but from what I have heard, it is not that different.

      Also, if you save a PPT as a PNG opposed to a JPEG, the quality of the images will be better.

      Michelle

      Delete
  4. Wow...I had no idea just converting to a PDF didn't secure/flatten the file. Thank you so much for the heads up and the tutorial! I am going to have to go through all my products and secure them. I am just really hoping this works the same for Presentation files created in Open Office, since I do not have Microsoft Office...

    Kara
    Spedventures

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am sure that Open Office would have the option to save your file as individual images; however, I am not sure about this..hahaha

      I will look into that because I know there are a lot of people using Open Office.

      Thank you for your input!

      Michelle

      Delete
  5. I did not know this at all. Thank you for the tutorial!
    I'm confused, though. When I just tried to copy and paste something from a couple different pdfs (saved from ppt) it didn't work. I'm on a Mac, too. I don't have Adobe Pro.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am sorry to inform you that I do not use a Mac...and have never used a Mac. I do know that copying and pasting on a Mac requires a shortcut using the keyboard however. Mac does not allow you to right click, copy and/or save. I believe it is CTRL_something, but I am really clueless when it comes to using a MAC. There are many free software programs, apps, and website servers that allow you to convert and secure files to PDF's. Adobe Acrobat X Pro is just the version that I used in the tutorial. The new version of Acrobat changed how the security settings were set and it took me a little bit to figure it out.. haha

      Michelle

      Delete
  6. Michelle, this is wonderful! I really needed this tutorial and you made it nice and clear. I'm feeling confident! Thanks so much!

    Kirra
    Teacher Kirra:Maestra Kirra

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Kirra! I am glad I am not the only PC addicted gal..hahaha

      Michelle

      Delete
  7. Thanks so much for this tutorial! I had no idea you had to do all of this, I will be going back and fixing my stuff. Oh and I love the blog redesign!

    Sarah
    Clearly Kindergarten

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Sarah!! After I updated my Adobe Acrobat from the Acrobat 9 pro to the Acrobat X Pro, I couldn't figure out how to add security properly to the files and people kept emailing me with questions that I couldn't really answer.

      I had to learn myself, but I did learn a lot of new tricks that I can do with the upgraded version of Adobe that I could not do before...

      I am happy to spread the knowledge..hahaha

      Michelle

      Delete
  8. Great info! Thanks Michelle!!

    :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome!! Thank you for leaving some encouragement..hahaha
      I am always scared to put up tutorials when it comes to technology...


      Michelle

      Delete
  9. Thank you so much for this! Unfortunately, I'm in the Mac boat as well. I have Microsoft Office for Mac, but the 2008 version. I need to figure out if getting the 2011 version is enough, or if I need both that AND an Adobe upgrade. In the meantime, I'm going to go back and save everything as a png, and insert the slides into Powerpoint to secure. If any other Mac users have advice, please share!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know....I feel so bad that I can never offer any MAC advice....HOWEVER, I have been doing some research and working incognito with a MAC owner to hopefully get a tutorial out there for Mac users.

      I also should have mentioned that Adobe is just my personal preference and there are many other (LESS EXPENSIVE) programs and apps available that will convert files to a PDF. I have the 2007 version of Office on one of our laptops and saving is pretty much the same process. I did find a site with many office programs for Mac users that you might find useful:

      http://macs.about.com/od/readertoreader/ss/Readers-Choice-Awards-2012-Time-To-Vote_6.htm

      This site is just a review of the best word processing programs for Mac users, but the links also include information about other products, formatting, and converting files. You might have an Ah ha moment....maybe...hehehe

      I It is difficult to learn about an operating system when I don't have one available to play around with; although, I refuse to purchase a Mac....only because I know the PC OS so well and I have thousands of dollars in programs invested for a PC. When I taught 7th grade LA, I had a Mac book in my classroom, but I always had to ask the kids to help me use it...hahaha...I did not like the feeling of being computer illiterate at all and ended up bringing in my own laptop or my handy ipad to the classroom. Who knows...maybe you could teach me a few things..hahaha

      Michelle

      Delete
  10. Thank you so much for this fanstastic tutorial, Michelle! It is so clear and helpful, even I can do it! Ha! Ha!

    Your new design looks great, my friend! I LOVE the 3am high tops!!
    Linda
    AroundtheKampfire

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you SO much! I had no idea you had to "Flatten" everything! I didn't even know what flatten meant! I am a new TPT maker, so thanks so much!

    ReplyDelete
  12. LOL! That's awesome, Michelle! :) I don't mind helping people. I still think one of these days we'd make a good team writing a tutorial book...you doing the PC side, of course since I am clueless with PCs!! :) Thanks for the mention and enjoy the rest of your weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you for the great tutorial. Will this work using Microsoft Office Word? (Saving the file as a png or jpeg from Step 3) Or is the only with Powerpoint? Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sadly, Word does not give you the option to save a file as an image. You might be able to download the FREE Open Office and save through that program. It is almost like Microsoft Office, but a free version.

      It is also available for MAC as well.

      Here is a link: http://www.openoffice.org/

      I hope that helps (-;

      Michelle

      Delete
  14. What a great tutorial!! Thank you. You continue to be a font of knowledge for TpT users.

    Mrs Balius

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why Thank you!! That is such a complement because I have learned so much from my TpT family!!

      Michelle

      Delete
  15. Thank you for your tutorial! I am having trouble at step 4. I was able to save each slide as a PNG, but I am not able to convert them then to a PDF. Do I need a special program to do so? At this point I have just been using PowerPoint to make my products.
    Thank you!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! If you have a PC with Windows 7 or 8, it actually comes standard; however, if you do not, then you will need to have Adobe Acrobat Pro. There are also a lot of FREE browser add-ons and software programs on the internet that you can use to convert files to a PDF. I will see what I can find and try to put together a list.


      You could also just create another PPT file and use the converted images as your pages. This way individual images cannot be lifted....this would be a temporary solution while I get a list together.


      Michelle

      Delete
    2. I am also having this problem. I have a Pc with Windows 7 and when I right click to convert my JPEG file to PDF there is no convert button to click. Any suggestions for converting files?

      Thanks so much!
      Brittany
      Lovely Literacy & More

      Delete
    3. OMG!! I almost deleted your comment by accident!! I really need to make that delete button smaller..hahaha

      I am not really sure about that, but I am going to look into it and see what I find. I will definitely fine tune this tutorial and keep you updated (-;

      Michelle

      Delete
  16. Thank you for sharing this with us. I had no clue and it doesn't actually look that difficult.

    Stephanie Ann
    Sparkling in Third Grade

    ReplyDelete
  17. Michelle, Thank you for this post! It helped me quite a bit. On my own blog I added a little more about the topic for us Mac people, but I never would have been able to do any of this without your post! I am no expert, but from November until now I played around to learn better how to flatten PDFs on a Mac.

    If you care to read my two cents then please Click Here

    Thank you!
    Christy
    Crayons and Whimsy

    ReplyDelete
  18. Great stuff! I’ve been digitizing various research journals of our library for public use, and that is one of the things I would like to prevent students from just doing. Though they can still copy it out word per word, at least now they have to do it the hard way. :)

    By any chance, do you know how to prevent users from downloading PDFs from embedded websites? That one’s been bugging me for a while.

    Nannie Salyards

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. With all the advancements in technology, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to prevent people from figuring out how to steal digital goods. People have access to so many free programs out there and are unaware that those programs are the same ones that are planting viruses onto their computers and/or stealing information from people who download free apps and software meant for hacking, converting, or graphic design. It is really scary how much information that can be taken from a server when someone downloads a file.

      Flattening the images and text will make it most difficult for people to steal digital information and images, but they still have the screenshot apps and many over-seas are using these to take screenshots of digitized goods to create products to sell online. Nothing is full-proof unless you are running your own secure server, which can cost up to $1500 a month with high bandwidth - it is free to steal, but costs an arm and a leg to protect.... UGH!!

      Well, to answer your second question, I am not sure what you mean when you say embedded websites. Do you mean that you want to prevent someone from embedding the PDF on a website for all to see? if that is what you are looking to do, then I do have some code that you can place withing the web code where you are providing the PDF's that will prevent anyone from downloading, copying, pasting, or even taking a screenshot of the image from that webpage. Depending on what operating system and web program you are using to upload these files, will determine what code you will need.

      The code can be quite frustrating at times and is quite long. If the code is applied, then nothing from the site can actually be clicked on or downloaded, but I can see what other options there might be for coding on a typical HTML site. If you are on a school server using a PhP, then you will have far more options with your security coding and that is something that you can ask one of your tech's about. I am not really familiar with PhP....yet... but there is always something to learn in the world of technology..haha


      Email me and we can chat some more if you would like to.
      Michelle
      3amteacher@gmail.com

      Delete
    2. I think what she meant by it is how to prevent PDFs featured in her website from being downloaded by visitors, so that they remain view-only through her site. I remember seeing other sites being able to do that, although I myself am not privy on how to do that. But flattening the pics and securing the text can help deter people from just lifting them from the PDF itself.

      Ruby Badcoe

      Delete
  19. Hi,

    I just came across this post and as I'm hoping to start selling on TPT this summer, I have a couple questions. First, do you need Adobe PRO or will free programs like PrimoPDF secure the document as well? Also, your tutorial didn't say anything about changing the "Printing Allowed" section...will I need to change that if I want people to download and print out my products? Thanks!

    - Katy
    firstgradekate@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  20. This is a fantastic post. It is the most clear and direct that I have come across. I am finding myself having the same problem as a few posters ahead of me. I can save my documents as a PNG but then I don't know how to get them into PDF format from there. I do not have an Adobe program besides the free Adobe Reader. When I save my document it gives me the option to save it as a pdf. I would like to use your idea of PNG to PDF, just to make sure its as secure as it can be. I just can't turn an image into a PDF. Do you have any suggestions?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much!! The tutorial I created requires the use of Adobe Acrobat Pro or higher; however, you might be able to choose to print to PDF once you have saved your file.

      If you have this option, you will got to...

      Print
      Printer Setting
      Change to PDF
      Click Print to PDF (it might give you the option to save the PDF.. as opposed to printing it).

      I hope this helps a little bit. I know how pricey Adobe programs can be. They are a good investment if you are planning to profit from the resources/files you create.

      If you are using Google Chrome, there are many free apps/extensions available to help make your life easier...

      here is the link
      https://chrome.google.com/webstore/category/extensions?hl=en-US&utm_source=chrome-ntp-launcher


      I am sorry that I could not be of more help...but I really appreciate you stopping by and taking the time to leave your questions. I find the questions helpful as I create more tutorials - this way I can (hopefully) help more people (-;

      Michelle

      Delete
  21. Michelle, I love the tutorial. I am still just wondering about when I create a Credits Page. I know how to secure the actual product part of my pdf but when I secure the Credits Page it makes the links not work. I know that the links need to work to put them on tpt, but am not sure how to secure the Credits Page while allowing the links to work. I do not even know if you need to secure this page or not. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi Michelle

    I am finding that when I combine the slides into 1 PDF...when they come up as a PDF the images aren't as clear as they are in the powerpoint. My clipart is a little fuzzy. I did save them as PNGS. Do you know why this might be happening??!

    Thanks
    renee

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Renee!!

      When you save the pages as images, you will lose a good amount of image quality - even if you set the image compression to "none". I know how frustrating that is. I am very particulate about the quality of my images and I always want them to look very crisp and clear.

      Turn off image compression in your powerpoint options and make sure you choose "preserve image quality" and maximum image quality in your Adobe settings. This might help you out quite a bit.

      Michelle

      Delete
  23. I love this - thank you! I am unable to download the tutorial as a pdf - I keep getting "Pin It" and taken to Pinterest.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Would love to hear how you "covert the images to a pdf" after saving. I too am having the problem, where that is not an option. I'm currently making the flattened images into new power point slides and then saving as a pdf.. but that is A LOT of work. Please let us know?!

    ReplyDelete

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