Don't forward my pdf! How to prevent smn from forwarding PDF? (FREE)

This guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to prevent your pdf file forwarding by other people you share it with

Quick list of methods to prevent PDF forwarding

To prevent the unauthorized forwarding and sharing of PDF documents, it's crucial to implement certain security measures. Here's a quick list of methods to prevent PDF forwarding, followed by a detailed explanation of each:

  1. Password Protection
  2. Encryption
  3. Create Allow/Block Lists of Viewers
  4. Watermarking
  5. Convert PDF to Image
  6. Share as protected link
  7. Digital Rights Management (DRM)
  8. Use Secure Sharing Platforms

1. Password Protection

One of the simplest ways to secure a PDF is by adding a password. This method restricts access to the document, ensuring that only individuals with the password can open and view the PDF. Tools like Adobe Acrobat and various online services allow you to easily add a password to your PDF files. Remember, while password protection can deter unauthorized access, it doesn't prevent forwarding.

Password Protected page

Add password to your PDF


Encryption offers a higher level of security by encoding the document's content. Even if someone manages to forward the PDF, without the proper decryption key, the content remains inaccessible and unreadable. Encryption can be applied using PDF editing software or specialized encryption tools. This method is particularly effective for sensitive or confidential information.

3. Allow/Block Lists of Viewers

This method involves specifying who is allowed or blocked from accessing your PDF document. By creating a list of authorized viewers, you can control access at a very granular level, ensuring that only designated individuals can view the document. This can be particularly useful in corporate environments where document access needs to be tightly controlled.

4. Watermarking

Watermarking doesn't prevent forwarding, but it can deter unauthorized sharing by embedding a visible or invisible mark in the document. This mark can be a logo, text, or other identifiers that indicate the document's origin or the intended recipient. If the PDF is forwarded without permission, the watermark helps trace the source of the leak. Watermarking can be done using PDF editing tools or specialized watermarking software.

5. Convert PDF to Image

Converting a PDF document into an image format (e.g., JPEG or PNG) makes it more difficult to extract and edit the content. While this method doesn't stop forwarding, it adds a layer of inconvenience for those looking to use or share the document's information improperly. Various online tools and software can convert PDFs to image files while preserving the original layout.

Instead of sending the actual PDF file, you can upload the document to a secure cloud storage service and share it as a link. This method allows you to maintain control over the document, as you can track who accesses the link and even set expiration dates or revoke access at any time.

Document analytics

7. Digital Rights Management (DRM)

DRM is a technology that controls what users can do with digital content. When applied to PDFs, DRM can restrict actions such as printing, editing, copying, and yes, forwarding. This method involves setting up access rights and permissions for each user or group, making it a robust solution for preventing unauthorized distribution. DRM solutions can be found in software like Adobe Digital Editions and other third-party providers.

8. Use Secure Sharing Platforms

Instead of sending PDFs directly, consider using secure document sharing platforms. These platforms offer controlled access to documents, allowing you to track who views the PDF and restrict forwarding. Some platforms even allow you to revoke access to a document after it's been shared. This method is ideal for businesses and individuals who frequently share sensitive documents.

By implementing one or more of these methods, you can significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized PDF forwarding and ensure that your documents remain secure.

  1. Require email to view
  2. Enable screenshot protection
  3. Expiration Date
  4. Not allow downloading
  5. Require email to view
  6. Receive email notification

All Papermark link setting

By combining these methods, you can significantly enhance the security of your PDF documents and control how they are distributed and accessed, protecting them from being forwarded.

Sharing your PDF as a link rather than as an attachment offers several benefits:

  • Controlled Access: You can control who accesses your document and change permissions or revoke access as needed.
  • Tracking: Most platforms that allow you to share links also provide analytics on who accessed the document and when.
  • Reduced Risk of Leakage: Since the document is not directly forwarded, there's a lower risk of unauthorized sharing.
  • Updates in Real Time: Any changes or updates to the document are immediately available to all viewers without the need to resend or redistribute the PDF.
  • Cost-Effective: Sharing via a link can be more cost-effective, especially for large files, as it saves on storage and bandwidth.

Step-by-step guide to protect your PDFs from being forwarded

Step 1: Upload Your PDF to Papermark

The first step is to upload your PDF document to Once uploaded, the platform will generate a unique link for sharing. This link is the gateway to your document and the starting point for applying security measures.

Papermark document uploader

Papermark provides an "Edit link" settings page that allows you to customize the sharing options for your document. Here are the features you can use to protect your PDF from being forwarded:

Main Papermark link settings 22

Require Email to View

By toggling on the "Require email to view" option, you ensure that only users with a verified email address can access the document. This adds a layer of authentication and makes it more difficult for unauthorized users to gain access.

Email Notifications

Enabling "Receive email notification" allows you to receive alerts whenever someone accesses your document. This helps you monitor access and identify any unauthorized sharing.

Disable Downloading

You can prevent recipients from downloading the PDF by disabling the "Allow downloading" option. This means they can only view the document online, reducing the risk of it being forwarded or shared without permission.

Set an Expiration Date

Setting an expiration date for the shared link ensures that the document becomes inaccessible after a certain period. This is useful for time-sensitive documents.

Under the "Advanced Link Access Options," you can further secure your document by:

  • Requiring email verification for an additional security check.
  • Allowing access only to specified viewers by listing their email addresses.
  • Blocking access to specified viewers by adding their email addresses to a block list.
  • Requiring a password to view the document, adding another layer of security.
  • Enabling screenshot protection to prevent the content from being captured and shared.

Once you have configured the settings to your satisfaction, share the secure link with your intended recipients. You can do this via email or any other secure communication channel.

Step 4: Track engagement and analytics

Papermark document analytics offers comprehensive tracking and analytics, allowing you to see:

  • How long viewers spend on your document.
  • Viewer activity, such as attempts to download or forward the document.
  • Specific email addresses that have accessed your document, if shared with a known list.
  • Viewer feedback or reactions left directly on the document.

Step 5: Follow up and adjust as needed

Based on the analytics and feedback, you can follow up with viewers, revoke access if necessary, and make real-time adjustments to your document or sharing settings.

Additional security measures

While provides robust security features, it's also important to consider additional measures:

  • Educate your recipients about the confidentiality of the document.
  • Use digital signatures to verify the identity of the sender and recipients.
  • Keep your PDF content up to date and replace the shared link with updated versions as needed.

Conclusion, on how to prevent PDF forwarding

Preventing someone from forwarding a PDF requires a combination of the right tools and best practices. offers a comprehensive solution for securing your documents, controlling access, and tracking engagement. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can share your PDFs with confidence, knowing that you have taken the necessary precautions to protect your information from unauthorized forwarding.

By using Papermarkfeatures, you can maintain control over your shared PDFs, gain valuable insights into how your documents are being used, and ensure that your sensitive information remains secure. Whether you're sharing business plans, financial reports, or any other confidential documents,'s document sharing and analytics platform is an essential tool in your security arsenal.