Tips & Tricks

Organizing Your Passwords Using a Secure PDF

February 12, 2004

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Passwords...passwords...passwords.

It seems the Web has gone berserk with denying you access to even browse a site. In some cases, you need to enter a password to appear as a guest. You enter your user ID and password only to find out that the required number of characters exceed the number used for your password of choice.

In some cases, vendors will e-mail you a password after you've registered on their site.

In no time at all you have a bunch of passwords that quickly escape memory. So you reregister on sites and soon have multiple passwords just to access the same site, all of which you soon forget.

Acrobat 5.0 offers you an excellent opportunity to keep all your passwords, software serial numbers and other secure information easily accessible.

You can secure a PDF file containing all your secure information and supply a single password to open the PDF. In this regard, you only need to commit to memory a single password to access all your secure information.

Follow along as I show you some simple means of creating a PDF file for such a purpose.

Create a PDF File

Start by creating a blank page exported to PDF. You can create a document where you may have a number of passwords listed and convert it to PDF. If not, use Microsoft Word or your favorite application to either export to PDF or print to PostScript and distill the PostScript file in Acrobat Distiller.

In this example, I'll use a blank page exported from Adobe Illustrator as PDF.

Open the PDF file and select the TouchUp Text tool from the top level toolbar. Text can be added by creating form fields, but using the TouchUp Text tool will enable you to automatically create URL links for Web sites.

To add a line of text in a PDF document from scratch in Acrobat 5.0, press the Control key (Windows) or Option key (Macintosh) and click the mouse button.

Acrobat 5.0 enables you to create a raw line of text by using a modifier key and the TouchUp Text tool.

Add Text for a URL Link

For passwords needed when accessing Web sites, enter the Web address URL at the beginning of the line of text. Be certain to use the complete URL address beginning with http://.

Start typing and enter your user ID and password. If the text block needs to be relocated on the page, select the TouchUp Object tool and drag to position.

Create a Web Link

When the URL is properly entered, you can use Acrobat's Create web links from URLs in text to automatically create a link to the site you supplied with the TouchUp Text tool.

Select Tools -> Local Web Addresses -> Create web links from URLs in text. Your new line of text and Web link will appear on the page. Add additional sites, URL links and passwords to the file with the TouchUp Text tool.

Open the Document Security Dialog Box

To add security to your PDF file, select File -> Document Security. The Document Security dialog box will open. In this dialog box, select Acrobat Standard Security from the pull down menu as shown left.

Secure the PDF

When the Acrobat Standard Security menu option is selected from the pull down menu in the Document Security dialog box, the Standard Security dialog box will open as shown left.

Click on Password Required to Open Document. Enter a password for the User Password field box. This password should be one you can easily remember. Save the PDF and the document can only be opened when your password is supplied.

This PDF can be carried to the office, home, travel, etc. on a Zip disk or floppy disk. Every time you need access to many different sites, open the PDF file and you have all your user IDs and passwords in front of you.

In addition to passwords, try cataloging all your software serial numbers and other information that requires security. They'll all be easily accessible with Acrobat 5.0.

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