Document Permissions

The PDF specification defines a series of flags that can be set on a document to determine what a user can do with a document. These permissions are represented as a bitmask at the PDF level. When a permission bit is not present at its defined position, the permission is considered not granted.

PSPDFKit honors the permissions set on a document and enables or disables certain platform features based on the permission configuration. For instance, if a PDF that does not explicitly define the printing permission as loaded, PSPDFKit won’t enable the printing option in the UI.

PDF permissions are defined below. By default, most documents will have all features enabled.

  • Printing: Print the document.
  • High-Quality Printing: Print the document in high fidelity.
  • Copying Content: Copy or otherwise extract text and graphics from the document.
  • Document Assembling: Insert, rotate, or delete pages and create document outline items or thumbnail images.
  • Editing Annotations and Forms: Add or modify text annotations and fill in interactive form fields.
  • Filling Forms: Fill in existing interactive form fields (including signature fields).
  • Modifying Content: Any other modifications not covered by previous permission flags.

PSPDFKit has support for the above permissions on a per-platform basis. This is ongoing work, and support for more permissions is being worked on to reach feature parity across platforms. PDFs have distinct user and owner passwords, and document permissions are only enforced when the PDF is unlocked with the user password. For this reason, we recommend separate passwords for both types of passwords.

On Android, the document permissions are defined in the DocumentPermissions enumeration.

Below you can find a detailed breakdown of the permissions that can be set in a document.

Printing and High-Quality Printing

These permissions are defined by the PRINTING and PRINT_HIGH_QUALITY flags, respectively.

Text Extraction

When this permission is not given, users are not allowed to copy text out of the document, and the related UI elements will be disabled. However, text selection will still be available. This permission is defined by the EXTRACT flag.

Document Assembling

This permission is defined by the ASSEMBLE flag, but currently it is not honored by PSPDFKit for Android.

Forms and Annotations

PSPDFKit for Android will allow users to fill in forms whenever the ANNOTATIONS_AND_FORMS or the FILL_FORM flag is set.

When this permission is not given, users are not allowed to fill forms, and the related UI elements will be disabled.

Content Modification

This is defined by the MODIFICATION flag. This flag is currently not honored by PSPDFKit for Android.

Getting and Setting Permissions

Modifying a document’s permissions requires PSPDFKit to be instantiated with a license that includes the Document Editor component.

It’s worth noting that if you wish to modify the default document permissions with PSPDFKit, you’ll be required to protect the document with a password.

You can retrieve the current permissions of a document via the getPermissions() method defined in the PdfDocument class. This class also defines a method, hasPermission(DocumentPermission), which validates if the document has a specific permission set.

Document permissions can be set by defining the appropriate flags on the DocumentSaveOptions object used to save an existing document:

val saveOptions = document.getDefaultDocumentSaveOptions()
saveOptions.setPermissions(EnumSet.of(DocumentPermissions.ANNOTATIONS_AND_FORMS)), saveOptions)
DocumentSaveOptions saveOptions = document.getDefaultDocumentSaveOptions();
saveOptions.setPermissions(EnumSet.of(DocumentPermissions.ANNOTATIONS_AND_FORMS)), saveOptions)

Currently, PSPDFKit for Android does not offer a UI from which a user can modify the document permissions.