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How to watermark your PDF to make it more secure

Watermarks can be a great way to deter leaks, but if one happens, you can easily trace the source.
watermark pdf

Working at any company means you’re going to be sharing sensitive files and documents, both with people you work with and people outside of your organization. Just sending a PDF via email isn’t enough to ensure your document is secure. One of the things you can do to protect the information you’re sending is to add a watermark to your PDF.

What is a watermark?

A watermark is a semi-transparent mark on a document or photo. There are several types of watermarks. You can add one that’s an actual copyright watermark, like something you’d see on a professional photograph. You can also create a watermark that’s unique to the individual who’s receiving the document. These watermarks can include anything from a company name, a unique ID number, or even the recipient’s name and email address. 

These types of watermarks are used on everything from passports to movie scripts to help deter people from sharing or copying the document or photo. 

Why you need a watermark

Watermarks can be a great way to prevent counterfeiting, and they can easily deter viewers from sharing your sensitive documents—especially if you use one that includes some identifying information about the receiver. That way, if your documents end up in the wrong hands, you can always trace them back to where they came from. 

You can use a watermark on anything from legal documents to contracts to documents containing important intellectual property. Adding one is fast and easy, so if you’re concerned about your documents leaking, a watermark can easily add a layer of security. 

How do you add a watermark to a PDF?

If you’re using a program like Adobe Acrobat, you can use their built-in watermarking feature. For most documents, you’re going to want to choose a text watermark. Once you’ve selected text, you can create the watermark for that PDF. 

If you don’t have Adobe, there are several third-party tools that allow you to add a watermark to a PDF after you’ve created it. Many of these tools are free or cost just a few dollars. If you just need to add a watermark to a single document, a free tool may be your best option. 

Adding more security

If potential document leaks and security are a primary concern, you may want to take things a step further than just a watermark. While watermarking can help you trace the source of a leak, there are things you can do to help prevent that leak all together. 

With DocSend’s link-based sharing, everyone you share a document or file with gets a unique link. This lets you see exactly who’s looking at your documents, when, and what they’re doing with them. You can allow users to download your content, or you can disable downloading so they can only view on the DocSend platform (viewers don’t need an account, so don’t worry about forcing people to sign up for another piece of software). 

We will also notify you if anyone has forwarded your files and documents, and you’ll get an alert if someone is trying to access your file without permission. DocSend can also help you lock down your document even more by requiring email verification and/or a passcode to your document, and of course, you can add a watermark. 

We have security settings for everything— you can allow a whole company to have access to a document (whitelisting), or you can restrict access to just a few people. If you have sensitive information you don’t want to get out, you’ll want to take all the steps you can to keep it secure. 

You can sign up for a free trial of DocSend now to test our security features. Don’t send another sensitive PDF without knowing who’s opening it and what they’re doing with it.