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User avatar
By joelsdg
#312432
Hello
We have only recently discovered that using Publisher to create a PDF file is somehow protected by a password. Please see the attachment for the PDF Options we are using (or not using).
Certain contractors that receive our PDF attempt to use the PDF in their Plangrid (from Autodesk) application are confronted with a prompt asking for a password. As you can see from the attachment, that we do not select password protection for the file.

Perhaps this is a Plangrid problem, and I'm not trying to troubleshoot that application. What I'm confused by is that when I view the file information for the PDF we created using macOS Catalina (see second attachment) there at the "Security" line, it mentions it's "Password Encrypted".

We have discovered that if we check the box in PDF Options for "Allow to explode or copy contents", then the file no longer prompts for the password and the macOS Catalina file Security is changed to "none".
It is our preference to leave the box for "allow to explode or copy contents" unchecked to keep some control over our IP, however limited. At least it would make it slightly harder to copy/paste our designs.

Simply put, why does the PDF file have password protection that we never enabled?

Does anyone have any information that might help explain this?

Thanks,

Joel M. Smith, Architect
Attachments
PDF Options.png
PDF Options selected in Publisher
PDF Options.png (44.46 KiB) Viewed 185 times
PDF Finder Info.png
macOS Catalina File Information
#312436
The "Allow to explode or copy contents" avoids someone writing or taking things from the pdf. I don´t know Plangrid, but from the looks of it it´s similar to Bluebeam Revu, and the app needs to write to the pdf to make marks, etc. You must leave your pdf "completely open" as far as I know to be able to do it.

The password protection option asks for the password to even open the document, so they cannot even see it without the code. It´s a different option.

I think this is the way this works, but I maybe wrong as I don´t usually use any protection options as it only difficults the use of the files, and they can copied, modified, etc anyway if the other user really wants to.
User avatar
By mnguyen
#312560
Hi Joel,

Thank you for your question and I am sorry about the issue!

I'm not sure about how Plangrid works, but from my knowledge, here is how the PDF encryption works in ARCHICAD:

"There are some settings in the PDF Options dialog related to security.

- You can save a PDF from ARCHICAD with user password (you choose and enter the password). In this case the PDF cannot be opened without the password.

- Starting from ARCHICAD 22 you can uncheck one or more of the three checkboxes to refuse some user actions on PDF: annotating or modifying, copy content, printing. This is another password, which is called owner password or master password. To simplify user interface, this is not requested from the user but we set one which is complicated enough, but only when it is needed (if any of the "Allow..." checkboxes is unchecked)."


This password is hard-coded, therefore, we do not know what it is :(

I hope that will answer your question. If there is anything unclear, feel free to ask me again!

Thank you very much!

Best regards,
Minh
User avatar
By joelsdg
#312620
Jp1138, thank you. I have come to realize that you are correct, sadly. In order for our PDFs to work with Bluebeam and Plangrid (in a manner our contractors use those apps), we have to release fully editable PDFs.

Minh,
I am a bit confused by your answer. How can an option for security create a password that is unknowable? Why is this a 'feature'? It seems to be a bug, in my opinion.
Our firm may be late to the party on this type of project distribution, but we have used it exactly twice and gotten this same result two times because our contractors use the same software. Since this is the case, I assume both Plangrid and Bluebeam are fairly ubiquitous in the industry (at least in the USA). But you seem to be telling me that these industry-standard apps can't play well with ArchiCAD's PDF generator. Why is this? It appears that our only option is to release a fully-editable PDF, or one that our consultants can't properly use.

Am I missing something here?

I look forward to discussing this further,

Joel
User avatar
By mnguyen
#312653
Jp1138 wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 9:29 am
The "Allow to explode or copy contents" avoids someone writing or taking things from the pdf. I don´t know Plangrid, but from the looks of it it´s similar to Bluebeam Revu, and the app needs to write to the pdf to make marks, etc. You must leave your pdf "completely open" as far as I know to be able to do it.

The password protection option asks for the password to even open the document, so they cannot even see it without the code. It´s a different option.

I think this is the way this works, but I maybe wrong as I don´t usually use any protection options as it only difficults the use of the files, and they can copied, modified, etc anyway if the other user really wants to.
Hi,

Thank you for sharing your experience with Bluebeam!

Strangely, I cannot reproduce this with Bluebeam Revu 2019.1.20, trial version. Even if I uncheck all "Allow..." boxes, Bluebeam still opens the file as other PDF reader. No password is asked upon opening. The only thing that is different is the annotation/modification tools are unusable in Bluebeam.

Unless I specify a password to open the PDF, then Bluebeam will ask for the password upon opening the file.

I don't know if this is the same issue as you mentioned. Let me know how it goes!

Thank you very much!

Best regards,
Minh
Last edited by mnguyen on Wed Jul 01, 2020 7:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By mnguyen
#312654
joelsdg wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:48 pm
Jp1138, thank you. I have come to realize that you are correct, sadly. In order for our PDFs to work with Bluebeam and Plangrid (in a manner our contractors use those apps), we have to release fully editable PDFs.

Minh,
I am a bit confused by your answer. How can an option for security create a password that is unknowable? Why is this a 'feature'? It seems to be a bug, in my opinion.
Our firm may be late to the party on this type of project distribution, but we have used it exactly twice and gotten this same result two times because our contractors use the same software. Since this is the case, I assume both Plangrid and Bluebeam are fairly ubiquitous in the industry (at least in the USA). But you seem to be telling me that these industry-standard apps can't play well with ArchiCAD's PDF generator. Why is this? It appears that our only option is to release a fully-editable PDF, or one that our consultants can't properly use.

Am I missing something here?

I look forward to discussing this further,

Joel
Hi Joel,

Thank you for your concern!

I made an account with Plangrid and test out different scenarios:
- Add a password to open the PDF
- Uncheck one/all of the "Allow to..." boxes

In any scenario, Plangrid fails to add the file, with error messages: Encrypted file, or Error file found. My conclusion is that, Plangrid requires full access to the file when you import it into the program.

According to the PDF Reference written by Adobe:
"Note: Once the document has been opened and decrypted successfully, the application has access to the entire contents of the document. There is nothing inherent in PDF encryption that enforces the document permissions specified in the encryption dictionary. It is up to the implementors of PDF consumer applications to respect the intent of the document creator by restricting user access to an encrypted PDF file according to the permissions contained in the file."

Therefore, in order to remove certain rights, the file must be encrypted to prevent modification or access to the PDF element.

I hope my explanation is clear for you. Regarding Bluebeam situation, please see my comment above. Let me know your opinion regarding this as well!

Best regards,
Minh
User avatar
By Jp1138
#312669
mnguyen wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 7:01 am

Hi,

Thank you for sharing your experience with Bluebeam!

Strangely, I cannot reproduce this with Bluebeam Revu 2019.1.20, trial version. Even if I uncheck all "Allow..." boxes, Bluebeam still opens the file as other PDF reader. No password is asked upon opening. The only thing that is different is the annotation/modification tools are unusable in Bluebeam.

Unless I specify a password to open the PDF, then Bluebeam will ask for the password upon opening the file.

I don't know if this is the same issue as you mentioned. Let me know how it goes!

Thank you very much!

Best regards,
Minh

Sorry for the confusion. What I meant it´s that you cannot edit the pdf if it´s protected, which is a completely normal behaviour in my view. You can open it, of course, but it defeats the purpose of the original question.
joelsdg wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:48 pm
...
I am a bit confused by your answer. How can an option for security create a password that is unknowable? Why is this a 'feature'? It seems to be a bug, in my opinion.

I think that´s the way protecting pdf files from editing works in other programs too. It may be better to be able to select the password, though, as for example Adobe does, just in case you need to give someone permission to a previously created file.