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Wed, Apr 22, 2020 4:44 pm

Disabling the execution of JavaScript in Foxit Reader

If you are concerned about malicious JavaScript being hidden inside a PDF file, you can upload the file to Google's VirusTotal site which will scan the file with many antimalware programs. The scan results will show if any of the dozens of antivirus programs the site uses in its scans have detected malware in the file. However, for additional security, you may want to know if the file contains code that will automatically be executed when you open the file in a PDF viewer or if it contains embedded JavaScript. The VirusTotal site will provide that information. For PDF files, you will see "pdf" displayed in a gray oval underneath the file that was scanned. If there is code within the PDF file that will automatically be executed when you open the file, next to that oval will be another one with "autoaction" in it. Embedded JavaScript is denoted by an oval with "js-embedded" within it. Just because you see "autoaction" or "js-embedded" doesn't mean the JavaScript is malicious, but if you want to ensure any malicious JavaScript isn't executed, if you are using the Foxit Reader program to view PDF files, you can disable its execution of JavaScript.

To disable the execution of JavaScript in Foxit Reader Version, take the following steps:

  1. From the menu at the top of the Foxit Reader window, click on Tools and select Preferences.
  2. Click on JavaScript on the left side of the Preferences window that will open and then uncheck the check box for "Enable JavaScript Actions."

    Foxit Reader - disabling JavaScript

Also click on Trust Manager from the Prferences menu and make sure that the "Enable Safe Reading Mode" check box is checked. In the description of that setting, you will see "Foxit recommends that you check this option for controlling unauthorized actions and data transmissions; including URL connections, launching external files and running JavaScript functions to efficiently avoid attacks from malicious documents."

Foxit Reader - disabling JavaScript

[/os/windows/software/pdf/Foxit] permanent link

Sat, Jun 11, 2016 10:59 pm

FreePDF Printer Driver

Microsoft Windows versions prior to version 10 don't come with a built-in printer driver to create Portable Document Format (PDF) files from any application. You can find many free PDF printer driver programs on the Internet for Microsoft Windows systems, but you need to be very careful when installing many of them, since they come bundled with adware, though, if you choose a custom installion when installing the software, you may be able to avoid the adware being installed along with the software you want. E.g., the February 8, 2014 article Controversial Advertising Program Now Being Embedded in More Software mentions that PrimoPDF, which I've used in the past, is bundled with OpenCandy, adware software that many antivirus programs will flag. If you are careful during the installation, you should be able to avoid having any OpenCandy software installed as well as the PDF printer driver, though. PrimoPDF is not the only printer driver utility for Microsoft Windows systems that comes bundled with adware, though. The August 20, 2014 article by Justin Pot titled 7 Best Tools To Print To PDF lists other tools that will allow you to print to PDF from any application on a Microsoft Windows system that also come with adware, aka "crapware", e.g. CutePDF, which I've also used previously. Again, if you are careful during installation, you should be able to avoid installing the other sofware, though.

If you would like to avoid having to worry about inadvertently installing adware with such a tool, though, Stefan Heinz offers a free program, FreePDF, which I've used on a Microsoft Windows 8 system, that provides a printer driver that will allow you to print from any application run under Microsoft Windows to a PDF file. Unlike much of the other free PDF printer driver software, you don't need to worry about adware being installed with the software. The developer states at What is FreePDF:

Freepdf.exe really is free - no hidden costs and no advertising. No spyware, no automatic updates. Simply because I also do not like this in other "freeware".

[ More Info ]

[/os/windows/software/pdf] permanent link

Sun, Apr 03, 2016 8:47 pm

Sending an Email from Adobe Acrobat DC using Thunderbird

Yesterday, someone reported to me that she was unable to send a document she had scanned from within Adobe Acrobat using Thunderbird, which is the email client she uses on her Microsoft Windows 10 desktop system. She said she had contacted Adobe support and followed the instructions given to her by the support person, but those instructions had not resolved the problem and she still could not send email from within Adobe Acrobat. I found the problem was due to Acrobat attempting to use the default mail application on the system, which was Microsoft Outlook, which she didn't use, so was likely not even configured for an email account. After I made Thunderbird the default mail application on her system, she was able to send a file she had open in Acrobat via email from within Adobe Acrobat using Thunderbird.

[ More Info ]

[/os/windows/software/pdf/acrobat] permanent link

Sun, Mar 01, 2015 9:56 pm

Adobe Acrobat - Import trusted certificates from prior version

When I upgraded Adobe Reader on a user's Microsoft Windows 7 system from version X (10.1.12) to XI (11.0.10), I saw an Adobe Reader Security window open with the following prompt when I started Adobe Reader 11 from the administrator account after upgrading the software:

Trusted certificates from your previous version of Adobe Reader were found. Would you like to import them?

Any certificates that are not imported in this step will not be available in this version of Adobe Reader.

Adobe Reader - Import previous trusted certificates?

At Security (Digital Signatures), I found the following explanation in the Addressbook Import section:

The address book stores data for certificates used in digital signature and certificate encryption workflows. During a major upgrade (e.g. 10.x to 11.x), the product looks for existing address books on each user machine. Prior to install, you should decide whether to deploy a generic, enterprise address book or let the existing address book on each machine be imported into the new product. By default, when end users first launch the product, the application prompts them to import any discovered address book. The application looks for existing addressbooks from previous product versions by searching directories in this order.

I checked to see if any of the files existed from prior versions for the administrator account, but didn't see any.

C:\>echo %APPDATA%

C:\>dir %APPDATA%\Adobe\Acrobat\11.0\addressbook.acrodata
 Volume in drive C is OS
 Volume Serial Number is 4445-F6ED

 Directory of C:\Users\Administrator\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Acrobat\11.0

File Not Found

C:\>dir %APPDATA%\Adobe\Acrobat\10.0\addressbook.acrodata
 Volume in drive C is OS
 Volume Serial Number is 4445-F6ED

 Directory of C:\Users\Administrator\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Acrobat\10.0

File Not Found

C:\>dir %APPDATA%\Adobe\Acrobat\9.0\addressbook.acrodata
The system cannot find the file specified.


I didn't see any for the administrator's account, so then checked the user's account, but did not see any there, either.

C:\>dir \Users\Pamela\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Acrobat\9.0\addressbook.acrodata
 Volume in drive C is OS
 Volume Serial Number is 4445-F6ED

 Directory of C:\Users\Pamela\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Acrobat\9.0

File Not Found

C:\>dir \Users\Pamela\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Acrobat\10.0\addressbook.acrodata
 Volume in drive C is OS
 Volume Serial Number is 4445-F6ED

 Directory of C:\Users\Pamela\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Acrobat\10.0

File Not Found

C:\>dir \Users\Pamela\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Acrobat\11.0\addressbook.acrodata
The system cannot find the file specified.


Since the system had Adobe Acrobat 9.0 on it for creating PDF files as well as now having Adobe Reader 11.0, I checked the last directory in the list of possible locations as well, but didn't see anything there, either.

C:\>dir "c:\program files (x86)\Adobe\Acrobat 9.0\Acrobat\Replicate"
 Volume in drive C is OS
 Volume Serial Number is 4445-F6ED

 Directory of c:\program files (x86)\Adobe\Acrobat 9.0\Acrobat

File Not Found


So it seems the prompt may appear even if there are no prior certificates to import. I clicked on the Import button anyway, though.

[/os/windows/software/pdf/acrobat] permanent link

Wed, Dec 12, 2012 10:24 pm

Configure Presets for Scanning With Adobe Acrobat X

If you have a scanner attached to your system, Acrobat X Standard1x1 px provides the capability to scan documents directly into PDF files. To do so, take the following steps:
  1. Open Adobe Acrobat.
  2. Click on File.
  3. Select Create.
  4. Select PDF from Scanner.
  5. You can then choose whether you want to scan in color or black and white or have the software "Autodetect Color Mode".

Acrobat Custom Scan

Acrobat has some preset configurations from which you can choose. The choices available to you are as follows:

If you wish to adjust the settings for any of those preset scan configuration optsions for certain scans you perform regularly, follow the above steps, but instead of picking the color mode at the last step above, choose Configure Presets.

That will open a Configure Presets window where you can adjust settings for a particular color mode choice. You can change the resolution, the quality of scanned images (higher quality equates to larger file size), whether you are prompted for scanning more pages into one PDF document, etc. E.g., if you wanted to have 300 DPI, the highest available image quality, have Acrobat prompt you for scanning more pages, but not run Optical Character Recognition (OCR), you would select settings as shown below:

Acrobat Custom Scan

When you have adjusted the settings appropriately, click on Save and then Close.


  1. Scan a paper document to PDF
    Date: February 3, 2012

[/os/windows/software/pdf/acrobat] permanent link

Wed, Dec 12, 2012 10:15 pm

Dealing with the bad parameter message when attempting to scan with Acrobat

When I attempted to use Acrobat X Standard1x1 px to scan a document from an HP LaserJet 3052 scanner, I received a "bad parameter" error message. I've posted the steps here for dealing with the issue.

I needed to use the Adobe Acrobat X software for scanning rather than the Windows® Fax and Scan utility that came with Microsoft Windows 7 because that software doesn't provide the capability to scan multiple pages into one file nor even provide the capability to save the scanned image to a PDF file. It also doesn't allow one to create presets where you select a preset configuration, e.g., color and 200 dpi, for certain documents you may scan regularly, whereas Adobe Acrobat X does provide that capability.

I was able to scan documents using Adobe Acrobat X and the HP LaserJet 3052 printer/scanner/copier, however, unlike with the Windows® Fax and Scan utility, they always looked garbled when scanned on the Windows 7 system.

[/os/windows/software/pdf/acrobat] permanent link

Mon, Aug 11, 2008 6:33 pm

Password Protecting a PDF File in Adobe Acrobat

Acrobat supports public/private key encryption, but if you don't have a security certificate for another party to whom you are going to provide the encrypted document, then you need to use the "shared secret", i.e. password, approach for encrypting a PDF file where you specify a password for the document and give that password to the other party by some means other than email, e.g. by phone.

You can use the method outlined by Adobe in Set passwords for PDFs to password protect PDF files that you will then email to others.

The article mentions that PDF documents can have two types of passwords:

  1. User, aka "document open", password
  2. Pemissions, aka "master", password, which provides access controls for the PDF document

To keep unauthorized individuals from viewing a PDF file, employ a "user" password. The other type of password, which you might also want to use in some cases, controls what recipients can do with a document.

Note: there are low-cost tools readily available online to remove that type of password from a PDF file. There are also low-cost programs readily available to defeat the first type of password unless you pick a strong password, i.e. one that is not a dictionary word, car name, sports team, person's name, etc. There are plenty of password dictionaries available to allow people to crack weak passwords. Any password protection scheme is virtually worthless, if someone picks a weak password. A strong password should have at least 8 characters with a combination of characters from at least 3 character sets. Character sets include those below:

  1. Upper case letters
  2. Lower case letters
  3. Numbers
  4. Special characters, such as "!", "-", "_", "$", etc.

Open the file you want to protect in Adobe Acrobat and follow the instructions below for encrypting and password protecting the file.

  1. Click the secure button in the Tasks toolbar and choose Password Encrypt.
  2. Click on Yes when prompted "Are you sure you want to change the security on this document?" If necessary, type the Permissions password that lets you change security settings. If you don't know the password, contact the author of the PDF file.
  3. In the Password Security - Settings dialog box set the security options as desired. For the Compatibility setting, "Acrobat 5.0 or later" is the default option. That will provde 128-bit RC4 encryption. Selecting "Acrobat 3.0 or later", instead, will mean that users of older versions of Acrobat will be able to open the file, if they know the password, but I would strongly advise against choosing that option, if you need to guarantee that only someone who has been given the password can open it. If that option is selected, a 40-bit encryption scheme is used instead of 128-bit encryption. Even with a strong password, if you use 40-bit encryption, there are plenty of low-cost programs available online for anyone to easily break the password protection. With 128-bit protection, you can be confident that the protection will likely remain unbreakable for years to come (eventually increases in computing speeds, or the development of quantum computers, will likely render even that level of encryption breakable).
  4. Specify a password, click OK and then OK again.
  5. Save the file

Note: these instructions were written specifically for Adobe Acrobat 8 Standard edition, but will likely be similar for other versions.

[/os/windows/software/pdf] permanent link

Wed, Feb 13, 2008 3:41 pm

PrimoPDF Producing Zero Byte Files

I installed PrimoPDF 3.0 on a system. PrimoPDF provides free PDF converter software that will allow you to "print" documents to a PDF file. After installing the software, I could print to PDF files without a problem from the administrator account from which I installed the software, but when I printed to a PDF file using the PrimoPDF "printer", I would receive the error message below:

Adobe Reader
Adobe Reader could not open 'http.pdf' because it is either not a supported file
type or because the file has been damaged (for example, it was sent as an
email attachment and wan't correctly decoded).


When I checked the PDF files produced by PrimoPDF, I found they were always zero bytes in size. When the files were being produced I would hear an error beep.

An Error after converting posting at the PrimoPDF Forums, suggested giving the Users group on the system full control of the directory into which PrimoPDF is installed.

From the Windows Explorer, I right-clicked on the directory under Program Files into which I had installed PrimoPDF and chose Properties. I saw that the Users group had only read access, i.e. only the read & execute, list folder contents, and read permissions were granted to the Users group for that folder.

Note: you can use the cacls command to check permission from the command line, e.g. cacls "\program files\primopdf", if the installation directory was \program files\primopdf. You will see BUILTIN\Users:(OI)(CI)R. The R at the end indicates that the Users group on the system, to which all normal user accounts belong, has only read access to that directory.

If you are logged into an account that is a member of the Administrators group on the system, you can right-click on the directory and choose Properties to reset the security permissions. Click on the Security tab, then select the Users group under "group or user names", then grant Full Control.

Since I was logged into a normal user account at the time I encountered the problem and had a lot of windows open and didn't want to have to close all of them, logoff, logon as an administrator, logoff, logon to my user account again, and then reopen all of the applications and files I previously had open, I used the cacls command to reset the permissions. To use that method, you need to take the following steps, if you are currently logged into an unprivileged user account.

  1. Open a command prompt window as the Administrator. On Windows XP systems, you can do so by going to C:\WINDOWS\system32\ and right-clicking on cmd.exe while holding down the shift key (if you don't hold down the shift key at the same time, you won't see the "run as" option). Then select Run as. Click on The following user and put in Administrator, or some other account with administrator access, for the user name, and enter the appropriate password. Then hit Enter or click on OK. A command prompt window will open with Administrator credentials.
  2. Enter the command cacls "\program files\primopdf" /E /G Users:F to give all users of the system full control of the directory where you installed PrimoPDF, presuming that you installed it in \program files\primopdf. Granting full control of the directory means they can add or delete files in that directory. The Users group will still only have "read" access to the dll and exe files in the directory, though. The /E means "edit the existing Access Control List (ACL) rather than creating a new one and the /G grants access for the account or accounts specified as a parameter. The F at the end grants "full" access. You can enter cacls /? for help with the cacls command. You will see something like "processed dir: C:\program files\PrimoPDF", if the command is successfully executed.

[/os/windows/software/pdf] permanent link

Thu, Aug 30, 2007 10:11 pm

Print Last Page First in Adobe Acrobat

To reverse page printing order, i.e. to print the last page of a document first, in Adobe Acrobat 6.0, take the following steps:
  1. Click on File.
  2. Select Print.
  3. Check Reverse pages.
  4. Acrobat reverse print option

  5. Click on OK.


  1. Options in the Print dialog box
    Adobe Systems Incorporated

[/os/windows/software/pdf] permanent link

Thu, Nov 30, 2006 12:30 am

Printing Problem for Excel Workbooks with Multiple Worksheets Using Acrobat

If you are experiencing problems printing all of the worksheets in a Microsoft Excel workbook to one PDF file using Adobe Acrobat, the problem is likely caused by a variation in the "print quality" setting for the worksheets in the Excel workbook.

You can verify this is the source of the problem by clicking "File", then selecting "Page Setup" in Excel. With the "Page" tab selected, you will see the "Print Quality" setting for the currently selected worksheet. Let's say it is "300 dpi". But if you select the second worksheet titled "Page 2", when you take the same steps to view the print quality setting and don't see the print quality specified or it is different, then the variation in print quality settings is the source of the problem.

When the print quality settings vary between worksheets in the workbook, Adobe Acrobat will attempt to create multiple PDF files, one for each worksheet in the workbook, which is why it will prompt you multiple times for a file name. If you enter different filenames at each prompt, it will put each worksheet in a separate file.

To rectify the problem, make the print quality settings the same for each worksheet. In the case above, you could specify a print quality setting of 300 dpi for the "Page 2" worksheet as well.

You can change the print quality settings one by one for each worksheet in the workbook or you can select all of the worksheets at once by holding down the Ctrl key while clicking on the tabs at the bottom of the Excel window for the other worksheets one by one to select all of them, if you are working on a Windows system (you would use the Shift key on an Apple system). When all the worksheets are selected, you can release the Ctrl key then click on "File" and "Page Setup" to specify the print quality settings for all of the worksheets at once.

The minimum dpi for a laser printer is normally 300 dpi and is probably adquate for most spreadsheets you will print. Adobe uses 600 dpi as the default setting for Adobe Acrobat and Distiller and recommends that setting, but you can make the setting whatever you like. The output you will get when printing will depend on whether the printer selected can actually support the dpi value you've selected, though.

Once, you have set the print quality settings to be the same for all worksheets, take the following steps to print the workbook.

  1. Click on "File".
  2. Select "Print".
  3. Select "Adobe PDF" as the printer.
  4. In the "Print what" section, select "Entire workbook".

You should now have one PDF file containing all of the worksheets.


  1. More than one PDF file is created from an Excel workbook (Acrobat 5.0-6.x on Windows or Mac OS)
    Adobe Systems Incorporated

[/os/windows/software/pdf] permanent link

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