Prevent printing of certain files


Distinguished Member
I have some files at a server but i don't mind people reading it. but don't want them printing it - is this possible at all?

Also if possible i wouldn't want the files to be emailed out.
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Distinguished Member
Depending on the type of document/file we are talking about. Some of them have been in stuff that allows you to do this, ie, no print, no copying/pasting that kind of stuff.


Well-known Member
There isn't a reliable way to stop printing I'm afraid - if it is displayed on a users screen then they will always have a way of getting a hard copy. You don't say what the documents are but if you can convert them to pdfs you can set various different locks to stop people printing, amending or saving etc. Even this can be defeated with the right knowledge though.


Well-known Member
Well as stated you can use something like PDFs and prevent copy/paste and printing but don't forget to disable the clipboard/screen capture through policy if you are running Windows. I think in more recent versions of Office you can set similar controls. In any case even if this was allowed by disabling removable devices/media and with appropriate logging you should have a good audit trail of who has been printing, accessing, modifying and copying data. Local printers, removeable media and local admin rights are not such a good idea here.

To be honest through the best way is to use some kind of thin client technology such as Terminal Services or Citrix. This will allow you the restrictions you want and will also give you extra flexibilty around document control/data handling. Only you can decide if the added cost and complexity is worth it given the data assets you are trying to restrict.

This still does not stop people with a pen and paper but complex and/or long documents with diagrams, tables and so on will make this very difficult. As will time and visibility - Someone will probably get noticed if they spend 10 hours in an open environment copying into a stack of notebooks.

I can think of a few other ways to do this but my personal preference and experience favours the Citrix/TS approach.

Oh and before I forget don't underestimate the perils of cameras and in particular phones with built-in cameras. Having a phone/camera free policy and camera detectors is always wise in an environment aimed at preventing unauthorised data leakage. Some screens can prevent pictures being taken but I have never even seen one of these let alone used one. From what I can gather they are incredibly expensive too.


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Distinguished Member
You can change them into PDFs and you can then prevent printing of the individual documents.

The only problem is that you need to use full Adobe Acrobat to access the admin of the document rather than something like CutePDF. So it's not a free application, but you do only need one copy.

You can download a free 30 day trial to see if it does what you want.



Sniper Ash6

Distinguished Member
As well as people just hitting print screen and dumping it in word or something and printing that off

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