Is it possible to restrict download and print of PDF files in SharePoint online?

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Occasional Contributor

Hi,

 

I have selected the view only permission level in SharePoint. This allows me to restrict downloads for MS office documents only. However, I want to be able to restrict download and print of PDF files.

Is there a way to do this or is it a limitation?

 

Thank You

8 Replies
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Hi, this is a known issue/limitation:

 

"Any document that has a server-side file handler can be viewed in the browser but not downloaded. File types that do not have a server-side file handler (cannot be opened in the browser), such as video files, .pdf files, and .png files, can still be downloaded."

 

So it is working the way it is intended, unfortunately. 

 

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-gb/sharepoint/understanding-permission-levels#default-permission-level...

 

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Hi,
maybe you want to take a look at Azure Information Protection :
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/compliance/protect-sharepoint-online-files-with-azure...
PDF is also supported.

best regards
Michael
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Yep,
Best you can do here is to take a lool to AIP, Sensitivity Labels and also Contional Access
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Hello@SunilK90 

 

As per my expierence, yes you can restrict the files download on SharePoint Online, by gaving view only permission, which prevent end user from downloading files on Sharepoint. 

View Only permission include view pages, items, and documents. Any document that has a server-side file handler can be viewed in the browser but not downloaded. File types that do not have a server-side file handler (cannot be opened in the browser), such as video files, .pdf files, and .png files, can still be downloaded.  for more Info, please refer to following article https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/understanding-permission-levels

 

unfortunately, his Option is available only on the Sharepoint root site, which means you can assign this permission level to the members on the root site, then inherit the permission. 

 

But as i saw, you want to restrict PDFs only, which can be achieved also using IRM SharePoint Policy.

 

IRM stand for Information Rights Management, and can use to restrict Office apps ex. prevent files from printing, Outlook ex. to prevent and protect specific emails from being forward for also Exchange Online and Sharepoint. 

 

Set up Information Rights Management (IRM) in SharePoint admin center:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/compliance/set-up-irm-in-sp-admin-center?view=o365-wo...

 

Apply Information Rights Management (IRM) to a list or library

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/compliance/apply-irm-to-a-list-or-library?view=o365-w...

 

please let me know if i could help you :) 

 

 

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Hi @Mahhus,

 

Thank you for your reply. I have tried out what you've mentioned already. When I enable IRM, I'm unable to view the PDF file in the browser. I get a message saying that no preview is available. Though the download and print is restricted, my main purpose is to be able to still view the PDF file and that isn't happening.

 

Please let me know if you know about this.

 

Thank You

Regards

Sunil

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Hi @SunilK90 

 

Have you tried to restrict downloading the office files like excel, or word using the IRM, if not please check and provide me your feedback. 

You mentioned also that you are not able to view the PDF in the browser, which is your main purpose, could you check if you can download the PDF file or not ?

 

could you try using another PDF ?

 

please provide me screenshot from the affected PDF which cannot be opend in the browser

 

 

Best Regards, 

Mahhus

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Hi @Mahhus,

 

I've managed to restrict download and print for MS office files like word, excel and powerpoint using view only permission and IRM.

My main purpose is that a person under a group with view only permissions should be able to view the PDF file in the browser, but not download or print the file. 

I noticed that upon doing this the PDF file says it is protected and cannot be downloaded by another user with view only permissions.

 

Thanks

Regards

Sunil

protected file.JPG

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Hi @SunilK90 

 

Thanks for your reply.. 

 

Normally if you used view only permission you will restrict the group members who have view only permission from downloading the files, so theres no need to use both view only permission and IRm policy. 

please cearte another test SharePoint site who has no view only permission and apply the IRM policy and check if you can open the file or not (try to use edit permission)

as per your screenshot, theres's blue hyper link Download combatible reader, what will happen if you clicked on it ?

what would happend if you opened a restricted work file (same screenshot ) or ?

 

Bet Regards, 

Mahhus