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I'm working on writing a technical ebook on Adobe Indesign. There are many engineering drawings and smart-arts (in .png format) which I want to include in it. When I export the book as pdf, the images that are included in it show selection around them when clicked. I want to make the image indiscoverable by the user i.e. the selection should not appear as if the image is part of the text and not like a layer stacked upon it.

I know there is a restrict editing option in pdf settings but it makes the text non-copyable, too. I just don't want the image to be selected but the text (including text inside image). How can I do that?

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  • May I ask why you want this?
    – Wolff
    Jul 26 at 13:58
  • Primary reason is that some of the images are copyrighted. Also, the text inside the image is not recognised by the 'Find text' option and images increase the book size, too. All these stuffs are new to me, so, sorry for the lame language.
    – SarGe
    Jul 26 at 14:12
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    About the copyright part. You can't really keep people from grabbing the images. If all else fails they can just take a screenshot. All images are copyrighted by default btw.
    – Wolff
    Jul 26 at 14:28
  • Agreed. Also, restricting the selection of image is my step to stop piracy of the original image to some extent.
    – SarGe
    Jul 26 at 14:39
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    PDF security is really weak. (Really weak) Anyone wanting to steal anything can. All you can do is increase the effort it takes by a couple extra steps. You really can't prevent anyone from stealing anything. The most you can do is rasterized everything. So that each page is a single big image.. making it more cumbersome.
    – Scott
    Jul 26 at 22:24
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Don't think this is possible. (Apart from the method you mentioned that is locking both text and images). But in this case you can draw these diagrams as vectors, which should solve this issue. If text of diagrams should remain non-copiable you would need to outline it. (But with many diagrams that might be too time consuming...)

Also about your other concerns.

Copyright: just make a note in the small-print that you are holding the copyright with "All rights reserved". If anyone copies it you can sue him and make a lot of money – win/win

Images increase the book size: Restricting editing would not help here. vectorising probably would.

The text inside the image is not recognised by the 'Find text' option: Also be fixed with vectorising.

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  • Thanks! I now understood the idea by your answer, which I wasn't able to reflect in the question due to insufficient knowledge about the context.
    – SarGe
    Jul 26 at 15:02
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    Probably best to look at Illustrator (or inkscape which is free) in this case Jul 26 at 15:09
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The thing is you cant actually stop someone for stealing works from a PDF file. All safeguards save full file encryption is possible to overcome easily at current time. Simply, this is why copyright exists in first place.

See the problem is if you want to show somebody something in a PDF reader, then that reader needs to be able to open said resource. Now you are entirely at the mercy of the software that is opening the image. But here is the thing. PDF is a open format so while Acrobat could enforce that only authorized use is possible. But another application might not do so.

This is especially true with open source applications. Where all one needs to do is change the code. And in fact other than Adobe software usually dont care one way or another. Inkscape is happy to open files that are marked as locked for editing.

You can degrade the data though so that its missing editability. But that does not really stop a determined user for even a second.

But if you make this vectors then the text is selectable offcourse. But stealing the image is even easier.

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    Would not be easier to steal as vector I think. At best about same. You still can screenshot it, but copying the vectors can as far as I know only be made with apps like illustrator, which not many people have... Jul 26 at 15:08
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    Not many people would bother to take a image in first place @JulianSteinmann. But a definitely vector would definitely be easier. Not only can you screenshot it at any quality. But your handing the master copy over. Stealing vectors is easier because you can often do it in one application while screenshotting requires 2. Also its easy to stop illustrator opening the image because adobe respects protection bits. But its really other than adobe applications like inkscape, corel and so on that you need to worry about. Since Inkscape is free its a one stop solution for doing this. B
    – joojaa
    Jul 26 at 15:23
  • You can circumvent it so even illustrator does not care trough ghostscript. Though i agree ghostscript is harder. But inkscape is just file open. Anyway the case that not most people dont have application that can do this is moot. Itls like saying not many people know how to read the source of a webpage. Sure, but anybody can learn this in 10 minutes for free.
    – joojaa
    Jul 26 at 15:29
  • I believe you overestimate the intelligence of most humans – In my experience 95% of people do not even know what a vector is and probably are not able to figure this out through google. But yes you got a good point. Jul 26 at 15:51
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    @JulianSteinmann dont underestimate people if 5% know 80% can ask one of those. I mean if kindergarten kids can figure out how to fake fingerprints in fingerprint readers....But i am confident that roughly 80% of my students know how to do this. Anyway 40% dont have a acces to a computer and only 20% read english. So you can write off 80% then and there.
    – joojaa
    Jul 26 at 17:07

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