I don't want to send editable file or native file (i.e. Ai.) to client. I read some articles and found out that people send pdf file to client. Do I need to add password to it? because when I open pdf file on illustrator, I still can edit it and see all the layers.

Please advice

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    You can not really protect vector files form editing capabilities – joojaa May 2 '15 at 5:52
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    Expand and flatten everything is the best you can do for vector files. – Scott May 2 '15 at 6:10
  • Please note that password on PDF is useless against somebody who wants to get your data... all they need to do is circulate the data via ghostscript. – joojaa May 2 '15 at 6:14

You are assuming that the client has illustrator and understands how to use it. It depends on what the files are used for, too. If I was sending a PDF to a printer, I leave it editable, in case the printer needs to adjust something before running the job.

If you are really concerned about your client adjusting your files afterwards, you can send as EPS, or send a PDF with the "Make PDF editable in Illustrator" unchecked when you create the PDF file.

Password protecting the PDF only limits people opening the file at all or not being able to print from PDF.

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  • Even so only the opening protection is strong. If the recipient can view it then the recipient can print it (not with adobe reader but many open source readers can disable this restriction). I do this regularly, if a PDF has printing restrictions then i scrub the file so it no longer has this restriction. – joojaa May 2 '15 at 15:14

When you send a PDF of your Illustrator file, make sure that the option to keep it editable is deactivated (by default, Illustrator adds the .ai information to the PDF, so that you can open it again and it works properly).

If the purpose of sending the file to the client is to get comments or/and approval, you might also simply rasterize it (for example open it in Photoshop and have it render at a suitable resolution), and send that file.

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    For approvals of drafts, I sometimes send a screencap. – Voxwoman May 2 '15 at 13:26
  • Thank you everyone for commenting! @Voxwoman, I should have thought of this. It is my first project for the non-profit and I didn't wrote any contract. They liked the work I did for a poster then they want to use an element that I designed in the poster. The non-profit has other designers that they use and they might take the element apart and post it at other products. I don't like the though of it. Just wondering, do you guys, as designers, have this feeling or just me? I know it is personal question. – Gunawanhere May 2 '15 at 21:51
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    That's what contracts are for. With a contract you can define the usage rights they are buying, and who is allowed to modify or create a derivative work from your work. – Voxwoman May 3 '15 at 19:06

I do not think that it should matter and your client usually wont have illustrator or Photoshop. Even if your client does, it shouldn't matter because as long as they paid you for the work, they should be allowed to edit it in the future. It`s good business. You do not want your client coming back to you, asking for the editable file later in the future because it looks bad and will not encourage trust.

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