How to Flatten & Secure PDF Files

How to Flatten & Secure PDF Files

GoodReader can flatten PDF file forms and annotations. This process finalizes the PDF so that the forms and annotations become part of the document content and cannot be edited.
PDF Annotations such as notes and drawings designed to be editable and removable items on top of the standard PDF page contents. However, there may be problems with this approach:

  • Sometimes you don't want the annotations to be editable or removable. For example, you probably don't want this for a drawing of your signature on a PDF document.
  • Some mobile PDF viewers may fail to display annotations correctly, or at all.
In this case, you may want to convert your annotations into the standard graphical contents of the PDF page, making it an integral and non-separable part of the rest of the page's graphics.


This process called Flattening. You can flatten your PDF through the Actions menu when the file is open, or through the Manage Files menu on the main screen.

For your convenience, every time you're exporting a PDF file outside GoodReader, the app offers you a choice of how to export it - either as-is or flattened.

In the main app Settings, you can set the switch to disallow the subsequent unflattening of the file. Please note that this switch is only respected by the GoodReader app. There is no guarantee that other PDF editors will respect that restriction. However, it is also worth mentioning that other apps rarely, if ever, offer an option of unflattening at all.
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