Using a Filename-to-Password Mapping Table to Password-Protect Emailed Attachments
This tutorial demonstrates one way to password-protect email attachments sent using the AutoDocMail™ plug-in. Sometimes it may not be suitable to feature the actual password itself within the document being sent. Instead, this method works by associating unique filenames with user-specified passwords. This creates a set of passwords linked to each filename, known as a filename-to-password 'map'. The plug-in can then send these files and encrypt each document with the corresponding password. The specific password would be required to open each attachment. This may be useful when files of the same name are repeatedly emailed to the same recipients (weekly/monthly etc.) - the recipient would simply have to enter the same password each time to open the attachment.
Sample Documents Description
The documents being distributed in this tutorial are single-page PDF paystubs titled "PayStub1" "PayStub2" and "PayStub3". These will be associated with specific passwords via the 'filename-to-password' map - i.e.: a file named "PayStub1" when emailed to "", will require "password1" to be entered in order to open it.
You need a copy of Adobe® Acrobat® (Standard or Pro) along with the AutoDocMail™ plug-in installed on your computer in order to use this tutorial. Both are available as trial versions.
Step 1 - Open the "Auto-Email Documents" Dialog
Start the Adobe® Acrobat® application. Now select “Plug-ins > Auto-Email Documents…” from the main Acrobat menu.
Step 2 - Open the Email Settings
In the "Auto-Email Documents" dialog, press the "Settings..." button.
Step 3 - Edit Settings
This opens a dialog showing a list of saved settings configurations. Either click the “New…” button to configure new settings, or double-click on “Default” settings to modify these. The default settings can also be changed by selecting "Default" and pressing the "Edit..." button.
Step 4 - Configure Required Settings
Open the "Document Processing" tab by selecting it in the settings bar.
Ensure that the "Send input documents ‘as is’…” option is selected. This is because the files being sent via this method are already single files, ready for sending (the plug-in is not going to split a larger file into individual ones for automatic distribution).
Then ensure that the “Do not send documents with number of pages outside of the following range” option is left unchecked. These settings are necessary so that the files being sent are not modified by the plug-in. The documents are being sent 'manually' and are already the correct length etc.
Next, proceed to the "Email Settings" tab.
On this screen, select the “Send separate emails to each recipient...” option to ensure that any recipients who are linked to the same file both receive emails.
Once done, proceed to the "Security" tab.
Step 5 - Open 'Filename-to-password' Settings
On this screen, check the “Secure all e-mailed documents with passwords” option. By default, the "Use "Global" password below" option will be selected. Click on this selection box to open the drop-down list of available options.
Select any other option from the list as the 'global' password settings would conflict with the filename-to-password configuration. In this example, we'll use the "Use "Password:..." text keyword" option.
Now press the “Assign Passwords to Files…” button.
Step 6 - Associate Passwords with Filenames
Use this screen to create the mapping table, by adding entries one-per-line. These associate each filename with a specific password. Type the filename, followed by a comma, followed by a suitable password. Note that filenames entered here are not case sensitive, but the passwords are (the input files are actually titled (PayStub1/2/3.pdf etc.). For the passwords, consider using a combination of lower and upper case letters, digits, and symbols (@,!#$%^&*?) to strengthen them. The most reliable passwords are at least 8 characters long, but these examples are simplified for clear demonstration.
IMPORTANT: Filenames written here must include the relevant file type extension (e.g.: *.pdf). If a file name contains a comma, then surround it with quotation marks ("") using this format: '“Paystub, John Doe.pdf”, sample 123'. This enables the software to identify where the filename starts and ends, and where the required password text begins.
Optionally press "Save to Text File..." to save this mapping configuration in *.csv format. This could later be loaded via the "Load from Text File..." button to use the same mapping under a different AutoDocMail settings configuration - or be given to another user to process documents in the same way.
Select a suitable location to save this file. Optionally edit the default file name "Files to Passwords Mapping Table" before pressing "Save".
Step 7 - Save and Exit Settings
Once the mapping is complete, press "OK" to exit this window.
The number of passwords assigned to filenames is now written next to the “Assign Passwords to Files…” button. Press "OK" again.
Press "Close" to proceed to processing your documents.
Step 8 - Select the Files to be Sent
In the "Auto-Email Documents" dialog, press the "Add Files..." button to select the PDF file(s) that need to be distributed. In this example, these are the individual PDF pay stubs with filenames that were mapped to passwords in step 6.
Locate the files, select them, and press "Open".
The input file paths and total numbers of pages will now be listed in the dialog. Press "Next >" to proceed.
Step 9 - Review Email Recipients
Once the documents have been processed, the “Confirm Email Recipients” dialog opens. The plug-in will have extracted the email addresses and assigned the emails under "Email To:" on the left.
Select the “Show Passwords…” option on the lower left to display the extracted passwords. You can scroll through the parameters using the horizontal scroll bar when this dialog size is minimized. Re-size the window and expand columns to view all the necessary data clearly.
The passwords will have been assigned to each corresponding email/file attachment according to the earlier mapping.
Double-click on a record to preview the attachment and/or manually edit the email message for this recipient (this is not essential, but recommended to verify that any sensitive documents were assigned to the correct recipients).
Use the checkboxes to control which recipients will receive emails/attachments. Press "Send" to proceed to sending the documents.
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