I was asked to create a library that will contain only .pdf files, and I was asked to avoid users downloading the file (they only should view it). I set the correct user group with "view only" permission (and it seems not different from "read"...) and then i set up the library with "open documents in browsers". Since .pdf are browsers-enabled documents, they actually open in IE, but since client computers have Adobe Reader installed, the program popup bar allow to save a copy of the file, so my goal is not reached. Any advice?

2 Answers 2


The best way to achieve this would probably be to display the pdf using Web Apps and then assigning a more customized Read-Only permission to the files.

About setting up Web Apps please refer to the Documentation provided by MS.

About creating a customized rights setting:

  • Make sure that your account has site administration privileges
  • Goto Site Settings > Site Permissions
  • in the upper right click Permission levels
  • Create a new permission level

For the purpose of only showing an item through Web Apps I used the following permissions:

  • List Permissions
    • View Items
    • View Application Pages
  • Web Site Permissions
    • View Pages
    • Open

For further reading about Permissions check out this article.


There is no 100% solution to this.

If you want to use the browsers PDF viewer the file is already submitted to the client. Now most browsers offer a way to save the file. So there is no way without altering the actual browser (you dont want to do this).

What you could do is to view the .pdf in flash or silverlight with some build in security.

Here are several ways.

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