Custom Security Envelopes

I recently wrote an article on using Security Envelopes to securely send a group of documents to clients.

Security Envelopes can be customized to include your company logo and branding. Essentially, this Acrobat feature is the digital equivalent of pre-printed envelopes.

Customizing the envelope isn’t difficult or necessarily time consuming. Here are the steps involved:

  1. Create the envelope template
    I’ve included a sample envelope in Microsoft Word format
  2. Convert envelope into PDF
  3. Add envelope form fields for To, From, Date, etc.
  4. Set Document Properties
  5. Save into the Acrobat templates folder

Read on to learn how to make your own customized Acrobat Security Envelope using Adobe Acrobat Professional.

Creating the Envelope Template

You can create the envelope template in any application.

It’s a good idea to design the template to look like an actual paper envelope. Analogs to the paper world make your recipient comfortable.

Since you will be sending a copy of the template each time you send a Security Envelope, you should attempt to keep the size of the file in the range of 10K to 30K.

Since most legal users have Microsoft Word, I’ve included a sample below for the mythical law firm of Herman-Bidley that you can customize for your firm:

Envelope Template in MS-Word Format (23k Word file)

Tips for Using the Word Template1. It is easiest to edit the Word example above in Print Layout mode. 2. Text boxes are used in the template to contain various elements. Consult Word’s Online Help if you are unfamiliar with using Text Boxes in Word. 3. You could include your firm logo or other artwork into the template. 4. The template uses the fonts Arial, Arial Black and Wingdings

Converting the Template to PDF

For best results, use the one-button PDF Creator (sometimes called PDFMakers) installed by Adobe Acrobat.

Choose Adobe PDF—>Convert to PDF and save to a location you can easily find later, such as your desktop.

You will encounter issues if you choose File—>Print and choose the AdobePDF print driver. The AdobePDF print driver does not automatically adjust to the document size.

Add Form Fields

Security Envelopes use Acrobat form fields to automatically fill in information.

Although you could create the fields from scratch, you will probably find it easier to copy them from an existing security envelope. I’ve included one below that matches the layout of the Word sample above.

PDF Envelope Example (26K PDF)

Save the PDF above to a location you can remember (e.g. desktop).

  1. Open _envelope_example_start.pdf _(the sample file above) in Acrobat Professional
  2. Choose Tools—>Advanced Editing—>Select Object Tool
  3. Click on one of the form fields, then choose Edit—>Select All
  4. Choose Edit—>Copy to copy the form fields to the clipboard
  5. Open the PDF version of the envelope template you created in Word (or other application)
  6. With the Select Object Tool still selected, choose Edit—>Paste
  7. Use the Select Object Tool to size the fields and move into position as needed.
  8. Save (but don’t close) the PDF template.

Setting Document Properties

The Secure eEnvelope interface lists envelope templates by name:

To create the name, Acrobat uses the Document Title from the PDF.

To set the Document Title for the PDF

  1. Choose File—>Properties
  2. Click on the Description Tab
  3. Fill in the Title field with a descriptive Name of Society
  4. Click OK
  5. File—>Save
  6. Quit the Acrobat application

Using the Security Envelope Template (Basic)

Acrobat 7 and 8 provide an easy to use Wizard for working with Security Envelopes.

Choose Advanced—>Security—>Create Security Envelope

On the Envelope Template screen, click the Browse button and locate the template you created.

For details, follow the instructions in my Envelope Security article to use your envelope.

Adding the Custom Envelope to the Template Library

You can save yourself a step by adding the envelope to the Acrobat template library.

  1. Select the file you created—probably on your desktop
  2. Right-click and choose Copy
  3. Paste into the Acrobat template folder (see below)


C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 8.0\Acrobat\DocTemplates\ENU


Macintosh HDAdobe Acrobat 8 Professional:Adobe AcrobatProfessional.appResources:en.lproj:DocTemplate

Can’t Find the Template folder on Windows?1. Go to the Start menu and choose Control Panel 2. Double-click Folder Options 3. Click the View Tab 4. In the Hidden files and folders section, enable “Show hidden files and folders”

5. Click OK

Can’t Find the file on Template Folder on Macintosh?1. Locate the Adobe Acrobat file 2. Right-click and choose Show Package Contents