SignLab - Issues when saving as PDF for use in Illustrator


Here's the landscape: I have never used SignLab, or even seen it. I am familiar with Gerber Omega and Illustrator, and I use Roland/Versaworks to print.

My friend uses SignLab, and often sends me files to print for him. I always have to open them in illustrator to adjust colors as needed, add bleeds/cutlines, and the like.

When he sends PDF's, there are 2 issues:
Firstly, EVERY INDIVIDUAL vector piece has been clipped to a rectangle matching it's size. Prints fine, but makes it a pain to edit in any way.
Secondly, starting recently, every PDF is now password protected. He says he can't figure out why.

Each of these issues I can work around, but it takes extra time. Does anyone have any ideas on what could be done within SignLab to alleviate the problems? I think he upgraded his version recently, but I don't know exactly which it is, but I can find out if it would help.

PDF is not a format for working files, it's a format for finished files. The clipping masks are just how PDF files are built, usually.

The problem is, there is no standardized format for working files, so the best thing to do is test it: export from Signlab to each format that Illustrator can handle (maybe EPS, AI, PDF and SVG), and see which one works the best once you import to Illustrator.