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In Acrobat X Essential Training, author Anne-Marie Concepción demonstrates how to create, modify, review, and share PDFs in Adobe Acrobat X Standard or Pro. Starting with a tour of the new panels-based interface, the course covers the basics of the software, such as creating and customizing PDFs, searching, editing text and graphics, and extracting PDF content to use in other programs. Also included are tutorials on creating forms, inserting interactivity and rich media, using the prepress tools, combining PDFs with other types of files to create customized portfolios, and ensuring document security. Exercise files accompany the course.
When you get a form in Reader, and it's an interactive form, it's a wonderful thing because that means that you don't have to print it out and fill it out by hand; you can just click inside here and start typing. So here's a typical form. If you go to the irs.gov and download any one of their forms, almost all of them--or at least the ones that people download most frequently, like this W-9 form, used by freelancers throughout the United States--these have already been enabled for Reader to go ahead and fill out the form and save data typed into this form.
So, that's great! So I can just type in my name, and you can see, oh, it's a pretty typeface and pretty color, and so on. I can go ahead and fill out all these fields and click that I'm a partnership and so on. Here is my Social Security number. But look down here: there's no field for signing. This drives me crazy. So it's great that I can fill in all this other information and save it, but I still need to print it. I still need to actually sign it with a-- oh my goodness--a pen--as though I could actually find a pen--and date it, and then, oh fax it, or mail it to my client, because I'm the subcontractor.
Why can't they include a signature field here? I don't know. But let's take a look at another example of a document that does have a signature field that may come your way in Reader. Here is something called a nondisclosure agreement, two-pager. When you look at the little purple ribbon at the top, and it said, "It's a form, but you cannot save data typed into this form." So if you watch my video on Reader and extended rights, then you'll know that this is a regular form created by the Acrobat user, but they forgot to do a Save As with extra features for Reader.
So I can look at it, I could fill it out, but I can't save my data. Not only that, but I can't even fill out these actual fields. If I zoom in, this is a special kind of field, not an actual text entry or a check box or radio button. This is called a digital signature field. And if you have turned off the highlighting, you would still see these little tags here. If I click here, nothing happens, right, because the Acrobat user forgot to extend Reader privileges--not very useful to me.
If you are working with somebody like this, you need to go over to them and say, "Watch Anne-Marie's video on how to extend reader rights from Acrobat." It's covered in a chapter previously. If you have a savvy Acrobat user, they would have already done that. So I have an example with Reader extended rights of this form. Now, please fill out the following form. You can save data typed into this form, and now we finally get to the meat of this video, which is how to digitally sign a form in Reader.
If you click inside here and you get a pop-up, then that's good news. What you're going to do is create a digital signature for this document. This is not like something that you just paint on with Photoshop signature or something. This is an actual digital signature that has coding information, so that when you send this back to somebody, they know that you are the one who signed this document. The very first time that you click in one of these fields, you're going to need to create a digital ID. Then next time, you can just say choose my existing digital ID from a file.
In fact, you might not even see that, because it's going to look, by default, in a place where it stores these. Reader stores all digital IDs in a special folder on your hard drive, and you should be able to click right inside a digital signature field and automatically pops up with just asking for your password, and it fills it in. But let's create a new digital ID. It's so simple. You're going to be amazed. I will say I want to create a new digital ID. I click Next. Just accept the very first choice; that's fine. Leave it at the default. Type in your name. I happen to be Joe Schmoe in this scenario, and that's the identity.
It's pulling from your preferences in Reader. It's usually going to say your login name for your computer. But you can swipe over this and type anything you want. Your organizational unit is like the department or the location, the branch of where you're working. You can put in your company, if you'd like, so maybe, Joe works for of course, Acme Corporation, and the e-mail address, and then the country and region, you can leave this as is, and then just click Next. It's going to save this digital ID to an actual file in a certain place. This is why I set its default location. Just leave it right there, and then you need to type in a password that you're not going to forget.
It can be the same password as your login, if you want, if that makes it easier for you. I usually just use a separate password just for this. So I'm going to just type in a password, like let's say 123. You see that we have a little password strength measuring tool, so somebody could easily crack this. I really don't know if anybody that would want to crack my digital ID, but maybe it's true. So I'm just going to add a combination of numbers and letters as 123, and I'll type the word "hello". That makes it medium. That's fine. And I'll click here to confirm it.
I'll retype it, "123hello", and then click Finish. It shows me a preview of what my digital signature is going to look like, and I just need to re-enter my password here, 123hello, and then click Sign. And in fact, this is the dialog box that you'll get from now on. The next time you click inside a digital signature field that you've been granted privileges to sign, this is just going to pop up. So all you need to remember, is what was that password that I assigned to that digital ID? So definitely make it something that you're going to remember, and then just click Sign.
It wants you to save this document with a different name, so I'm just going to say signed, and there it is right there. So now I can just reply to the person who sent me this and say, "There is my digital signature." I can attach as PDF and everything will be copasetic. That's how easy it is to create a digital ID and to digitally sign something in Reader, as long as the Acrobat user has granted those privileges in that PDF.
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