Join Claudia McCue for an in-depth discussion in this video Digital signatures, part of Acrobat XI: Creating Forms.
Acrobat 11 Pro gives you two different ways to sign a PDF. One is by using the digital signature feature. And that's been in Acrobat for quite some time. And the other is by using the EchoSign service. An EchoSign is part of Adobe. If you have an older version of Acrobat, you won't have the EchoSign option built in. First I'm going to show you digital signature. You can see that there's a signature field here. When I click, it says well, you don't already have a digital ID, and that's what you need to sign this document. So, I need to create a new one. I'm going to click Next. I have these two options on Windows.
On the Mac, you won't have this Windows Certificate Store option. What this will let you do is get a separate certificate for signing purposes that applies not just in Acrobat, but in other programs on your computer. But I just need this in Acrobat, so I'm going to use the default and click Next. And do of course to put my name in (SOUND). And I can put in other information, but I'm always going to put in my email address (SOUND). And then when I click Next, it wants me to assign a Password and it wants me to tell it where to save this digital ID file.
This is the default position and this means it will be easy for Acrobat to find the next time around. But you can put it where ever you want it. And it can be handy if you need to have that digital ID on multiple computers, say your work computer and your home computer. If you choose browse you can save it wherever you want and then find it later. You have to assign a Password to let you unlock that digital ID (SOUND). And it will tell you the strength of it. Mine isn't very strong, but it's a password I can remember (SOUND). So I'm going to use it. When I click Finish, if I want to go ahead and sign, I can just type in my password and click Sign.
But, what if I want to change the look of this? Now that don't really look like what we think of when we think of signature. Its just text and a logo and some description. But you can create, what's called an appearance. So when I choose Create New Appearance, I have to give that appearance a name. And that's because you can actually have multiple different appearances for one sequel digital ID. I'm going to import a graphic. I've signed the signature and scanned it in, so I can go and find that file and then invoke that. It's looking initially for PDF files, but you're actually not limited to that.
If you click this little pop up, you'll see that it accepts a wide range of formats. And in fact, I think I'll choose TIF. And there's my, TIF scan of the signature. And there we go. Now I can incorporate that into my appearance and it looks more like a signed piece. I can also configure the text. You can see all this text that accompanies the signature. I'm going to leave the Name and the Date on of course. And Location might be important. Reason: well I'm signing it because, I needed to sign this to prove that I've seen it and that I approve of it.
I'm going to leave off my Distinguished name, because that's a little bit redundant. And, I think maybe I'll take off the Acrobat logo, and these other labels. So there, that's what it's going to look like. And there's the final view of it. If I want, I can lock the document after signing, but I'm not going to lock it. Because I'm going to show you something else sort of interesting. Remember that you have to use your password. When I click Sign. Now, it's going to ask me to save this under a new name. Because it's different from the original file. It has this sign stamp on it, so I'll just save it on my desktop for now.
Now in the left hand pane you can see that there's a signature field. And when I click the plus by it. You see the little green check mark which means everything is good. And the signature is valid, it hasn't been modified, so everything is okay. But because that signature field wasn't set to lock the document and I didn't choose to lock the document when I signed it. It means somebody actually could sneak in and change it. That would be terrible. But, you would know if they did, and here's why? (SOUND) Let's say that I change the name here and maybe I change the credit card number (SOUND).
Immediately you can see on the left, that little magnifying glass which means hmm, maybe you should take a closer look at this document. the signature validity is unknown. Signature hasn't been verified. And then there's this and this is what I think is really neat. Click to view this version in other words if you want to see the original version of the document, when it was signed before it was tampered with. There it is see, there's Betty Smith's name, there's her old credit card number, and then this little bar across the top. Now what it's doing is, looking at a stored version of the original file within this same PDF.
In other words it's not looking at the separate original PDF. This is all in one file. So, this can be a great way to ensure that you maintain the fidelity of the document. Now, what if you want to get rid of that digital ID? Well, you have to go into your preferences. So on the Mac, you'll go to Acrobat and Preferences. On Windows, you go to Edit and Preferences. And in the left hand column, this very long list, go down to Signatures. I'm going to get rid of the appearance, so I'm going to click More. There is my sig appearance, I'm going to Delete that and click OK.
And then to totally get rid of that digital ID, under Identities and Trusted Certificates. Click More, there is the Betty Smith ID, that I created a minute ago. You can remove that. I will have to know the Password in order to remove it. And, that's it. So, now I don't have that digital ID anymore and I can have a fresh start. Now, let's take a look at EchoSign. So, I'm going to switch to a document that doesn't have a signature field in it. Now, if you have a signature field in it you can still use EchoSign.
But some of the features of echo sign aren't available to you. For example, writing your name which I think is one of the nice features of EchoSign. So you can see on the right, I can choose Place Signature. So I have several options. I could type my signature. I could use a web cam. Well, how would that work? Well, all that is is letting you sign your name on a piece of paper, holding it up to your web cam and it takes a snapshot. And that's, if you don't have a scanner. Or you can draw your signature. If you have a scan of your image, as I already do I could use that here. But I'm going to show you that, you can draw your signature. Now I'm actually drawing with a mouse is sort of like drawing with a bar of soap.
So it wont be a very good signature, but lets see what we get. Yup, it looks more like real writing. And then if I don't like it, I can click Clear Signature. I think this is close enough, so I'm just going to click Accept. And now you can see that that's sort of floating around on my cursor. And as I hover over the signature field, when I click it adds that signature. And I can change the size of it by dragging on the corners. Now that its been signed, I can come over here and choose proceed to send.
I can send it via email or fax or if there are other people that need to sign the document as well, I can pass it on to them and I can save a copy. So the nice thing about EchoSign is that it's sort of seamless, and the EchoSign service handles it for you. There are multiple tiers of pricing for EchoSign. You can get it for free, but you're limited to 5 documents a month being signed. And then, as you go on up, it doesn't give you a price. It says, call for pricing. So, you can figure, it's not free. But what they do is they vary the pricing depending on how many contracts or other types of documents.
You think you're going to sign in your organization per month. So, either the Digital signatures or EchoSign they both provide a good solution. You might find that the Digital signatures work just fine for you and you don't need EchoSign. So that's a little look at nailing down your document proving that somebody signed it, and then insuring the fidelity of the document.
- Designing forms
- Exporting PDFs from Word, Illustrator, or InDesign
- Creating and editing text fields, list boxes, and more
- Adding buttons and check boxes
- Converting frames to fields
- Creating matrixes
- Adding calculations
- Enabling PDFs for Acrobat Reader