Skill Level Beginner
- [Instructor] Hi, Jim Rogers here, and in this episode of Bluebeam Tips and Tricks, I'm continuing the discussion of digital signatures and protecting your signed documents. In previous videos, I showed you how to validate a signature and how this process will show you if the document's been altered since it was signed. Now that's extremely useful, but as I demonstrated in that tip, the signed document can still be altered. If what you actually want to do is lock the page content to prevent changes at all, you can use your digital ID to do that too, and that's part of the process that Bluebeam calls digital certification. When you digitally certify a document, you're using your digital ID to lock that PDF content and prevent any changes. When you certify a document, you can also sign it, and you can select from some options as to what you actually lock and what you still allow other users to do. Let's take a look at a couple examples. So first, let's take a look at this document. It has two signature fields here. But let's say I'm the person that created this transmittal. I am not that one that is submitting it or approving it, so I'm not going to sign it, but I do want to make sure it doesn't get changed, and that the people that are signing it know that they're relying on a certified, unchanged copy. Easy. What I do here in Bluebeam is I go up to my tools menu. I'm going to scroll down to signature. I'm not going to choose sign document. I'm going to choose certify document. So when I click on certify document, I get a dialogue box that's very similar to my digital signature dialogue box, but we have document certification checked. Now I'm going to use this digital ID. I'm already signed in, so no need to click log in or enter my password again. I'm already signed into that digital ID so I can use it. I'm going to digitally certify this document because I'm the author of this document, and I have some options here to choose what I'm going to allow other people to do after I certify this. I can select no changes allowed. I can select here to allow them to fill in forms and digital signatures. And I can check here to allow them to still apply markups to the document. Well I'm going to choose this one because I want everything locked, except I want people to be able to sign it. So we'll click that, choose okay. It will always ask us to save the document before applying the certification. So we will go ahead and click on yes. You see as soon as we did that, I haven't changed the physical appearance of this document, but over here in the signatures panel, it shows me that this document is certified. Says who certified it, and when, and why. I'm the author of this document. We now have a digitally certified document. I'll show you what that means. When I say I've locked this document to allow any changes, that's exactly what I mean. If I go up to tools and markup, you'll see that all of my markup tools are grayed out. I can't even apply markups to it. If I try to apply a stamp, it just does nothing. So everything is locked. I also can't go over here to the edit menu anymore. If I try to edit PDF content, you'll see all my options for cutting, erasing, or editing any text are grayed out. They're gone. So I've prevented any changes. So that's pretty cool. Let's look at another example of certifying a document as you sign it. Let's come over here to our second document which is not yet signed. It's also not yet certified. Let's say I am the one that created this document, and I want to go ahead and sign it and certify it at the same time, before I send it to the second person for review and approval. To do that, I would follow this workflow. I would go ahead and click in the signature panel. Let's zoom in a little bit. Click in the signature panel to bring up the signature dialogue box. Again, I'm already signed in to my digital ID. I don't need to do that again. But instead of applying just my digital signature, I want to go ahead and apply a signature and a document certification. Under permitted changes, I do want to allow the filling in of forms and digital signatures, because I have one more person that needs to sign this. And in this case, let's say I've reviewed this document. Now when I click on okay, and of course save the document, it's going to apply my digital signature. You can see that here. So it's applied my digital signature and certified the document. And you can see my physical digital signature applied here to the electronic document. Now it's locked everything, so again, if I go to tools and markup, all of my markup tools are disallowed. All of my editing tools are disallowed. But somebody can still come in here and click this signature field, and they can go ahead and apply their final signature as well. Now, one of the options that I did not show you there when we were certifying a document was the option that allows markups as well as digital signatures and the filling out of form fields. They want us as, say, contractors in the field to be able to apply markups to the signed and certified plans, then they would choose that option of allowing markups. We still wouldn't be able to edit any of the underlying PDF content, but we would be able to add markups to it. So that would be useful for something like construction drawings. One note of caution here, and that is that certifying a document does lock the contents, just like I've showed you. It disallows markups and edits. But it's not the same as password protecting a document, because certification can be cleared. I can come over here and right-click on this certification and clear it, and at that point, I can make changes to the document. It will clearly show that this is no longer a certified document, but it doesn't lock the contents in terms of password protecting the document. So sometimes you have to use more than one security feature to do everything that you want to do with the document. And I just wanted to point that out. Certification works really well to lock the document in place, but you can clear it and still make alterations. Hopefully these two examples give you a couple of really good ideas as to how you can use document certification to both sign and protect the documents that you produce. Join me next time on another episode of Bluebeam Tips and Tricks, and we'll continue to look at digital signatures.