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PDF and Digital Signatures

"Signing" a document indicates that you have read and approved it. Digital Signatures can be applied both to "New" PDF files that you are creating now as well as to existing PDF files that were created at some other time (even using other PDF creation products).

New PDF Files During the creation of a PDF document you have the option of digitally signing that PDF document.
Existing PDF Files You can also Digitally Sign a previously created PDF document.

A Digital Signature will ensure that any changes you make to the document, after it was signed, can be identified.

A Digital Signature (in certain cases) will also allow you to "roll back" and recover the original version of the document that you signed. Another useful feature of a digitally signed document is the ability to verify that the signature is authentic. The verification process uses a specific type of Digital Id user certificate.

You can create different identities (digital signatures) for yourself if you handle documents in more than one capacity.

A digital signature, much the same as a conventional handwritten signature, identifies a person or entity signing the document. While traditional signatures are on paper, every digital signature stores information that will identify the person signing. There can also be information about changes made to a digitally signed document since the first signature was applied.

A digital signature can include many different formats - a name, a logo or other graphic, or simply some text that will tell you the purpose of the signing a given document. This is done through a Certificate Authority - usually referred to as "CA".

Digital signatures can also be invisible. The appearance of a digital signature is just the way it appears on the document and is not the actual electronic signature information which will be based on a Digital Certificate.

Signing existing PDF documents using PentaPDF-PRO requires:

  • Acrobat Reader - Version 9.0 (preferred)
    Use this version if you want to use AES 256 encryption.

Although Acrobat Reader Version 9.0 is the preferred version of Acrobat Reader that we recommend, please be advised that any version of Acrobat prior to version 8.0 may not correctly visualize documents produced using the standards of version 8 or subsequent.

Below are other versions of Acrobat Readers that are conducive to Digital Signatures:

  • Acrobat Reader - Version 9.0
    You will have zooming, scrolling and other toolbar based features available.
  • Acrobat Reader - Version 8.0
    You will have zooming, scrolling and other toolbar based features available.
  • Acrobat Reader - Version 7.0
    You will have zooming, scrolling and other toolbar based features available.
  • Acrobat Reader - Version 6.0
    You will NOT have zooming, scrolling and other toolbar based features available.
  • Acrobat Reader - Version 5.0
    You will NOT have zooming, scrolling and other toolbar based features available.

Additional Information

Creating New Digitally Signed PDF's

Adding Digital Signatures to Existing PDF's

What is a Digital Certificate?

Definition of Root Certificate

X.509 Certificates

Where to get a Digital Certificate

Requesting Digital Certificates through Internet Explorer

How to Export a PFX File from Internet Explorer

Requesting Digital Certificates through Firefox

How to Import an Internet Explorer PFX File to Firefox

How to Export a PFX File from Firefox

Adobe Acrobat and Digitally Signed PDF Files

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