Electronic Signatures

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Electronic Signatures in Adobe Acrobat Professional 8

Faculty may occasionally deal with electronic publishing contracts, among other types of agreements. These are often in the form of Portable Document Format (PDF) documents from the publisher that have to be signed electronically. These signatures have to be legally binding, to the satisfaction of the publishing company.

Adobe Acrobat Professional 8 offers clear directions on how to create a signature on a particular computer and then apply that to various PDF documents.

First, open Adobe Acrobat Professional 8. Under the Sign button, click the right arrow. If you have not created a signature using that software, you’ll see the Getting Started with Digital Signatures text highlighted as the only option. Click that.


The following window will open. This offers ways to validate signatures; create and use approval signatures; and certify documents. For this short article, we’ll only look at how to create and apply a signature.


You may click on the links to learn more about digital signatures.

Creating Your own Digital Signature

To create your own digital signature, go to the Menu Bar. At the Advanced link, go to the Security Settings.


The Security Settings window will open.


You will be able to add an ID with the Add ID button at top left that has a blue plus (+) sign. Click the AddID button.

A pop-up window will open. Select the round radio button next to Create a self-signed digital ID for use with Acrobat. Click Next.


The next window asks where you want to store the self-signed digital identification. You may select either approach. The default button is the first one — the New PKCS#12 digital ID file option. Click Next.


Click Next.


Choose a password and type it in, then click Finish.

The digital signature is now complete.


Applying the signature to an Adobe PDF Document

To apply an electronic signature to a formal agreement, open the Adobe PDF file. Put the cursor in the document where you want to place the signature. Go to the Sign button. Click Place Signature.


You will be asked to click and drag on the document where you want the signature to appear.


The Sign Document window will appear for an additional verification.


Put in your password. Click Sign if you’ve read the fine print and agree to sign. You will be asked to re-save this document. The saved document will include the digital signature that will be machine-verifiable by recipients.

Note: A digital signature works as one part of digital identity management and sign-offs in a workplace setting. This article is only about how to set up a digital signature in Adobe Acrobat Professional 8 and not about how to maintain overall document security or any other issues.

See Also