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Adobe® Acrobat® 8 Professional for Windows User Guide

Adobe® Acrobat® 8 Professional for Windows User Guide

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Before you sign a PDF

You can expedite the signing process and optimize your results by making the following preparations in advance:

• Obtain a digital ID, or create a self-signed digital ID in Acrobat.

Note: You cannot create self-signed digital IDs from within FIPS mode.

• Set the default signing method.

• Create an appearance for your digital signature.

• Use Preview Document mode to suppress any dynamic content that may alter the appearance of the document
and mislead you into signing something you shouldn’t.

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• Review all the pages in a document before you sign. Documents may contain signature fields on multiple pages.
When you sign one field, your signature appears in all occurrences of the field, whether you approve those pages
or not.

See also

“About digital IDs” on page 253

“Change the signing method” on page 256

Sign a PDF

You can sign a PDF to indicate your approval. A PDF can be signed more than once and by more than one person.
When you sign a document, your digital signature appears in the signature field. The appearance of the signature
depends on options you choose. The actual information for your digital signature is embedded in the PDF.

The first person to sign a document (typically the document author) has the option of adding a certifying signature,
which allows one to restrict changes to the document.

Sign a PDF

For best results, use Preview Document mode to add your signature. See “Sign in Preview Document mode” on page 280.

1 Click the signature field, or do one of the following:

• Choose Advanced > Sign & Certify > Sign Document.

• Click the Sign button

in the Tasks toolbar and choose Sign Document or Place Signature.

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2 If you chose Place Signature, you’re prompted to draw a signature field for your signature.

3 If you haven’t specified a digital ID, you’re prompted to find or create one.

4 In the Sign Document dialog box, choose the digital ID you want to use. If you defined a personalized signature,
choose it from the menu.

5 If you selected advanced digital signature preferences, do any of the following:

• Choose a reason for signing the document.

• Type your location and contact information.

• Review any document warnings about content that may impact signing.

6 If your digital ID requires a password, type it in the Password box.

7 Click Sign, and specify a new name for the document so you can make changes to the original PDF without inval
idating the signature, and click Save.

Sign a PDF in a web browser

To sign a PDF on the web, the document must contain an empty signature field. When you sign a document in a
browser, only the incremental portion of the file is saved to your hard drive.

1 Click a signature field, and then follow the steps to add your digital signature.

2 To retain a copy of the signed document, click the Save A Copy button

in the File toolbar.

Sign in Preview Document mode

For best results, use the Preview Document feature when you sign documents. This feature analyzes the document
for content that may alter the document’s appearance, and then suppresses that content, allowing you to view and
sign the document in a static and secure state.

When you view a PDF in Preview Document mode, a document message bar lets you know if the PDF complies with
the PDF/SigQ Level A and Level B specification. Level A indicates that the document contains no dynamic content
that can alter its appearance. Level B indicates that the document contains dynamic content that can be suppressed
during signing. If the document doesn’t comply with Level A or B, you may want to refrain from signing the
document and contact the document author about the problem.

You can also use Preview Document mode outside of a signing workflow to check the integrity of a document.

Sign a PDF in Preview Document mode

1 Choose Edit > Preferences (Windows) or Acrobat > Preferences (Mac OS), and select Security on the left.

2 Select View Documents In Preview Document Mode When Signing, and click OK.

3 In the PDF, click the signature field, or click the Sign button in the Tasks toolbar and choose Sign Document or
Place Signature.

The document message bar appears with the compliance status and options.

4 (Optional) Click View Report in the document message bar (if available) and select each item in the list to show
details. When you’re done, close the PDF/SigQ Conformance dialog box.

5 If you’re satisfied with the compliance status of the document, click Sign Document in the document message bar,
and add your digital signature.

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6 Save the PDF using a different name than the original, and close the document without making any further
changes. If you save the document a second time, your signature must be verified by using the View Signed Version
option in the Signatures panel. (See “View previous versions of a signed document” on page 286.)

View a PDF in Preview Document mode

1 Choose Advanced > Sign & Certify > Preview Document.

2 In the document message bar, click View Report (if available) and select each item in the list to show details. When
you’re done, click Close, and then click Exit.

Before you certify a PDF

Document authors can improve document integrity and ensure that their documents remain certified by addressing
the following issues before they certify PDFs:

• Disable or remove content that could modify the document or compromise its integrity, such as JavaScripts,
actions, or embedded media.

• If you intend for others to sign the document, enable usage rights to let Adobe Reader users add a digital signature
(choose Advanced > Enable Usage Rights In Adobe Reader).

• Certify or sign a PDF only after you make final changes to it. If you make changes or resave the PDF after you sign
it, you may compromise the validity of your signature or the document’s certified status.

Document authors can use Adobe LiveCycle Designer (Windows) to create signature fields that lock after signing,
preventing changes that may invalidate signatures. For more information, see Adobe LiveCycle Designer Help.

See also

“Examine a PDF for hidden content” on page 248

Certify a PDF

When you certify a PDF, you indicate that you approve of its contents. You also specify the types of changes that are
permitted for the document to remain certified. For example, suppose that a government agency creates a form with
signaturefields.When theformiscomplete,theagencycertifiesthedocument,allowinguserstochangeonlyform
fields and sign the document. Users can fill in the form and sign the document, but if they remove pages or add
comments, the document doesn’t retain its certified status.

You can apply a certifying signature only if the PDF doesn’t contain any other signatures. Certifying signatures can
be visible or invisible, and are indicated by the blue ribbon icon in the Signatures panel (and if visibly signed, in
the signature field). A digital ID is required to add digital signatures (see “About digital signatures” on page 275.)

1 Change the default signing method, if needed.

2 Click the Sign button

in the Tasks toolbar and choose one of the following options:

• Certify With Visible Signature.

• Certify Without Visible Signature. If you choose this option, your signature appears only in the Signatures panel.

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Note: If you enabled View Documents In Preview Document Mode When Signing in the Security Preferences, click Sign
Document in the document message bar.

3 Click OK in the Save As Certified Document dialog box.

4 If you’re adding a visible signature, draw the signature field on the page. Follow the on-screen instructions to select
a digital ID, if prompted.

Specify a default ID to avoid being prompted each time you sign a PDF.

5 In the Certify Document dialog box, specify the permitted changes, type your password, and then click Sign.

6 Save the PDF using a different filename than the original file, and then close the document without making
additional changes.

See also

“Change the signing method” on page 256

“Specify the default digital ID” on page 256

“About digital IDs” on page 253

Clear or remove a digital signature

❖ Do one of the following:

• To remove a signature, right-click/Control-click the signature field and choose Clear Signature Field.

• To remove all signatures in a PDF, choose Clear All Signature Fields from the Options menu in the Signatures

panel.

fi

If you want to delete the signature field, choose Tools > Advanced Editing > Select Object Tool, select the signature
eld, and press the Delete key.

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