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Understand the Basics of Digital Signatures in Adobe Acrobat X

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Digitally signing a document can be simple or complex, depending on how you approach it and what you expect from it. Adobe expert Brian Wood explores the generic process for digitally signing a PDF document using Acrobat X and what you can expect.

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The (Generic) Digital Signature Process: What It Takes and How It Works

The (Generic) Digital Signature Process: What It Takes and How It Works

Here’s an overview of how the digital signature process works. Details are covered in the upcoming sections.

  1. Create or obtain a digital ID. You can create a “self-signed” ID in Acrobat or obtain one from a third-party CA (Certificate Authority). This is what you use to “sign” or encrypt the document. Typically (not always) most of us will create one digital ID and keep it to sign our documents.
  2. Sign the document. Once a digital ID is obtained and Acrobat knows where it is, you can sign the document. You can also change the appearance of your signature to include an image or other information.
  3. Send it off to the recipient(s). This can be done via email or any other method you can think of to get it in someone’s hands.
  4. Verify the signature (optional). Once the recipient has the PDF, they can verify your signature. This ensures that the document came from you. Even without verifying, they can see if anything had been changed since the initiator signed the document.
4. Step 1: Create a Digital ID | Next Section Previous Section