Sign PDFs Digitally
Businesses today deal with a constant exchange of documents, many of them in electronic format. Nevertheless, a personal signature can still be required for approval procedures or to consider the document legally valid. There are several solutions for signing electronic documents, including PDFs, depending on the purpose of the document.
Facsimile signature or e-signature is an electronic reproduction (photo or scan) of your handwritten signature.
If you have a scan or a photograph of your handwritten signature you can add it to any page of your PDF document using ABBYY FineReader PDF 15. A facsimile signature may be used for signing documents as it currently has, in many cases, similar status to a traditional, handwritten signatures on a paper document. However, it also has its limitations:
- Facsimile signatures cannot prevent an electronic document from being altered after signing.
- Documents with a facsimile signature cannot be accepted in court or by a government agency.
A digital signature, or certificate signature, is a special tool for signing electronic documents.
Digital signatures are used to identify the person signing a document and also to help verify a document’s integrity. Digital signatures are based on certificates that contain data about the signee as well as any changes made to the electronic document after signing.
PDF software tools, such as ABBYY FineReader PDF 15, allow you to create certificate-based signatures. These signatures can use so-called “self-signed” certificates, the reliability of which can be guaranteed only by the respective author. This type of certificate is often used for managing documentation in internal processes or to preserve the integrity of documents.
Many official agreements require the highest level of reliability when it comes to signing of electronic documents. In such cases, the commonly accepted approach is to work with certificates based on a digital ID issued by a trusted third party, also known as a Certification Authority. In that case, if the country’s legislation allows, there is a legal guarantee of obtaining reliable information about the author of the signature.
Many countries have adopted standards for digital signatures and have special authorities for creating personalized digital certificates which provide independent authentication of digital signatures. In such countries, electronic documents signed with digital certificates, have the full legal force and can be used by government agencies, when applying tax returns or when signing contracts and agreements.
How to use a digital signature in PDF documents
Once you have a digital certificate, you can use ABBYY FineReader PDF, to sign your PDF files and for verification of files received from others. The application allows you to:
- sign your PDF file by using a digital certificate
- set the signature field anywhere on the page
- quickly identify the person who signed the document
- verify the document’s authenticity and integrity