Digital signatures have have the same level of authenticity as electronic or "real" signatures, and are much more convenient.
A digital signature can be used to approve a document or assist in its verification. From business to personal usecases, adding a digital signature block to a PDF file is simple.
You add the signature online, with Adobe, or other third-party applications. It’s just as easy to edit, create, or remove signatures from PDF documents without printing or scanning them.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
- Digital Signatures VS Electronic And Wet Signatures: What’s The Difference?
- How to Obtain A Digital Signature Certificate From Adobe Sign
- How to Add a Digital Signature To Your PDF File
Here’s what you need to know about making the most out of digital signatures in your PDF files.
Digital Signatures VS Electronic And Wet Signatures: What’s The Difference?
Wait, first, before we begin - Do you know the difference between digital, electronic, and wet signatures?
Imagine if someone emails you a PDF document where they need your signature.
Now, you could print it out, sign it, and send it back as an email attachment. But let’s face it, that’d be too inconvenient and time-consuming.
And when you’re adding your signature to the PDF document, you’ll also want to know which kind to add first.
So, let’s take a look at the differences between digital, electronic, and wet signatures first.
Digital and electronic signatures are often used interchangeably, but they're actually different.
Notably, electronic signatures include all forms of a signature block, while digital signatures are attached to an actual signature.
An electronic signature is equivalent to your handwritten signature. Therefore, it has a higher authority. It is an image of your written signature that is overlaid in a PDF document.
On the other hand, a digital signature is cryptographically secure. This means that someone with your specific sign-in/login details will be able to enter a PDF document if they have these.
Digital signatures are equivalent to notarized signatures. Therefore a trusted third party will serve as the notary and identify your identity/verification.
Here are the key differences between the different types of PDF signature blocks:
- Digital signatures are used to secure a PDF document. They’re regulated by the certification authority.
- Electronic signatures (e-signature) are used to verify PDF documents. Usually authorized by specific vendors, document creators, or participating parties.
- Wet signatures is embedded onto a document by hand and has no digital uses. In other words, this means printing out a document and signing it yourself by hand. In most cases, very inconvenient.
Now that you understand the different types of digital PDF signatures, let’s take a look at how to add them to your PDF files.
How to Obtain A Digital Signature Certificate From Adobe Sign
A certificate-based digital signature is a type of e-signature that complies with legal regulations and compliance laws. It also provides the highest level of assurance for the signer’s identity.
So, you need this if you’re going to be using Adobe Acrobat Sign for your e-signatures.
To obtain your adobe digital certificate for your signature, you can follow these steps.
Step 1: Install Adobe sign.
Step 2: Create an account and log in.
Step 3: Go to the upper right corner with your mouse and click on “My Profile”.
Step 4: Click on the “create” option.
Step 5: Once you’ve clicked on create the signature panel will be exposed. This will allow you to add your signature using one of the following two options.
- You can physically draw it in the signature space using your finger or stylus. If you're using a desktop system that isn’t touch enabled, you can select the mobile option. This will ask you for the mobile number of a touch enabled device. You’ll then receive a link that will allow you to draw your signature there, and import it to your user profile.
- You can also upload an image of your signature. Please keep in mind that the image should already be on your device
Step 6: When you’ve found a signature that you approve of, you can click “apply”
You can then follow the same steps to add your initials.
How to Add a Digital Signature To Your PDF File
Now that you have created your digital signature, it’s time to add it to the required documents.
There are a few ways you can add a digital signature to your PDF file, depending on the PDF tool you use. And you can also add a digital signature to your PDF file one.
But for simplicity’s sake, below, we’ll cover how to do so with Adobe Acrobat Reader and Nitro PDF Pro.
How to add a digital signature to a PDF file with Adobe Acrobat Reader
Step 1: Open the PDF file you wish to digital signature block to.
Step 2: Click on “Fill & Sign” this can be located in the left tools panel. If you are having trouble locating the tools panel, press “Shift + F4” for the shortcut.
Step 3: Then, you need to click on “Sign” which will be located at the top of your page (The pen icon). Thereafter you will be able to click on “Add signature”.
Step 4: You will see a popup window appear with 3 images, they will be, type, draw and image. Depending on what you prefer for your signature, you can choose accordingly.
Step 5: You will now be able to drag and resize your image to ensure it fits within the signature line, you will also be able to delete and redraw it if you are unsatisfied with how it looks.
Step 6: Now that your signature has been correctly placed you can simply click “Apply” and export your signature blocked PDF file.
Looking for other ways to edit the text and contents of your PDF file within Adobe?
Be sure to also read:
How to add a digital signature to a PDF file with Nitro PDF Pro
- Once the program is installed, locate “Forms” in the “Forms Field” group - there you will find a tab that says “Digital signature”.
- When you have opened your PDF document, you will be able to drag and resize a rectangle where your signature will be placed
- Lastly, you will need to locate the “Properties” tab, and enter a name in the “field” section. You will also be able to customize the different things such as appearance and actions.
Alternatively, you can also add a digital signature to a PDF file with Nitro PDF Pro this way:
- After opening Nitro PDF Pro, click on “Quick Sign”.
- Locate “Quick Sign” at the top right hand side of the screen, or press CTRL + U.
- Choose if you would like to use text, draw or use an image.
- When you have completed your signature, you can resize and fit it to where you want it on screen. You can also choose to password-protect is before using the signature, which will ensure extra security!
Then, you can save your PDF document with the added signature as you would normally.
Locate “File” at the top right hand of the screen and save your document.
It is important to note that you should not only rely on PDF digital signature blocks to secure your trusted information. Using password protection services may help you secure your personal and confidential information.
Looking for other ways to securely protect your PDF files?
Also check out:
- How to Password Protect PDF Files on Mac
- Forgot Your PDF Password? 7 Ways to Unlock a PDF
- Practical guide on how to remove a signature from a PDF
To recap, adding a digital signature block to a PDF can be a great way to mark your document.
You can use a digital signature to secure a PDF document, an electronic signature (e-signature), to verify files, and a wet signature to if you need to do it by hand.
If you’re going to be regularly working with PDF documents and contracts, it’s worth taking the extra minute to learn about the different types of signatures and when to use each.
So, with that, hope this guide helped!
Now, if you’re looking for more ways to manage and organize your PDF files, you might also want to read: