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Adobe Acrobat Digital Signature Field Not Working

Posted on 2006-07-14
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Last Modified: 2013-09-06
Hi there,

I have created a new Adobe Acrobat form using Live Designer, and have created a digital signature field. When I playtest it on my Acrobat Professional, it works fine. When I send it to another user that has Acrobat Professional (but an older version), it works fine.

When I send it to a user that has a brand new, fresh Acrobat Reader 7.0.8, clicking on the field to add your digital signature does nothing. No error, no security warning, nothing. It just kind of blinks for a second and nothing else happens.

I have also tried making a whole new form with only the digital signature field, still has the same problem.

I've had a hard time finding any solutions or even other people who've had this problem. Any ideas?

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Question by:decker12
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Expert Comment

by:shuboarder
ID: 17137234
I believe this is because Adobe Reader does not support digital signatures as standard.

Obviously it will work on Acrobat, because you have the write functionality.

To get it to work on Adobe Reader, I believe you need a plugin that enables digital signatures.

For example:

http://www.signplus.com/en/downloads/details.php?code=S24

Hope this helps!
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Author Comment

by:decker12
ID: 17140107
Ah, that's disappointing. I was hoping that I could use LiveCycle to design a form and send it off to relatively non-tech savvy parents (I work at a high school) and have them fill out say, a permission form, and digitally sign it so we can reduce paper and rekeying in their forms and postage.

That being said, it doesn't seem like this digital signature aspect of Acrobat is terribly useful. The end-user would need the full $200+ version of Acrobat just to add their signature, or they would have to buy, install, and troubleshoot third party programs. This was my first adventure into the digital signature procedure and now I'm pretty underwhelmed. Our legal analysts aren't even sure if the digital signature is valid enough to prevent a lawsuit.

Am I missing something about Adobe's marketing line regarding "ease of use" and "security" of these digital signatures then?
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Accepted Solution

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shuboarder earned 500 total points
ID: 17144815
No I don't think your missing anything apart from the fact that Adobe Reader is essentially a reader - you can't edit or update forms in any way whatsoever with this. All you can do is read documents. Adobe Acrobat allows you to design forms and create PDFs - if you want someone to fill this form in, they will need Adobe Acrobat as well.

My take on Adobe Reader:
It's a bit like sending someone a paper photocopy of an Excel Workbook and asking them to change some formulas in the Excel file. - Not possible, but hey thats what PDFs were designed for! - Security

>>Our legal analysts aren't even sure if the digital signature is valid enough to prevent a lawsuit.

I'd guess not.

I have found plenty of articles that detail how Adobe Digital Signatures can be forged

e.g.

http://archives.neohapsis.com/archives/vulnwatch/2003-q1/0148.html
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Expert Comment

by:norgar
ID: 39472044
Hi there.

I see the user made this question a long time ago, and I don't know if that is the reason why the answer he got is not correct (perhaps acrobat didn't have the same features back then)

But simply if you want to enable a Digital Signature for use in Adobe Reader, in Acrobat you go to the Menu: File > Save as > Reader Extended PDF > Enable additional features...
And click 'Save Now'

Now you can send your pdf to anyone, and they can sign it regardless if the have acrobat or just adobe reader

Mostly posting this in case others stumble on the issue of their digital signatures not working

Regards
Andreas
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