Is this possible with Adobe and Digital IDs

Posted on 2006-07-18
Last Modified: 2013-12-03
I just want to know if it is possible to:

a) have more than one user sign a PDF form with their digital ID
b) use Acrobat Reader 7 to accomplish this

I am working on making forms, don't have a clue how to make digital IDs for everyone on the domain (neither does our IS Admin). Is it possible to accomplish what I am trying to do just by purchasing Acrobat Pro 7 (to make the forms) and letting all other users in the company upgrade to Reader 7?

Any help on making the IDs would be great. Don't want to purchase third party certs. Environment is Windows 2000/2003 Server I think.
Question by:JF0
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LVL 44

Expert Comment

by:Karl Heinz Kremer
ID: 17133209
To sign a document requires to also save the document with the embedded signature. Reader can only display documents, so even if Reader would allow you to sign a document, you would not be able to save it.

However, you can "Reader enable" your form and specifically allow users to sign and save a document. For that, you can either send a really big check to Adobe (you need one of their server products), or you can pay a relatively modest fee to (, to have your form reader enabled.

A form can be signed by multple users. You just need to add multiple signature fields. When you click on a signature field. you do get the message "You are about to apply the first Digital Signature to this document", so Acrobat does know how to handle multple signatures.

You can create self-signed certificates with Acrobat that can be exported (and therefore used by other users to verify your signature).
LVL 16

Author Comment

ID: 17134049
Im not worried about saving, the PDF forms will be accessed via the intranet. Will be submitted to the next person via an email link button.

As for the self-signed certificate, I have already looked into that option, but it doesn't seem logical to have 100+ employees each do this and send it out to everyone else. That is my understanding, you make a cert, and have to send out a public key to the recipient? I would love it if Windows can automatically give users on the domain a cert, is this possible?
LVL 16

Author Comment

ID: 17134061
And one more quick question, does emailing the form after it is digitally signed via the email button count as saving? Would like to have user 1 get the form from the intranet, sign it, send it via the email button to user 2, user 2 signs it and send it to the final person who can print it out and file it.
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LVL 44

Accepted Solution

Karl Heinz Kremer earned 500 total points
ID: 17137458
You should be worried about saving: In order to apply a signature, the document has to be saved. Reader cannot save normal PDFs, so you cannot use Reader until the files are created with Reader Extensions enabled (which means that saving and signing would be allowed in Reader). And yes, in order to email the (modified) form, you need the right to save it. Reader cannot do anything with modified forms besides displaying them. Adobe wants to sell you a few more copies of the full version of Acrobat, so they made sure that all the features that go beyond just displaying a PDF file will result in revenue - either by you buying Acrobat, or by using the reader extensions.

So, if you only want to use Reader, and you don't want to Reader enable your documents, that's pretty much the end of this project.

In regards to certificates: Acrobat can use certificates that are stored in the Windows keystore. How you get them in there is not important for Acrobat. I haven't used the Windows keystore, so I would not be of much help in that regard. There is some information on the Microsoft web page (e.g.

LVL 16

Author Comment

ID: 17138114
OK. I am at the adobe site, and I can find the Reader Extentions page, however I can not find any info on pricing, or other software I might need.

On one of their Reader Extension examples, they have a "For Office use Only" section that doesn't allow the first user to check one of the boxes. How is this enabled in the PDF? does it explicitly define a person to sign it? A group to sign it (where office users would be in this group like in Windows)?

I just want to make sure I don't need any piece of software before I give me expense report in. The Adobe pages are so confusing, I keep going in loops. To my understanding I just need a copy of Acrobat Pro (to design the forms) and the Reader Extentions. Do I need an Adobe server behind this? I can not find any info on this that I understand.

So far I have down:
Acrobat Pro 7 - $450
Acrobat Reader 7 - $0
Live Cycle Reader Extentions - ?
Specific Adobe Server behind this - ?
LVL 16

Author Comment

ID: 17138255
With some research, the suggestion Form Router is probably the way to go since this is a small company.

Still curios about the Specific section to allow certain people (or groups?) to edit a portion of the form.
LVL 44

Expert Comment

by:Karl Heinz Kremer
ID: 17138402
They don't list a price, because there is no one-size-fits-all approach: They will look at your organization, size, number of documents, ... and then quote you a price. It will be at least five digits... Chances are that you would get a better price if you would just buy a copy of Acrobat for everybody in your organization (at least with a volume license).

What do you mean by edit a portion of the form? A form is either editable, or not. It's a property of the form, not of who is viewing it.
LVL 16

Author Comment

ID: 17138547
Lets say its a vacation request form. The employee would fill out the info and NOT be able to tic the "approved by manager" or "rejected by manager" box. Only the manager(or group of managers) would be allowed to tic those boxes.
LVL 44

Expert Comment

by:Karl Heinz Kremer
ID: 17138761
As stated before, that's not possible. This is the reason why you would use digital signatures: You can verify who signed the document and therefore approved the vacation request.

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