Is there a way to combine pdfs without losing digital signatures?
If not, why not?
Yes, by making a portfolio. It is of course impossible to add pages to a signed document, because think what that could do to a signed contract. So they cannot be combined to a normal PDF, only a portfolio, which keeps them separate.
Digital Signature, unlike "wet" signatures, apply to the entire document as a whole, not just to the page where the signature is located.
If someone could add new pages to a document you signed and it would appear you agreed to those pages without having seen them before you won't be too happy, would you?
What if you're trying to combine signatures? I was able to use Acrobat DC distribute to send a document out to 4 people for signature, but the output is 4 duplicate documents with 4 different signatures when what I want is one document with all 4 signatures.
I believe Adobe Sign offers that functionality. If not, you can do it in serial instead of parallel, ie, send to person 1, who sends their signed copy to person 2, etc.
Or, if you don't want the people to be in direct contact with each other, send to person 1, who sends it back to you, you send it to person 2, etc.
EdZooks, thanks, but that is nonsense. Printing cannot preserve digital signatures, only pictures of signatures, which are useless and not legally valid.
"Test Screen Name's" comment deserves some consideration. My suggested approach converts the digitally signed document to a standard pdf. The result displays the signature information but the underlying digital signature is lost. In my case the original signers understand the distinction.
Creating a summary file is my goal. I combine a variety of digitally signed, along with other related, documentation into a single summary pdf. The original, digitally signed documents, are stored for future reference. I am increasingly convinced that it is not possible to combine digitally signed documents into a single, summary pdf, while maintaining the underlying digital signatures.
Users needing summary packets will benefit from my suggested approach. However as "Test Screen Name" suggests, my approach remains "legally valid" to the extent that the original digitally signed documents are available on demand.
EdZooks, thanks for the tip. I'm in exactly the same situation. I don't actually need the combined document to be "legally valid" but I do need a one file "packet" of various documents, some which are signed and some which are not. The portfolio method works in some cases but many users just see a screen that tells them to upgrade to Acrobat X or Acrobat Reader X.
This method does not work. Acrobat refuses to print as you highlight above to Microsoft Print to PDF or I also have a Adobe Acrobat printer option. Both come back with a log fail saying the files are protected and can't be printed to pdf.
Good. It shouldn't allow you to do that.
Thank you - it is rare to get such a simple answer upfront that works.
Correct Answer: Unable to not lose them
Ex: File 1 has dig sig (or more) - File 2 dose not
You sign the dig sig. - Print this to PDF - Use combine feature - Presto Done
Reason: Print to PDF removes the Dig Sig but leaves the Sig.
Pro Tip: Need another dig sig after you have combined files. Use Fill & Sign and add Place Signature. This is will allow you to create a size of the dig size box and then require to immediately save the combined file PDF. Now hover over your sig, right click and choose Clear Sig. Hit save. Presto you have not added a dig sig for the next person in the sig collection line. I am using Adobe Acrobar XI Version 11.0.09
As more organizations use electronic records for things like meeting minutes, where they want to create a set of signed minutes for each meeting, and then combine the files into a single file for a specific year, as the archive, it would seem Adobe Acrobat would grow to allow each signed PDF to be combined, but have the signatures tied to each file remain. So one could look at a signatures tree for the packaged file and see that each individual file still has its signature integrity. This equates to where one can put signed paper minutes pages into a locking record notebook, on numbered pages, and have each individual meeting (file) still be its own.
A Portfolio allows you to do just that.
Some organizations (like NIH) require uploads of flattened PDFs not portfolios, so combining a number of signed PDFs is a common need. Will just have to go back and request signer to sign in a word doc and then convert to PDF I suppose. Or some other non-digital method Hassle but OK
Then don't bother with digital signatures in the first place. Just use an image field or the Fill & Sign tool.