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Multiple digital signatures

New Here ,
Sep 05, 2008 Sep 05, 2008

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I am trying to create a document that can be certified as ready for review and signing and then circulated for multiple signatures .

The document( a standard operating procedure ) must reviewed and signed by 5 or 6 people and I have to be able to prove it has not been changed other than being signed but I can't figure out how to make signing the form fields as an allowable action.

Here is what I'm doing now

create document in word and convert it to a pdf in adobe acrobat 8 pro on windows xp
in the form menu click create new form
click through and use the current document to create form
In Live Cycle designer I :
Add the digital signature fields
then I'm lost

This seem the closest to what i want to do but this seems to complicated
http://www.adobe.com/devnet/livecycle/articles/multiple_sigs_tip.html

I don't think I need a policy server but I'm not sure.

I just need to invalidate signatures if someone uses acrobat to edit the document text and images after it has been certified and/or certified and signed.

Thanks

John
TOPICS
Security digital signatures and esignatures

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Adobe Employee ,
Sep 06, 2008 Sep 06, 2008

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Assuming there are no other form fields needed except for the signature fields, the following should work:

1. Create the PDF from Word.
2. Open in Acrobat. Add the signature fields using the Forms > Add or Edit Fields (Acrobat 9) or equivalent in earlier versions. No need to go into Designer for a simple workflow like this one.
3. You can then save the document and start it around for signing, but I would suggest one additional step:
4. In the first signature field, certify the document (right click Certify with visible signature). In the certify Document dialog that comes up, under "Permitted Actions after Certifying", select "Form fill-in and digital signatures".

5. Then each signer adds a signature and sends the document to the next person.

Any changes to the document other than additional signatures will invalidate the signatures.

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New Here ,
Sep 10, 2008 Sep 10, 2008

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Thanks Phillip

The upgrade to 9 made the process a lot easier. Now I just haveto figure out my signature pad working.

If you don't mind me asking what is the advantage of certify the document befor e circulating it?

Thanks again

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New Here ,
Sep 10, 2008 Sep 10, 2008

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Certifying the document lets you allow subsequent signers to apply their digital signatures without Acrobat seeing the signatures as changes and invalidating your signature.

Philip -- thanks for the quick directions.

- Andy McGavin

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New Here ,
Jul 20, 2009 Jul 20, 2009

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Does this technique of creating multiple signature boxes using the Digital Signature Tool, then certifying the document in the first signature box to be signed and then signing the rest work in Acrobat Professional 8?  I must be missing something because I can't seem to make it work.  I've even tried using the "Place Signature" command but that immediately insists that I sign the signature box immediately.

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LEGEND ,
Jul 20, 2009 Jul 20, 2009

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You cannot use multiple digital signatures, since later signatures will invalidate the previous signatures.

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New Here ,
Jul 20, 2009 Jul 20, 2009

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Then why does Phillip Levy indicate that it can be done and Andy Gavin indicate that he's done it?  I'm confused.

In fact, I'm even more confused when I see a similar method outlined in the book "Adobe Acrobat 8 in the Office" by Donna L. Baker published by the Adobe Press where she creates a PDF Package with lots of combined digitally signed PDF documents with a cover page which has *TWO* signatures on it by a CFO (Ms. Mittal) and a CEO (Mr. Baker), one signing after the other before returning the doubly-signed (even if you ignore the two separately signed PDFs in the PDF Package from the two branch managers in the example) to the PDF Package maker.

It doesn't make sense for a document to disallow multiple signings because in practical applications, documents get signed multiple times before they are formally accepted (e.g., first by the preparer to certify the document and its authorship, then by a reviewer, then by approvers up the chain of command, etc.)

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Adobe Employee ,
Jul 23, 2009 Jul 23, 2009

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Hi Michael,

I’m not sure what you are trying to convey, but you can most certainly add multiple digital signatures to a PDF document without invalidating the previous signature. If the document is not certified, then in Acrobat 8 and earlier, a subsequent signature causes the previous signature to be valid with changes. In Acrobat 9, subsequent signatures alone will not display as changes. In all cases, if the document is certified, and the certifying signature allows for subsequent signatures, then the approval (regular) signatures do not display as changes to the document.

Steve

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New Here ,
Jul 23, 2009 Jul 23, 2009

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Do subsequent signatures after the certification signature get invalidated in Acrobat 8 even if the certification signature permits comments and form fields (a signature being a form field) to continue to be entered?

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Adobe Employee ,
Jul 23, 2009 Jul 23, 2009

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All of the signatures will be valid in Acrobat\Reader 8.x.  I've attached a demo file you you can see for yourself.

Steve

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New Here ,
Jul 23, 2009 Jul 23, 2009

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Yes, but you created the doc in Acrobat 9 from what the properties tell me.  Can I do the same in Acrobat 8 Pro?  I seem to be trying and failing with a "There is no PDDoc associated with this CosDoc" error during the validate phase when I re-open the document in Acrobat 8 Professional (which perplexes me no end).  Googling that string returns only two hits with no relevance.  And googling for PDDoc or CosDoc gives me lots of entries in the developer area (which doesn't help me, a user, one whit).  Any clues where I went wrong in the following procedure in Acrobat 8 Professional:

1.  Use the Digital Signature Tool to create multiple signature form fields.

2.  Select the first one and then certify (instead of signing) it, specifying that comments and signatures are to be allowed.  (This seems to work fine and I get the blue ribbon icon showing up.)

3.  Select the next one and try to sign it (since it is no longer possible to "certify" it as it has already been certified in step 2).  As soon as I try to sign it, the blue ribbon icon of the certification becomes a question mark even though the signature gets a checkmark.  All subsequent signatures then invalidate the prior signatures.

I'm wondering if I the upgrade from Acrobat Professional 7 to Acrobat Professional 8 screwed something up because I vaguely remember it working fine in Acrobat Professional 7 (I recall just installing CS3 over CS2 to get Acrobat Pro 8).

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Adobe Employee ,
Jul 24, 2009 Jul 24, 2009

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Hi Kok-Yong,

The short answer is the document you are trying to sign is corrupt. The fact you are seeing the problem when trying to sign is not related to the signing process, but rather it comes up there because the relationship between the signature fields (which are just a special type of form field) and the underlying document structure has been broken. Although there are multiple ways to break the document structure, an example of what might cause this is the computer crashing right as the file is being saved.

If you reply to this message and attach the file I can take a look and try to see where the corruption lies, or see if it can be fixed.

Steve

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 30, 2009 Jul 30, 2009

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I have a similar issue with a PDF that is NOT corrupt.  I can duplicate the issue by creating new documents for testing.  I created a two page document in Adobe 9 Pro that has a total of 4 digital signature fields. I selected the "Extend Features in Adobe Reader" option and saved the form.  I then sent the form to a user who has Adobe Reader 8.1.  They were able to open the PDF, use the Topaz signature pad to create the signature but there is not an option for certifying the signatures.  I can only select this option if I use the Acrobat Standard or Pro...I do not have this option when using Adobe Reader to sign the document.

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Adobe Employee ,
Jul 30, 2009 Jul 30, 2009

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Hi Bobby,

The ability to add a certifying signature is limited to Acrobat, it is not an enabled feature in Reader. The purpose of the certifying signature is for the document author to attest to the integrity of what they created and to allow the author to control what can be done to the document (e.g. whether or not you can add a comment). Since you cannot author a document in Reader there is no reason for Reader to be able to apply a certifying signature.

Steve

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 31, 2009 Jul 31, 2009

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That makes sense...I wish I had the option so that the signatures weren’t showing as invalid...Adobe should really allow you to hard code that option into the signature field.

Since you answered that question, maybe you can help with another...same form, created a button at the bottom to "Submit" the form in an email.  The button works but all it does is create the email with a simple subject line and I'd like to be able to specify the subject line based on the contents of one of the fields in the form.  Example:  The form has a field for the users last name, I'd like either the form to be renamed when it is sent and call on the contents of that field to supply the name, or for the subject to be pulled from that field.

I have seen a forum post on here about that but there was no resolution for it...any guidance would be appreciated.  The forum I have seen so far is http://forums.adobe.com/thread/336558

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Adobe Employee ,
Jul 31, 2009 Jul 31, 2009

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Hi Bobby,

I’ve attached a file to this post with an example of what you are looking to do. Whatever data gets entered into the text field will show up in the subject line of the mail message when you click the submit button.

The mail issue aside, what I’m really concerned about is the notion that adding a digital signature will invalidate the previous signature. An invalid signature is displayed with a red X, either on the signature field (Acrobat 8.x and earlier), or in the document message bar and on the signature panel (Acrobat 9 and later). Is this what you are seeing?

Thanks,

Steve

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 31, 2009 Jul 31, 2009

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The Attachement isn't available...

Attachments:
  • mailtoExample.pdf (47.1 K) QUEUED

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Adobe Employee ,
Jul 31, 2009 Jul 31, 2009

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Hi Bobby,

The forum software is weird that way. I can see the file is queued up, but I don't know when it will get posted. I don't have any control over when it becomes available for download. Hopefully in the not too distant future, but it will become accessible at some point.

Steve

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 03, 2009 Aug 03, 2009

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Thanks Steve, this works like a champ but the only portion this java script doesn't do is attach the completed form to the email and I can't figure out the proper syntax for including 2 fields in the Subject.  So if I have 2 fields, one for "Applicant Last Name" and one for "Applicant First Name", the synax for getting both fileds in the subject so the subject says "Access Request Form for Doe, John".  Your assistance is TREMENDOUSLY helpful!!!

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Adobe Employee ,
Aug 03, 2009 Aug 03, 2009

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Hi Bobby,

I’d suggest looking at http://livedocs.adobe.com/acrobat_sdk/9/Acrobat9_HTMLHelp/wwhelp/wwhimpl/js/html/wwhelp.htm?href=JS_... for help with JavaScript. When you get there, if you don’t see the Navigation tree in the left panel, be sure to click the Show Navigation button in the upper left corner of the web page. From the Navigation Panel click on the JavaScript API link and you can see all of the main topics. Alternately, you could click on the Search button, search on "mail", and find examples of what you are trying to do.

Were you able to see the JavaScript I assigned to the button? If not, select the View > Toolbars menu item and then select Advanced Editing from the fly-out menu. Click on the Select Object toolbar button and then right mouse click on the button and select Properties from the pop-up menu. Select the Actions tab from the Button Properties dialog and then click on (highlight) Run a JavaScript. That will enable the Edit button which you need to click on. That’s where you can see the example and make your changes.

Steve

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 04, 2009 Aug 04, 2009

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Yes, I was able to see the code and this link is full of good information but I don't have the requsite knowledge of Java for any of this to make much sense.

/*var myFieldData = this.getField ("APPLICANT LAST NAME");

var mySubjectName = (myFieldData.valueAsString);

app.mailMsg(false, TEST@TESTEMAIL.COM, "", "", "Access Request for"+mySubjectName, "Please process the attached form for acess.");

This is the code you sent that I altered, the "APPLICANT LAST NAME" field is one of the 2 I'd like to pull so that the Subject appears as "Access Request for Doe, John".  The code doesn't allow for the PDF to be sent with the email.  In looking at the information at the link you refernced, it seems the "mailDoc" command is what I need but this command specifies a the To: field as well as the Subject. 

Ideally I don't want the users to interact with the mail window, once they click the submit form button, I'd like to have the the two fields refernced above to be pulled from the form, added to the subject, the form attached to the email and it just get's sent. 

It seems I'm very close to gettingt hs to work but I'm not sure if the syntax of each of these bits of code work together or not or how to put them together to make it work.

topmostSubform.Page1.Submit_Button::mouseUp - (JavaScript, client)

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Adobe Employee ,
Aug 04, 2009 Aug 04, 2009

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Hi Bobby,

Replace the line app.maiMsg with the following code:

this.mailDoc({

        bUI: false,

        cTo: "foo@example.com",

        cSubject: "Form submitted by "+mySubjectName,

        cMsg: "The completed PDF form is attached."

    });

Obviously, you will need to change the cTo string and modify the subject and message as you see fit.

Steve

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New Here ,
May 10, 2011 May 10, 2011

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Steve,

In post #9 you provided a file (certMultiSigs.pdf) that shows multiple signatures on the same document without invalidating one another.When I look at the document properties it says signing is allowed, but when I pull up the Sign & Certify actions under the Tools menu the Sign Document option is greyed out. Why is this and how to overcome it? (I'm having a similar problem on a document I'm generating.)

BTW, I'm using Adobe Acrobat X Pro.

Thanks,

Tyson

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Adobe Employee ,
May 10, 2011 May 10, 2011

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Hi Tyson,

Regarding the file I previously posted, there are no empty signature fields left to sign. If you were to go into the Signature Panel, expand Rev. 2 or Rev. 3, and then select "Click to view this version" you would end up rolling the document back to before the last signature was added. You could then Save that copy, open the newly saved copy and you would be able to sign it.

My guess is your next question will be why doesn't Place Signature work? It's because the very first signature was a Certifying signature and one of the features of using certifying signatures is it allows the document author to prevent changes to the PDF file, thus preserving the documents visual integrity. When I certified the file it blocked adding any other form fields to the file and the Place Signature function requires the user to be able to add a signature field (and a signature field is just a special purpose form field) where ever they choose.

As far as the file you are creating, I'm not sure why you can't sign it. If you are creating the file in LiveCycle Designer, you cannot add fields on the fly to XFA documents. If you could give me the steps you follow to generate the doc i might have an idea as to why you cannot sign, or better yet, add the file as an attachment to your reply and I can take a look.

Steve

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New Here ,
Jul 31, 2009 Jul 31, 2009

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Hi Steve,

Sorry for the delay:  I got inundated at work.

I generate the PDF file afresh each time from a word processing program (Pages from the iWork '08 package) on my Mac (OS X 10.4.11) and there has been no system crash, nor a crash while saving the document.  I use the PDF generation drivers that are built into the operating system itself.   Then, to the generated PDF, I add  another PDF into it (all this before I even add signature blocks, etc.) and that other PDF is fully readable and this combining of documents doesn't results in any errors either.

Unfortunately, since the document itself is a company confidential document, I can't release it for inspection.  I'll see if I can duplicate the situation with a test document.

Kok-Yong

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