Digital PDF signature

You can digitally sign a PDF document either by creating or importing your certificates using the professional edition of novaPDF. This tutorial is applicable only if you have installed novaPDF Professional, so if it's not installed on your system visit the Download page to download and install it.

On this page: What is a PDF digital signature? How to digitally sign a PDF document by using (creating or importing) a certificate from system certificates Video Tutorial System Certificates How to digitally sign a PDF document by importing the certificate from file Video Tutorial Certificate from file Customizing a digital signature layout and position in the PDF file

novaPDF Professional has the ability to digitally sign a PDF file when creating it from another file format or if the PDF document does not have any digital signatures added initially. The digital signature will be applied automatically when the source file is converted to the PDF document. All you have to do is to enable and customize the Signatures feature in novaPDF’s Printing Preferences window and all the created PDF files will contain the digital signature applied. The option can be disabled at any time or a separate Profile containing the option can be created and used when needed. The novaPDF Signatures option is very useful when you are using it for branding, protecting and copyrighting your information in the resulting PDF file.

What is a PDF digital signature?

A digital PDF signature can be defined as an electronic approval of a PDF document or to specific terms from a PDF document. Its purpose is also to help ensure the integrity of a digitally signed PDF file (signifies that the document has not been changed in any way since it was originally signed and the signer cannot claim that he did not digitally sign the document afterwards).
Other reasons why more and more organizations choose to use this type of digital signatures include:

  1. Saving money. The electronic signing method eliminates the cost of paper, printing, and courier services.
  2. Document integrity. Organizations that publish/release any kind of PDF material on the internet can now be assured that the PDF documents will not be modified in any way to alter the organization’s brand or credibility.
  3. Work efficiency. Handling a document electronically (clicking a button or entering a password) is way faster than circulating it through interoffice mail or courier.

As a conclusion, digital signatures represent a vital way to leverage an organization’s assets and increase savings based on key technology investments.

How to digitally sign a PDF document by using (creating or importing) a certificate from system certificates

Configuring novaPDF to add a digital signature when creating PDF files can be done through its Printing Preferences window. Note that once the PDF Signatures feature is enabled and a digital signature is selected, that specific digital signature will be added everytime a PDF file is created with novaPDF from any document.
To add (create or import) a digital signature from system certificates:

  1. Go to Start -> Devices and Printers (or go to Start, type control printers and press ok). Right-click on novaPDF and select Printing Preferences.
  2. In the Printing Preferences window go to the Signatures tab and check the Enable signatures option. You'll see the Certificate button becoming active.
  3. Select System certificates and click on the Browse button. The Select certificate window will appear with all the personal certificates installed on the system.
  4. To create a new certificate for digitally signing your PDF file, click on the Create button and fill in the details of the signature certificate (Common name, E-mail, Organization, Organization unit, Locality, State/Province and Country).
  5. After filling in the desired details, click on OK and the new signature certificate will be created.
  6. If you want to use a certificate previously added in the system certificates repository to digitally sign your PDF, select it from the list and click on OK to use it.
  7. As an optional step, in the Select certificate window, you can also view the details for a certificate by selecting it and clicking on View, you can export a certificate for other uses by clicking on the Export button and following the Export Wizard or you can remove a certificate by selecting it and clicking on the Remove button.
  8. After choosing (creating or importing) the certificate from the list and clicking on OK, the certificate will be used for your signature.
  9. In the Sign On section you can choose on which page to apply the digital signature (First page, Last page or a specific page number).

Video Tutorial System Certificates:

How to digitally sign a PDF document by importing the certificate from file

With novaPDF you can import Personal Information Exchange certificates (*.pfx, *.p12) to use for digitally signing your created PDF documents from a file in your local computer.
To import a certificate from file to sign your PDF:

  1. Go to Start -> Devices and Printers (or go to Start, type control printers and press ok). Right-click on novaPDF and select Printing Preferences.
  2. In the Printing Preferences window go to the Signatures tab and check the Enable signatures option.
  3. In the Certificate section choose the From file option and fill in the exact path to the certificate or browse for it by pressing the “…” button.
  4. If the certificate has the private key included you also need to fill in the certificate password when importing it in the Password field.
  5. To preview your imported digital signature click on the Preview button.
  6. Click on OK and the certificate will be used for your digital signature.
  7. In the Sign On section you can choose on which page to apply the digital signature (First page, Last page or a specific page number).

Video Tutorial Certificate from file:

Customizing a digital signature layout and position in the PDF file

When adding a digital signature for your PDF files you have the Customize and the Position buttons. These buttons allow you to set additional digital signature options and place the digital signature in a specific position in the PDF document.
To customize your digital signature layout:

  1. Click on the Customize button in the Signatures tab and the Customize signature window will appear.
  2. In the Customize signature window you have several options available to change the layout and content of your digital signature:
  3. a. Signature size – This section lets you define a custom Width and Height for the digital signature.
    b. Graphic image – In this section you can add an image or a logo to the digital signature. You can also setup the Opacity for the selected image.
    c. Graphic name – In this section you can setup the Color and Opacity for your digital signature name.
    d. Signing details – This section allows you to add your Contact Info, a Reason for signing (such as I agree with the terms in this document etc.) and your current Location (country, city, institution, company, organization etc. where the PDF was digitally signed)
    e. Show – This section allows you to show or hide certain content in your digital signature such as Certificate details, Location, Name, Detail labels etc.
    f. Signature details font – In this section you can setup a custom font size for your digital signature.
    g. In the Preview section you can view the changes made to your digital signature in real time.
  4. After finishing with the digital signature customization, click on OK and your digital signature will be saved with the options you have selected for it.

To set a custom position for your digital signature:

  1. Click on the Position button in the Signatures tab.
  2. In the Signature position window you have several options available that allow customizing the digital signature position:
  3. a. Size – This section allow you to define the Height and Width of the digital signature on the PDF page.
    b. Origin - By selecting the Align to right option (available when the Center vertically option is disabled) you can have the digital signature aligned to the right margin of the page and also you can set a custom Top origin (distance between the center of the watermark and the top margin of the page). By selecting the Align to bottom option (available when the Center horizontally option is disabled) you can have the digital signature aligned to the bottom margin of the page and also you can set a custom Left origin (distance between the center of the watermark and the left margin of the page). If you don't want to use the custom settings anymore you can click on the Reset to Default button to return to the initial configuration of this page.
    c. Units – In this section you can set the measuring units for the signature from Millimeters, Points and Inches.
    d. Preview - This will show in real time how the options you set affect the look of the digital signature on the PDF document.
  4. After finishing with the digital signature position setup, click on OK and your digital signature will be saved in the position you have selected for it.

This tutorial shows how to add and how to customize a digital signature in a PDF document by using novaPDF. If you have suggestions on how to improve this article add a comment or rate it.

Applies to:

  • novaPDF Professional v7.x or higher

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