Signature Tools in Your PDF Software


Did you know that there’s more than one way in PDF software such as PhantomPDF to apply your signature to a document?

The two ways are:

  1. Quick PDF sign
  2. Digital signature

They’re very different—not only in how you create signatures, but also what information they provide. Let’s take a closer look.

Quick PDF Sign

The Quick PDF Sign feature allows you create signatures and add them directly to pages. Unlike the digital signature and Digital ID, which we cover below, quick signatures don’t carry any of the attributes that a digital signature does nor are they registered with any certificate authorities. It’s basically an image of your signature that you can create by either scanning a sheet of paper with your signature on it or by drawing your signature with a mouse in your PDF software.

When you need to apply your signature to a document, you select PROTECT > Protect > PDF Sign > Create Signature. That’s all there is to it. It’s effective but not nearly as secure as the other options.

Signing a PDF document using a digital signature

Digital signatures created in PDF software may look like traditional handwritten signatures, but they do much more.

Digital signatures provide identifying information beyond your ink signature or your Quick PDF Sign signature, such as the date, time, and state of the document when you signed it.

Digital signatures also allow you to design a signature, or multiple signatures, for different types of documents. When designing a digital signature, you have the option of including attributes like:

  • An image of your handwritten signature
  • Your name
  • Your company’s logo
  • Your photo
  • Contact information
  • The reason for signing the document
  • Your location

The list goes on, enabling you to give as much detail as you need in order to validate your identity.

Turn your digital signature into a Digital ID

You can increase security by turning your signature into a Digital ID if you register it with a certificate authority (CA). A CA is a trusted entity that issues electronic documents, called digital certificates, to verify a digital entity’s identity on the internet. A digital certificate contains a public key used to encrypt and decrypt your digital signature.

You distribute the certificate that contains the public key and other identifying information to those people who need to use it to verify your identity, validate your signature, or encrypt a document for you. Only your private key can unlock information that was encrypted using your certificate, so make sure to store your digital ID in a safe place.

You can not only obtain a digital ID from a CA but also create a self-signed digital ID with Foxit PhantomPDF. Digital IDs are usually password-protected and you can store them on a computer in PKCS#12 file format or in the Windows Certificate Store.

Signing a PDF document

To sign a document using Foxit PhantomPDF software, use the Sign Document dialog box and choose one from the drop-down menu.

Note that multiple people can sign a document and do so more than once if necessary. Using your PDF software, you also have the ability to validate other people’s signatures. Here’s what to look for:

  • The question mark The question mark icon indicates the signature is not validated.
  • The check mark The check mark icon indicates that the signature is valid.
  • The red “x”  The red “x” icon indicates that the signature is invalid because the document has been altered or corrupted since the signature was applied.
  • The caution triangle  The caution triangle icon indicates the document was modified after the signature was added; however, the signature is valid.
  • The person with a question mark The person with a question mark icon  icon indicates the signature validity is unknown because the signer’s certificate isn’t in your list of trusted identities.

For added security, you can password protect your signature so that anyone else using your PDF software can’t forge a document with your signature.

For more information on how to create digital signatures and the signature features in PhantomPDF, refer to the user manuals. Digital signatures are an easy way to authenticate PDF documents. Why not start today!

35 thoughts on “Signature Tools in Your PDF Software

  1. makemydsc

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  2. Sherrie F Butler

    I am trying to add signature fields for multiple pages of a document. The clients will not want their signatures saved on our devices so can I have people sign the document (draw the signature) without saving it as a digital signature?

  3. keith

    I’m looking to use Foxit to replace the adobe reader for Digitial cert signing. But i can’t get Foxit to pull up the cert store to select my signing cert. Please advise how if possible to sign pdf using Foxit.

    1. Laura Silva

      Hi keith,
      When you try to place signature in PDF file with our Foxit Reader or Foxit PhantomPDF,you should find all of the available digital IDs in the ‘save as’ drop-down list in “Sign document” dialog box.
      All of the Certificates stored under the “Personal tab” in windows certificate store are also listed in the ‘save as’ drop-down list in “Sign document” dialog box when you try to sign document with Foxit Reader/Foxit PhantomPDF.

  4. Katherine

    Is it possible to use the electronic signature in an office where I need patients to sign a consent form? Could we get a “digital signature pad” type thing to use instead of the mouse? Lately we print the form, have them sign it, scan it back into the computer and then shred the paper. Would be much simpler if I could offer a digital signature!

    1. FOXITBLOG Post author

      If the PDF sign featured is greyed out you may be working with a secure PDF. To check if the PDF is secured please go to File-Properties. If the PDF is secured you will need to request an unsecure version to sign

  5. Genesis

    When you need to apply your signature to a document, you select PROTECT > Protect > PDF Sign > Create Signature. That’s all there is to it. It’s effective but not nearly as secure as the other options.

    Sorry that is NOT all ther is to its
    How do In extract my signature from a scanned document?

    1. FOXITBLOG Post author

      To extract Signatures you would need to use the redact feature in Foxit PhantomPDF Business. To redact
      To mark the text or graphics for redaction, do the following:
       Select Protect > Redaction > Mark for Redaction, and the hand tool changes into a Cross
       (Optional)Double-click an image to mark an entire image which will be in a red rectangle.
       (Optional)Hold the pointer over the text you want to redact and drag a rectangle around it.
       The rectangle will be filled with black color once moving close the pointer to the selected area.


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