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. electronic Signature

    Signature is a means of authenticating a document as valid to be used further. The conventional mode of signing demands for the use of materials like paper and pen. However, the development of digitization has revolutionized the technique of document verification. One of the prime changes is the growing trend of replacing traditional pen-paper signing with an online signature.


    I am able to insert only one digital signature at a time. My file contains 79 pages. How can I apply visible digital signatures in all pages at a time. I mean multiple pages in single document.

    1. Jesus Murillo

      I was told that legally, at least in Spain, it is enough to sign a single page to certify the whole document. That makes a lot of sense, because otherwise it would be very time consuming and significantly increase the size of the document.
      Nevertheless, you can sign the document as many times as you want, as long as yo do not lock the document after signing (option in the dialog just after drawing the rectangle for signing


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *