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Can't seem to figure out how to get the signature to work correctly

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25-08-2008

I am having trouble getting Digital Signatures to work on a PDF. This is the first time that I have ever tried to use them, and the first time that I used Lifecycle to convert a form instead of just building it one field at a time in Acrobat Pro.



In the past, I have gotten several PDF's that required signing. It seemed like an easy process, I clicked on the signature to sign it and then the email button to submit. The first time I did it before I had a signature, it walked me through the process of getting one set up, that was easy too.



Now, I need one, and all of the sudden, it doesn't seem so easy any more.



I have the CS3 Design suite with Acrobat Pro 8.0



I did the layout in InDesign, and the form conversion in Lifecycle. The signature fields were added there automatically, all looked good so far.



I open the file in Reader 9.0 and am unable to add a signature. I made sure that Reader 9.0 knew where my signature file was, but no matter what I do the document sign options are all greyed out.



I opened the form in Acrobat 8 and it will let me sign, but I have to immediately save/as or the signature doesn't take. I have to save it save/as twice because there are two signatures.



I figured there was some rights setting wrong, but can't find it. I have searched for signature, but can't seem to find a post that applies to my problem.



This is driving me crazy. This shouldn't be that difficult. I am missing something here.



Can anybody here shed some light on this?



Thanks,



Kirk

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25-08-2008

OK, playing with this some more, it looks to me like it is required to save as part of the signing process. Why does the digital signature not get forwarded on with the email submit? I mean, what is the point of being able to email-submit a digitally signed form when the digital signature doesn't survive the emailing?
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_Aandi_Inston_

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_Aandi_Inston_

_Aandi_Inston_

25-08-2008

Perhaps you are submitting in XML format. Because a signature is not

separable from a file, you have to submit in PDF format.



Aandi Inston
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26-08-2008

Yes, it was submitting as XML. I tried to figure out how to change the email button to submit the entire file, but couldn't figure that out.



Is this do-able?



Kirk
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_Aandi_Inston_

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_Aandi_Inston_

_Aandi_Inston_

26-08-2008

It is doable if everyone has Acrobat (not Reader). Do they?



Aandi Inston
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26-08-2008

Aandi,



They do not have the full Acrobat. This is a registration application for a cattle breed registry. The level of technical skill and programs on most farmers computers will be minimal. Many will have to be talked through downloading the free reader and setting up a signature. Anything too complicated will fail.



I had great hopes that this form that I was working on would increase registration income and make my job easier.



I am more familiar with some of the other Adobe programs than Acrobat and at first was just going to code it all as server side CFM on our association's website and feed the results straight in to the database, but I wanted a signature.



That is still an option.



What other alternatives do I have?



Thanks,



Kirk
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_Aandi_Inston_

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_Aandi_Inston_

_Aandi_Inston_

26-08-2008

Well, the key thing is that Reader is limited. For ordinary forms it

cannot submit in PDF format, but that's kind of irrelevant, because it

can't sign either. You have made many assumptions here... but you're

not the first, and won't be the last.



There may be options for you, however. What is the maximum imaginable

number of uses of a form. Maybe 50? 1000?



Aandi Inston
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27-08-2008

Maximum imaginable number of uses? That is a tough one to answer.



If 100% of the current paper forms were submitted electronically, that would be about 1500 a year from 200 different people, but that number isn't going to happen.



Realistically, probably 400 from 20 different people the first year.



I have a website on a ColdFusion 8 server and I know that there are a lot of acrobat functions built into it, but I haven't upgraded my CF skillset since about CF 5.
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27-08-2008

To enable the form to be signed in Reader you will need to open the form in Acrobat; goto Advanced>Enable Usage Rights and then save this copy of the form for sending out to the users.

The user should then be able to edit and digitally sign the form. They can then email the signed/saved pdf as a browsed for attachment or via the email icon in the toolbar. Note - if you have created an email submit button on the form, then unless they have Acrobat they could only return an xml file.



The other way to do this however is to create a dataset by 'distributing' the form. This time the Email Return button will send back a full version of the form. During the distribution setup you will have the option to email the form directly or to save it and send it later,so you can send to users as and when or even post it to a website or intranet.

When you receive and open the returned form it will ask whether you want to add it to the predetermined dataset (or if you want to categorise the returns into geographical areas for example, you could create new additional datasets at this point). If the form is data heavy however, the dataset will become very large and unwieldy pretty quickly, but you can export the data from it (including signatures) in xml format and import this into an Excel spreadsheet.

To simplify the Excel xml import process I'd recommend you carefully structure your form in the hierarchy (LiveCycle) into the order you would want the data items to appear in your spreadsheet and switch off those data items that you will not need by setting the default binding for the irrelevant fields to "None".

Clear as mud? Hope this helps.
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_Aandi_Inston_

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_Aandi_Inston_

_Aandi_Inston_

27-08-2008

Advanced>Enable Usage Rights will do this technically, but you need to

read the Acrobat EULA in detail. There is a contractual limit of 500,

suggesting this is unsuitable. Otherwise, preparing a form for this

requires a very heavyweight piece of server software.



The essential thing here is to realise that Adobe consider signing,

and some other things, to be value added stuff someone may be willing

to pay for. Hence, they do not just give it away.



Aandi Inston