At present, paperless offices are becoming more and more popular, which not only improves work efficiency but is also a big step in environmental protection. PDF files have gradually become the preferred file type for office workers because of their strong stability. PDF documents are used to share all kinds of information, including that of a confidential nature or with a legal value, like a contract, record major real estate deals, submit tax filings, confirm payment for orders, etc.
But how do we ensure the validity of PDF files? Electronic signatures can meet your requirements.
In this article, we will start with the definition of signature, and describe how electronic signatures can be applied to various industries. I believe you will have a deeper understanding of electronic signatures after reading this article.
Electronic Signature vs Digital Signature
There are two major different ways to sign a PDF. But the two must not be confused with each other. Now we will introduce the difference between these two.
Users can use their fingertips, stylus, or mouse to create hand-drawn ink annotations, as well as generate signatures from text and scanned images. These signatures can also be stored for reuse.
A digital signature is an algorithm and encryption scheme that establishes the authenticity of a digital document. Digital signatures are applied to secure the PDF documents through a digital certificate acquired from Certificate Authorities (CAs). The digital certificates contain the signee’s unique digital identity. They are used to validate the document and ensure authenticity and verify the identity of the user who signed the PDF document.
Not only are the signatures created differently, but the information carried by the two signatures is also different.
Often, the digital signature is marked with additional metadata, such as the date and time of the signature, the IP address, the speed of signing, and biometric data like the method of input, pressure sensitivity, and touch radius. For more information, please click here.
When should we Electronically sign a PDF?
Now we'll discuss when electronic signatures are required.
The first is the handwritten signature method which is usually used when confirming documents between individuals or companies. For example, hotels, homestays, trade industries, etc., generally use handwritten signatures when signing contracts confirmed by both parties. Within the company, the review and confirmation of documents can also take handwritten signatures / generate signatures from text and scanned images. It is valid only if both parties agree with it.
For user scenarios such as citizen information forms, tax forms, and contracts between companies, digital signatures with certificates are generally used. For example, when we fill out tax information, we can complete it in a PDF form and sign a digital signature with a personal digital ID, which can not only ensure the validity of the document, but also realize digitalization. Tax authorities can also use digital signatures for approval.
The regulations on electronic signatures in the laws of different countries may be different, so before choosing an electronic signatures solution, you may need to check the definition of this item in local laws in advance.
There is a lot of software that provides electronic signatures, such as DocuSign, etc., but if you want to meet your signature needs and truly ensure document security and privacy, integrating the SDK into your own software is undoubtedly the best choice.
To find out how our signature SDK fits your use case, please contact us for more information.