5 Replies Latest reply on Jan 23, 2013 2:49 PM by Steven.Madwin

    Remove Labels from Signature


      Hello -


      In Acrobat X, how does one eliminate the labels (e.g., "cn=", "email=") from the Sign Document Appearance?  I select "Create New Appearance..." and de-select "Labels" and the Preview does not show labels, however, after I exit the Configure Signature Appearance dialog, the labels or designations continue to appear. (Other adjustments in Create New Appearance take effect).


      If "Labels" does not control the display of "cn=", etc. in the signature, please consider this a more general question: how does one remove "ou=", etc. from the signature.


      My readers (and, actually I don't) understand or recognize the terms "cn=" "ou=" - they do not add clarity to the digital siganture.


      Thank You,


      - Brent


      Acrobat X, Windows 7

        • 1. Re: Remove Labels from Signature
          Steven.Madwin Adobe Employee

          Hi Brent,


          If you're trying to get rid of the labels on an already signed document, you can't. The signature appearance is signed and changing it would break the signature, so they are there forever.


          On the other hand, since you've created a Custom Signature Appearance when you create a new signature then you'll have the option of selecting the new appearance at signing time and you will create the signature appearance without the labels.


          And just to be a bit geeky, the signature appearance (what you see on the page) isn't really the digital signature, but rather a pictorial representation of the signature. The signature proper is a hex encoded blob of data written into the PDF. To see it you would have to open the PDF file in a text editor. What you see in the signature field (which is just a special use form field) is just meant to convey the sense of the signature to the file recipient. As you can tell from when you creates the Custom Signature Appearance you can eliminate all of the text and just go with an image. You can also turn the background (the PDF trefoil logo) on and off, or replace it with a different background, but all of that has to be done at the time of signature creation, not post signing.



          • 2. Re: Remove Labels from Signature
            mbrentshelton Level 1

            Steve -


            Thank you for your thoughtful reply - sorry for my delayed response.


            I appreciate that I am unable to change the labels on an already signed document (and I do welcome the geeky insight!).


            However, my question centers around your second paragraph where I am unsuccessful in removing the labels (e.g., "cn=") from a signature that I apply to a document.  From the Abobe Acrobat X Sign Document dialog box, I select Appearance, Create New Appearance, and uncheck Labels.  I note in the preview that I do not see the labels, but when I sign a document I am unable to devise a means to not have "cn=", "ou=", "email=" and "c=" from what is displayed. 


            From my perspective, I do not believe that I know what purpose these labels provide (and the email label in front of an email address is not needed with my readers).


            So, my signature looks like:  "cn=M. Brent Shelton", "ou=VP Development", etc.    I do not find that the "cn=" or "ou=" aid my readers.


            How do I have just "M. Brent Shelton"  "VP Development" be displayed when I place my signature?


            Thank you for any assistance.


            - Brent

            • 3. Re: Remove Labels from Signature

              Hello, I too need to know how to simply show the Name and title without displaying the labels, "cn="

              Please help

              • 4. Re: Remove Labels from Signature
                pegasusdba Level 1

                We ended up reverting to using a stamp - an image of the signature and a custom field at the bottom showing user name and date.

                NOTE: to preserve the stamp, print to Acrobat PDF.


                • 5. Re: Remove Labels from Signature
                  Steven.Madwin Adobe Employee

                  Hi All,


                  When you create a custom signature appearance what you want to do (to get rid of the cn= et.al.) is to deselect (turn off) the Distinguished Name checkbox.


                  This is going to get really geeky... the Distinguished Name (aka the "DN") is an array of elements that define the identity of the signer. These elements are defined in several specifications, but what it boils down to is without the labels you'd have a hard time telling the elements apart. It may seem that the value of the "cn" entry (which stands for common name) appears to be easy to figure out, but there are so many items that can go into the DN without labels it would become hard to figure out what is what. For the most part all you usually see is a common name, an e-mail, an organization, and an organizational unit, but you can also add numbers such as a serial number, an age, a postal code, a maximum amount of money that can be spent among other things. Without the labels you wouldn't be able to tell them apart.


                  The best thing to do is just create a signature appearance that omits the DN altogether and you eliminate the confusing nomenclature.


                  The downside of using a stamp is you don't get the advantages that you do from a digital signature. A digital signature provides two things. First, the user can tell if the contents of the document has been modified. That is, if someone were to change the document it would invalidate the signature. The second thing is the identity of the signer is guaranteed. A stamp doesn't provide either of those protections. The digital signature provides cryptographic assurance of the documents integrity.