10 Replies Latest reply on Dec 13, 2012 4:31 PM by Rick Meikle

    Can't sign PDF that has Submit button

    Rick Meikle Level 1

      A client has a loan application that they've saved as a fillable PDF form that they post on their web site. I'm helping them make it so their customers can save it on the customer's computer after filling it out using Adobe Reader. I also added a Submit button that sends it by secure email to the client. But something about the Submit button makes it so the customer can no longer sign the application using the Sign button in Adobe Reader. Instead, a warning appears in the right-side pane that says...

      "The security settings on this document prevent adding text and/or placing a signature on it from Adobe Reader. To fill and sign this document you need to print it out."

      Anyone know how to change that so it can be signed while still being savable and submittable in Adobe Reader?

        • 1. Re: Can't sign PDF that has Submit button
          George_Johnson MVP & Adobe Community Professional

          What happens if you actually click the signature field in Reader? That message is very confusing and I believe it is referring to the EchoSign features, as opposed to dogital signatures. You should be able to tell by selecting: File > Properties > Security

           

          and confirming that signing is allowed. It should be if the document was Reader-enabled with Acrobat Pro or LiveCycle Reader Extensions.

          • 2. Re: Can't sign PDF that has Submit button
            Rick Meikle Level 1

            Hi, George. There is no signature field. If I add one, it wants to use an SSL Certificate. EchoSign is not involved. (Can't be used anyway, as far as I know, since the form user is unknown until it is submitted.) When I check the security settings (again, there is no signature field), it says there are none. But after adding the Submit button, the error message comes up. Even if I delete the Submit button it still comes up. But it works just fine before I add the Submit button. I suppose Adobe could make the whole process even more obtuse, but I can't image how. (And I've been making my living with Pagemaker/InDesign/Illustrator/Photoshop/Acrobat since the 80s.)

            • 3. Re: Can't sign PDF that has Submit button
              George_Johnson MVP & Adobe Community Professional

              Got it, and the signing feature you want to use is part of the EchoSign functionality that was recently added to Reader.

               

              In order for Reader (prior to 11) to be able to submit the entire filled-in PDF, the document has to be Reader-enabled. The problem is when you do this, you get that message which essentially says that the EchoSign functionality is not available for such a document. The exception to the form having to be Reader-enabled in order to save is when you use the EchoSign method. When you're done signing it flattens the form fields and any added text or e-signatures.

               

              This message is confusing because whether there's a digital signature field present or not, if the document was enabled with Acrobat Pro (as opposed to Standard), Reader users would be able to digitally sign the document. It is the EchoSign e-signature stuff that's not available.

               

              But none of this helps you, unless you decide to use the EchoSign service instead of your current workflow of submitting by email, which may not be a bad idea. It sounds like you're wanting to take advantage of the EchoSign functionality in Reader without actually using the service, but that won't fly. I think the best you can do without using the EchoSign service while still using the EchoSign functionality in Reader is to have the user email the document manually after they're done signing. The question then becomes: Would such a workflow conform to e-sig laws (e.g., UETA, ESIGN)?

              • 4. Re: Can't sign PDF that has Submit button
                Test Screen Name Most Valuable Participant

                I just feel the need to mention something. You say "secure email". You may have a web script and a special arrangement with your clients, but in general there is no such thing. People reading this thread should be aware that for secure transit of things like personal details and credit card numbers there is no alternative to submitting to a web script using https, and that even having the script send an email would break privacy laws and rules in many countries (unless it is guaranteed to stay within an intranet or VPN).

                • 5. Re: Can't sign PDF that has Submit button
                  Rick Meikle Level 1

                  Good point about "secure email". Poor choice of words. The form is on a web page secured by an SSL Certificate. (That part is handled by the webmaster. I'm not that knowledgeable about such things.) However, this has nothing to do with the signature problem, which comes up in the preparation of the PDF, before it is ever posted online.

                  • 6. Re: Can't sign PDF that has Submit button
                    Rick Meikle Level 1

                    Sorry if I'm being a bit dense, or not providing adequate information. The document actually is enabled using Acrobat X ("Pro") 10.1.4. I simply added a submit button that goes to the client's loan department, then saved it as a Reader Extended PDF (Enable Additional Features...) so that customers will be able to save the completed form on their own computer. But the form cannot be signed by the customer using the Sign button in Adobe Reader 10.1.4 (which we've already covered). On the other hand, if I do not add the Submit button and save it as an extended PDF, the Sign button works. It's the Submit button that makes the difference. This is all on my own Mac Pro (the form is not yet posted online). The problem may well have something to do with EchoSign, which is a confusing mess to me. Sounds like I need to get the webmaster involved. But why in the world would the Submit button be the crux of the problem? You can try this yourself. Take any plain vanilla PDF file and save it as extended. You'll be able to sign it using Reader's Sign button. Now add a Submit button to it and save it as extended. You won't be able to sign it using Reader's Sign button. That's what has me scratching my head. It appears that having a field that goes to an email address is not allowed to coexist with Reader's signing function, which may be the bottom line to what you're saying.

                    • 7. Re: Can't sign PDF that has Submit button
                      George_Johnson MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                      I'm seeing slightly different behavior. For a document that contains form fields that was Reader-enabled with Acrobat Pro 9 but does not contain a submit button, Reader 10.1.4 on Windows does not allow the form to be e-signed. When used with Reader 11 on Windows, which has a different Sign panel than 10.1.4, there is not the message you originally mentioned (a good thing), the e-sign feature is not available, though the Add Text and check mark are, and you are allowed to digitally sign.

                       

                      In other words, an enabled document cannot be e-signed with Reader, whether or not there's a submit button present. I did this testing last night, but I'll double-check later today.

                      • 8. Re: Can't sign PDF that has Submit button
                        Rick Meikle Level 1

                        Well, I am embarrassed. I blew my own experimenting, which you confirmed and I just reconfirmed. A plain vanilla PDF file resaved as an extended PDF file cannot be signed in Adobe Reader using its Sign button. That's regardless of it being a form or not, or having a Submit button or not, or anything else apparently. I must have gotten my wires crossed in all the permutations I was trying (though I thought I had checked it twice. Sheesh!). I guess it makes more sense now, but it's a frustrating roadblock. I suppose there are security considerations behind it, as you speculated. From what I read in skimming some online material yesterday, I gather that EchoSign requires the form originator to send the form to a known user at a known email address before that user can e-sign the form. Is that the gist of it? It may be best to let customers submit unsigned applications that my client then returns to them for an e-sig. Sound about right? Many thanks for helping me sort out the "protocol" for this!

                        • 9. Re: Can't sign PDF that has Submit button
                          George_Johnson MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                          It may be best to let customers submit unsigned applications that my client then returns to them for an e-sig. Sound about right?

                           

                          Yes, I think that's a better approach.

                          • 10. Re: Can't sign PDF that has Submit button
                            Rick Meikle Level 1

                            Getting back to this, it turns out the original problem is actually a problem. Adding a Submit button to a form really does kill the Signature button in Reader, whether it's been saved as extended or not. All roads lead to Echo Sign.