Are you using certificate-based digital signatures or e-signatures which are just stamps with images or text? If you signed a PDF with a digital signature then they are there forever. They may become invalid if the document was changed but they never disappear. If you are using e-signatures then it depends on your workflow.
Which Acrobat (or is it Reader) version (including minor do you use? Which platform (Mac/Windows), which OS and its version? Describe in details your workflow: How do you create your signatures (which Acrobat UI), what do you do next, a t which step signatures disappear?
From your post it seems that this happens sometimes but not all times. So, it is most likely that some of your actions cause it even though you are not aware of that.
Thanks for your response. I'm using Adobe Acrobat X Standard on a PC using Windows 7 Professional. We are signing everything with e-signatures created in Adobe Reader. We don't change the documents after signing with the e-signature since we lock them. Here's the workflow:
1. We sign the contract using the "Sign Document" feature and choosing the e-signature we want to use.
2. We lock the document and save it to the computer hard drive.
3. We upload the document as an attachment to Sales Force.
I have noticed that for contracts that were signed a few months ago the signature has completely disappeared from the version saved to my hard drive, and the version on Sales Force.
1. In Acrobat X "Sign Document" is a digital certificate-based signature found in the right-hand pane "Tools->Sign&Certify" section. Is this what you do in #1? I do not understand how an "e-signatures created in Adobe Reader" comes into play here. Do you mean signature appearance? Signing and creating signature appearances is not available in Reader X. They are available in Reader starting with version 11.0.07. Please, clarify.
2. What do you mean by #2: "We lock the document"? Do you mean checking "Lock Document After Signing" box in the "Sign" dialog?
3. When you say that "the signature has completely disappeared", what exactly happens? Do you get the Document Message Bar on the top of the document window that has some messages related to signing? Can you open the signature panel in the left-hand pane? If you can, can you examine the signature? Or is it just that the signature appearance disappears?
4. Do you save your signed PDFs with the original names or do you change the names. To save with the original name is a bad practice. You should always keep the original version in the case that you want to make some changes later.
When you digitally sign a PDF with a certificates the signature object becomes a part of PDF. If it is somehow ripped out, then the PDF becomes damaged. I do not think this is what happens in your case. I can only speculate but an educated guess would be that you save the signed PDF with the same name as the original PDF, then a copy of the original PDF lurks somewhere on your system and later gets somehow copied to the signed PDF location obliterating it and also gets somehow re-uploaded to Sales Force. Since this does not happen with all your documents and there is some time lag between signing and when you discover that the signatures disappear, my guess is the most plausible one, even though you may not pay attention/remember doing anything that causes it.
I'm seeing the exact same behavior. Using Adobe Acrobat XI Version 11.0.17, I click on Fill & Sign, choose Place Signature, draw the signature box, choose to sign with a certificate, check the Lock Document After Signing Box, sign and save the file. When I open the pdf from my desktop, the signature is there. When I upload the pdf through a web browser to an online site, the upload works just fine. When I view the document online (it is downloaded through IE and opened in Adobe Acrobat on my desktop), the signature is gone and the document is no longer locked.
And let me add that I saved the signed document as a different name to make sure I have a signed doc.
I don't know if this helps at all, but when the quick tools shortcut for Certificates > Digitally Sign is used, the document is locked even if the option is left unchecked. If go into tools and use the the Digitally Sign option without using the quick tools shortcut it works as intended.
We have had a lot of trouble with being unable to sign documents after the initial signature. The cause was the quick tools shortcut.
Have you found a solution for this?
The same thing happened for 2 of our users in our company.
They opened the PDFs which already had 'Signature' fields.
They filled up the PDFs, signed and saved in their drive.
Then they uploaded the PDFs to one of our data capture tools. The PDFs got uploaded with no error.
Then they downloaded the PDFs from that tool and found that the signature was no longer there.
We use internal certificates to verify signatures.
User machines - Windows 7
PDF viewer - Adobe Reader XI
Browser - Internet Explorer 11