5 Replies Latest reply on Oct 10, 2011 11:04 PM by George_Johnson

    How to "Ink Markup" a PDF when Security Settings won't Allow it?

    Jonny_Quick

      I am an onsite computer tech support person and have been asked to solve a problem that is outside my expertise, and would appreciate any help I can find here.

       

      The Doctor's office recieves electronic faxes from pharmacies that require the doctor's signature before being electronically faxed back, approving the medication or whatever.  Sometimes the faxes come in as .jpg files, and the doctor can use Windows Paint to "sign" a scribble in the image and send it back to the pharmacy.  But sometimes the electronic faxes come in as PDF files, and we hare having a lot of trouble figuring out how to quickly open Adobe Reader (either X or 9.2.0), make a scribble, save the image and shoot it back to the pharmacy, quickly.

       

      I've been doing some research and while the tool "Documents>Sign>Apply Ink Signature" exists, it is non-functional.  In each case, the PDF files "Securities" settings does not allow for "Signing", so my theory is that there is some property in the document that prevents Adobe Reader from allowing a scribble to be made on the file.  I have been able to get Foxit Reader to do this, and this could be a workaround solution, but all the staff are familiar with Adobe Reader, no one has ever used Foxit before, I'm reluctant to add yet another software into their work environment, particularly if Adobe Reader has the ability to do what we want.

       

       

      Am I correct, that the properties are the problem?  Can these be changed in order to allow the scribble?  Is this a global (computer) setting, or are they going to have to do this on a document-by-document basis.

       

       

      Thanks in advance for any help.

       

      J. Quick

        • 1. Re: How to "Ink Markup" a PDF when Security Settings won't Allow it?
          George_Johnson MVP & Adobe Community Professional

          In order for it to work with Reader, the documents have to be specifically enabled to allow commenting. This is something that's typically done with Acrobat. I'd imagine that this will be rare, so the best bet it to use Acrobat since it allows commenting. Standard is OK. Even then, there may be times when the document has security restrictions that prevent commenting, which is what this type of signing is.

          • 2. Re: How to "Ink Markup" a PDF when Security Settings won't Allow it?
            Jonny_Quick Level 1

            George,


            Thanks for the fast response!

             

             

            I assume then, even if we Acrobat all the workstations, and teach the staff how to use it (and doesn't it cost money?), there will still be documents that cannot be "ink signed"?  It appears these limits on the functionality are voluntary.  Foxit had no problems at all with the one test document I tried.

             

             

            If we try to keep and use Reader, is there some way to change these Security restrictions on a document-by-document basis?  These happen regularly, but only about twice a week, I think.  Not often enough to make a lot of changes, but often enough that it annoys the doctor.

            • 3. Re: How to "Ink Markup" a PDF when Security Settings won't Allow it?
              George_Johnson MVP & Adobe Community Professional

              If you decide to get Acrobat, the office would only need one copy in order to Reader-enable the documents, though it might be annoying for the user who just has Reader to ask the Acrobat user in the office to enable the document. ANd yes, you may get PDFs that can't be signed with Acrobat or Reader-enabled, due to security restrictions.

               

              It's true that FoxIt allows you to do this with unsecured documents, and that it's free. But it too would be unable to work with documents that have security restrictions that prevent commenting. Foxit can enable their software to do whatever it wants, and it indeed has more capabilities than Adobe Reader, though it is almost certainly less compliant with the PDF standard and less capable in some areas. For example, it does not support JavaScript to the same degree that Reader does.

               

              If you stick with just Reader, you won't be able to "sign" the document unless the creator has enabled the document for commenting. Note that the security restrictions I mentioned are a separate issue from enabling documents for commenting. A document that has usage rights that allow Reader to add comments would not have security restrictions that prevent commenting. It wouldn't make sense for someone to set up a document that way.

              • 4. Re: How to "Ink Markup" a PDF when Security Settings won't Allow it?
                Jonny_Quick Level 1

                George,

                 

                Again I thank you for your detailed and informative response.  I think the office in general would prefer to stay with what they know (Adobe), but the idea of having only one workstation capable of manually configuring the documents would make the whole process too cumbersome.  Do you happen to know if there is a "corporate" license, where the office could purchase the ability to use say, 5 installations of Adobe Acrobat?  And if so, what that might cost?

                 

                It's true that FoxIt allows you to do this with unsecured documents, and that it's free. But it too would be unable to work with documents that have security restrictions that prevent commenting.

                 

                This is the thing.  The documents I was unable to "sign" using Adobe Reader had some kind of "security restrictions" as the Properties said specifically that "signing" was "not allowed", yet Foxit had no issue with this, so I am wondering if the impediments to editting these documents are something that is some kind of default behavior by Adobe Reader, as they were not created by Adobe, yet when they arrive in PDF form, Adobe assumes they cannot be "signed".  I think it's a "you can't, unless the document says you can" type of situation, but only for Adobe.  I don't think Foxit is playing by Adobe's rules.

                 

                While the office may have different types of PDF's coming in & out for various reasons, there is only one class of PDFs that need a manual "signature".  The "old way" of doing it was to print the PDF to paper, sign the paper, then scan the paper back to electronic format and then send it off via (internet-based) FAX.  Very cumbersome.

                 

                These documents are electronically generated; there is no "author" per se.  No one is delibarately setting any kind of Security Setting to allow or prohibit "signing".  It just now occured to me that finding out how these documents come to us in this condition is worth pursuing, because it may be a simple matter of changing the way these faxes are recieved to have them come in as editable JPG files, rather than Security-encumbered PDF's.  I just spend some time troubleshooting a driver issue for a Scanner, and found out you can choose it's output to be BMP, JPG, etc... so I am wondering if there is the ability to alter how an incoming FAX is outputted.

                 

                Again I think you for your time and expertise,

                 

                J. Quick

                • 5. Re: How to "Ink Markup" a PDF when Security Settings won't Allow it?
                  George_Johnson MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                  I know there's a volume licensing program, but I don't know the particulars. Adobe or an authorized reseller will be able to help.

                   

                  When you look at the security restriction summary with Reader, it can be confusing if you don't know how to interpret what it shows you.

                   

                  When it says that signing is not allowed, what it really means is that Reader is not capable of applying digital signatures (unless the document is specifically enabled to to allow it). Only Acrobat Pro or LiveCycle Reader Extensions is able to give a PDF the usage rights required. Note that "Signing" does not mean what you are doing, which is adding an ink annotation (a type of comment) using the pencil tool. It may look like a signature, but it's not a digital signature that "signing" refers to. Commenting needs to be enabled in order for Reader to use the pencil tool to add an ink annotation. (Do pencils use ink?) Foxit Reader doesn't care.

                   

                  A document with no security settings will show in Reader that Document Assembly, Signing, and Creation of Template Pages is not allowed. Prior to Reader 10, it will also show that Commenting is not allowed. Reader 10 allows you to add sticky note and text highlight comments without the document being Reader-enabled. If the same document is opened in Acrobat, it won't show any security restrictions, because Acrobat is capable of commenting, signing, etc.

                   

                  Now it's possible to add security restrictions to a document so that certain things are not allowed, such as commenting or changing the document in certain ways. If a document has password security that restricts any changes, then the restriction summary will show the same in both Acrobat and Reader. But this doesn't sound like the case with the PDFs you're dealing with. You can tell this by seeing if the security method is "No Security".

                   

                  If you decide to go with Acrobat, note that you can use stamps to apply a signature, which is a bit easier and nicer looking than a mouse drawn scribble. Foxit Reader allows you to add an image as a stamp, so you could scan a handwritten signature and use it.