How To Remove a Digital Signature From a PDF

Kamran Shafii |

You’ve sent a PDF to a client, but when the document comes back, you find out that they signed the wrong digital signature field. Maybe they changed their mind and now want an amendment made to the document. Maybe you even had the wrong person sign the document, and it needs to go out to a different client. 

There can be many reasons why you need to clear signatures from PDFs. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as selecting the delete option from a drop-down list. Whether you’re trying to correct signatures or remove them completely, you’ll need a bit of technical prowess.

Read on to learn how to remove a digital signature from a PDF safely and legally. 

3 Ways To Remove Your Digital Signature From a PDF Document

Whether you’re looking to add a line for counter signatures or correct a mistake, it’s good to know that it is possible to delete a digital signature from a PDF. There are three different methods removing a digital signature from a PDF: using a PDF editor, using a free online tool, or using digital signature software. 

Remove PDF Signature Using a PDF Editor

As long as you are the owner of the file and you’re just trying to remove your own signature from PDFs, you can do so directly by installing a PDF editor onto your computer. Once your PDF editor is installed, it is probably the simplest approach to clear a signature from a PDF. In this instance, all you have to do is right click the signature and select “Clear Signature.” 

Unfortunately, even if you created the original document, you may not be able to remove PDF signatures this easily. Digital ID files prevent people from removing signatures in this way. If your digital ID doesn’t line up, the PDF editor won’t let you remove your signature. 

Remove PDF Signature Using a Free Online Tool

If you Google how to erase a signature from a PDF, some of the first results you’ll see are about free online tools. Using a free online tool means that you don’t have to download new software, which can be nice, especially if you’re worried about potentially installing malware onto your system. 

Generally, free online PDF editing software will allow you to make a certain number of changes for free before they ask you to pay. Read the fine print before you use this method, as some free online tools will add watermarks to your documents. 

If you’re using a free online tool, you’ll have to upload the PDF and then select the field you’re looking to edit. Depending on how the tool adjusts the PDF, this process can occasionally make the signature field look blurry. 

Remove PDF Signature Using a Digital Signature Software

The easiest solution is to use digital signature software to sign documents. Doing this actually allows users to sign PDFs without Adobe and make adjustments without using Adobe’s system. 

Digital signature software is actually more secure than traditional PDF signatures or even handwritten signatures. Each digital signature is encrypted using a mathematical algorithm. This prevents fraudulent signatures and also ensures that documents always get to the appropriate party.

Signing errors are less common if you’re using digital signature software because you can indicate exactly where the client needs to sign and the software will jump them to the appropriate field and prevent them from sending the document back until all appropriate fields have been signed. 

If there is a signing error and both parties agree that the document needs to be updated, digital signature software allows you to make those adjustments without any additional security risks to your or your clients. 

Risks Associated With Removing Signature From PDFs

One of the top risks associated with removing a signature from PDFs is running into legal trouble. You should never delete PDF signatures if the person who signed the document doesn’t agree to have their signature removed. 

Editing PDFs in general can pose security risks to your company as well. Hackers can embed viruses or other malicious code into PDFs. The more times you remove PDF signatures, the more chances hackers have to target your documents. This is especially concerning with free PDF editors. It’s always possible that the owners of these companies are not on the up-and-up and may collect data from the PDFs that go through their systems. 

Many free online PDF editors also embed things like watermarks into your documents. At best, this may cover signature fields and make it harder for signees to make handwritten signatures show up. At worst, watermarks may result in invalid signatures on your documents because the documents themselves no longer look official. 

Safety Tips When Removing Digital Signatures From PDFs

One of the best ways to stay safe when when you’re trying to delete signature from PDFs is to work with brands you trust. Research a company’s reputation, security methods, and data use policies before you trust your important documents with them. It’s better to pay a little extra money for a powerful PDF tool with good security measures than to save money and potentially have your information misused. 

You can also consider having a digital signature password included with your PDFs. This requires a password to open PDFs and can prevent invalid signatures and PDF tampering. The downside to this security measure is that it can sometimes be hard to enter passwords from a mobile device

Steer Away From Traditional PDF Signatures by Using a Safer Alternative

Traditional PDF signatures can be difficult to remove. For both convenience and security, consider using digital signatures instead. Digital signatures can be signed from computers and mobile devices with the touch of a button while providing strong security to protect your data and the data of your clients. Check out our pricing plans and enroll today. 

Kamran Shafii
Manager, SEO Content

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