Digitally Signing Documents


Many Graduate School documents require signatures, and although you can still choose to print, sign, and scan, you also have the option to digitally sign and email the document to the necessary parties.  If you choose to digitally sign a document, you will need to have Adobe Reader installed on your computer.

As an Auburn University student, faculty, or staff, you have access to the pro version of Adobe Reader.  The pro version is not necessary in order to sign documents, but it does provide other tools such as the ability to edit and create your own document.  If you are a student, you can acquire the software at  If you are faculty or staff, please contact your IT provider in regards to obtaining Adobe Reader Pro.

If for some reason you have trouble acquiring Adobe Reader Pro, you may download the free version of Adobe Reader at Note that there may be an option to download “Adobe Pro DC Trial”.  Please do not choose this option. Instead, choose “Download Acrobat Reader”.

Once you have Adobe Reader installed on your computer, please follow the below directions to digitally sign documents.

1.) After navigating to your form, click the download button in your browser window to save the PDF to your computer (Note: The example below is in Google Chrome and may appear differently if you are using another browser).

2.) Open the file with Adobe Reader. Then click the signature field that you would like to sign. Notice that in Adobe Reader, digital signature fields have a red arrow in the top left.

3.) After clicking the signature field, you will be prompted to choose a digital signature.  If you do not already have a digital signature, you may now create one in Adobe Reader.  Click the “Configure Digital ID” button.

4.) Select “Create a new Digital ID”, then click continue.

5.) Select “Save to Windows Certificate Store” (or “Save to Apple Keychain” if you are on a Mac).  Then click Continue.

6.) Enter your name, email, and country. Choose “2048-bit RSA” for key algorithm, then in the “Use Digital ID for” dropdown box select “Digital Signatures”.  Finally, click the Save button.

7.) You may now choose a digital signature to sign the document.  Select your new signature and click the Continue button.

8.) After selecting your digital signature, you may choose to customize its appearance.  By clicking the “Create” button in the top right corner, you can customize which elements appear in your signature.  For instance, you may upload an image of your actual signature, or if you have a touchpad or touchscreen you can use the “Draw” option to sign.  You may also choose which text appears alongside your signature, such as printed name, location, date of signing, etc.  When done customizing, click the Save button, then click the Sign button to apply your digital signature.

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9.) Adobe may prompt you to save the document after clicking the sign button. If so, click the Save button.  After saving, you should now see your new signature in the Digital Signature field.

Last modified: May 6, 2020