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The digital signature that certifies your identity, professional status, and organizational affiliation.

The Digital Seal that Keeps your Digital and Paper Documents Secure

CertifiO Code

Trusted timestamp service for time-sensitive documents and emails.

Timestamp

The software that makes digitally signing all your PDF documents easy.

ConsignO Desktop

A digital and trusted electronic signature platform with high-level legal reliability.

ConsignO Cloud

Ensures the reliability of thousands or millions of documents by automating your business processes.

Consigno Server

Easily check signatures, PDF/A compliance, and VDSs (visible digital seals).

Available in mobile, Web or Server version.

verifiO

ConsignO Desktop User Guide

1 - Preface

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About digital signatures

What is a digital signature?

A digital signature is an encrypted electronic signature that can guarantee the origin of an electronic document, its integrity, and its authenticity. When you manually sign a document, you guarantee your agreement to the text content. A digital signature does the same thing and adds even more information. It guarantees signature authenticity by proving that you are the person who signed, it ensures document integrity, meaning that it has not been modified since the signature, and also confirms that the sustainability of the document, ensuring its validity for years to come.

Difference between a digital and an electronic signature

An electronic signature consists of blocks of information that identify you. A digital signature is a form of electronic signature that is more secure because it is encrypted and can be invisible. It protects many elements of your documents. For more details on this difference, consult the Foundations section of our website.

Support material for ConsignO

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How to install CertifiO Suite

The CertifiO Suite includes ConsignO Desktop, Entrust ESP & PDF995

IMPORTANT: ConsignO Desktop is not compatible with the latest release of MAC OS CATALINA. We recommend to not proceed with the upgrade of your MAC OS until all issues are addressed.

Technical Requirements

  • Administrative rights for the installation;
  • The firewall and antivirus software must authorize the necessary outbound ports, as described in the article Firewall configuration, or by creating a Proxy configuration specific to your network topology
  • Operating systems:
    • Windows 7 SP1, 8 or 10, 64-bits versions (legacy 32-bits versions available here);
      • Windows 7: The 64-bits security update KB3033929 must be installed. The installation of EESP will install this update if not present.
    • OS X 10.12 or higher.
  • At least 4 GB of RAM and 500 MB of hard disk
  •  Internet connection;
    • It is possible to use ConsignO Desktop in a limited fashion, without a connection to our servers, for a maximum of 30 days.

Installation

Notes related to CertifiO Manager

  • CertifiO Manager is no longer included in the CertifiO Suite and must be downloaded from the CertifiO Manager section available here: Download
  • CertifiO Manager is required to activate   your digital signature and access your online account: My Account.
  • For more details on CertifiO Manager: What is CertifiO Manager?

2 - Presentation of the ConsignO Desktop Interface

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About ConsignO Desktop

ConsignO Desktop is specifically designed to digitally sign PDF documents with ease and speed, one at a time or several at the once, or add your signature to documents signed by others, in just a few clicks. You can also convert a batch of PDF documents in PDF/A, apply templates to your documents or quickly apply stamps in several places of a document.

Digitally signing a document enables the recipient to view the sender’s digital signature certificate. This feature links the signer to the document in a way that is irrefutable and confirms the signer’s identity and professional status. It is applying one’s official signature, digitally, on a document.

ConsignO, makes it possible to digitally sign a document and send it to a client via email while preserving its authenticity.

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ConsignO Desktop main window

ConsignO’s main window is laid out with different sections and functions.

Consigno Main Window

A Opened Document Tab This section displays a tab per open document. It allows you to switch from one open document to the other by selecting the appropriate tab. You can close an open document by right-clicking on a tab and selecting Close or by clicking the “X” on the document’s tab. Right-clicking gives you three options: close the selected document, close all documents but the selected one, or close all documents.
B Main menu This section contains the ConsignO window’s main functions:
  • File:
    • Open
    • Create a Portfolio
    • Merge a document
    • Save
    • Save as
    • Save all
    • Refresh
    • Close
    • Close all
    • Exit
  • Edit:
    • Convert to PDF/A format
    • Verify PDF/A compliance
    • Apply Template
    • Stamp
    • Sign
    • Combined actions
    • Reveal PDF/A documents
    • Reveal Signed documents
    • Reveal Portfolios
    • Cut
    • Copy
    • Paste
    • Delete
    • Signature Appearance Wizard
    • Preferences
  • Help:
    • Training videos
    • User Guide and documentation
    • Open a ticket or contact us
    • FAQ
    • What’s new
    • Check for updates
    • About ConsignO Desktop
C Main view tool bar This section shows buttons that give access to document functionalities. It gives quick access to stamping and signature appearance functions. It also allows to navigate through the document pages and to modify the view (zoom) of the document. These buttons apply to the active document.
D My Computer view This section is a tree view of your computer file structure, as you would see it in a Windows explorer. There is also a toolbar available in this view. Small icons give access to reveal functions (PDF/A, signed documents and portfolios). You can also apply a template and start the signing process from that toolbar. These functions will apply to the selected document or folder.
E Templates view This section is a tree view of the templates documents. You can apply the template selected in this view by dragging and dropping it onto the open document in the document view.
F Signature Validation tab This section has two tabs that allow you to toggle the view between the document and the digital signature information of the document. These tabs apply to the selected document.

 

Note: You can minimize either the Templates or My Computer views and it will appear as a small icon on the left side of the main window. You can restore the regular view by clicking on the minimized icon.

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Right click shortcuts in main window

A right-click in the My Computer view or the Templates view brings a pop-up window allowing shortcuts to different ConsignO functions: Right-clicking from the My Computer view allows the following functions:

Right-clicking from the Templates view allows the following functions:

  • Create Folder
  • Rename
  • Delete
  • Refresh

All functions are detailed in this User guide.

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Open, close and save documents

You can manage your documents within the application. Many possibilities are available.

To open a document:

  1. Three possibilities are available. You can either:
    1. From the File menu, select Open. A pop-up window allows you to browse your computer to select your file. You can select multiple files at once.
    2. From the My Computer view, select one or more documents, then right-click and select Open.
    3. From the My Computer view, select one document and double-click. Only one document at a time can be opened this way.
    4. From your computer’s file explorer, drag a document to ConsignO’s main view window to open it.

To close a document:

  1. Many possibilities are available. You can either:
    1. From the open document tab, click on the cross directly on the selected document tab.
    2. From the open document tab, right-click and select either Close to close the selected document, Close others to close all but the selected document or Close all.
    3. From the File menu, select Close or Close all.

To save a document:

  1. From the File menu, select Save to save the selected document, Save as to give it another name or Save all to save all opened documents.
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ConsignO Desktop shortcuts accessible directly from the desktop

To speed up and simplify common tasks, you can use some of ConsignO’s functions directly from your desktop. In just two mouse clicks, you can select your files from your Windows file browser and execute a function of ConsignO, such as converting to PDF/A or signing. The file selection is also memorized, allowing you to chain many functions without having to reselect your files. You can for example, convert your files to the PDF/A format, apply a template, stamp and then sign your file, using only a few mouse clicks.

To access ConsignO from the desktop:

  1. Select the document you want to use with ConsignO from your computer’s file explorer.
  2. Right-click and select Send to.

  1. Select which function you want to access from the ones available in the list.

3 - Preferences

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About Preferences

What you should know

Preferences allow you to predefine formats, behaviours and file locations that are often used, like Signature Appearances and Dates formats. It promotes a standard usage of the software among users and prevents from having to recreate the same formats every time they are used.

Before you begin

To open the Preferences window

  1. Open ConsignO
  2. From the Edit menu, click Preferences.

The Preferences window appears.

The left panel shows the type of preferences available. The right panel allows to edit the selected preferences. In the top right of the window, the navigation arrows allow you to navigate between types of preferences, while the drop down arrows allows you to modify the relative width of the panels.

  1. In the Preferences window, select the type of preferences you want to edit:
  1. Click Apply to effect the changes. You can always click Restore defaults to go back to the software factory values.
  2. Click Apply and Close

Your preferences are now set.

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General Preferences

What you should know

General preferences allow you to specify if you want to have your previously opened documents reopened automatically when you launch ConsignO.

To modify the General Preferences:

  1. Open the Preferences window.
  2. Select General in the left panel.
  3. In the right panel:
    • Select your default signature certificate from the drop-down menu. These certificates are provided by your organization
    • Select how you want your files saved by clicking on the chosen option. You can overwrite the initial file; you can rename the file or create a new file in a different destination folder that you can specify by clicking Browse.
    • Check the box Memorize my open documents and open them when I next launch ConsignO if you want this option enabled.
  4. Click Apply or Apply and Close in the Preferences window.

Your General preferences are now configured. You can always go back to factory settings by clicking Restore Defaults.

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ConsignO Cloud

What you should know

The integration with the ConsignO Cloud trusted electronic signature platform requires the address used to access the service. If your organization subscribe to this service, you will have received an email containing the URL you must specify to access the service.

For more information about the ConsignO Cloud trusted electronic signature platform, visit: https://consignocloud.com/

To modify the ConsignO Cloud Preferences:

  1. Open the Preferences window.
  2. Select ConsignO Cloud in the left panel.
  3.  In the right panel, enter the address provided to you in the URL field
  4. Click Apply or Apply and Close.
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Signature Appearance

What you should know

From the Signature Appearance preferences page, you can manage your different Signature Appearances. You can delete the ones you do not use, modify them or you can create new ones by opening the Signature Appearance Wizard.

To modify the Signature Appearance preferences:

  1. Open the Preferences window.
  2. Select Signature Appearances in the left panel.

In the right panel, the list of available Signature Appearances is displayed if they were previously created. The list is empty if none is created.
    1. Select a Signature Appearance and click Modify or create a complete new one by clicking Add.
    2. With the Signature Appearance Wizard now opened, create your Signature Appearance.
    3. If you want to remove a Signature Appearance from the list, select it and click Delete.
    4. (Optional) Check the Hide the invitation to create a Signature Appearance at application startup when it detects its absence box to remove the missing Signature Appearance message.
    5. Click Apply or Apply and Close in the Preferences window.

You now have your list of available Signature Appearances.

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Stamping

What you should know

Stamping preferences allows you to specify whether or not you want to have the warning about stamping being different than signing displayed after every time you stamp a document.

To modify the Stamping Preferences:

  1. Open the Preferences window.
  2. Select Stamping in the left panel.
  3. In the right panel, check the box Do not display the warning during the stamping process if you want to disable the warning.
  4. Click Apply or Apply and Close in the Preferences window. Your Stamping preferences are now configured. You can also restore the installation preferences by clicking Restore Defaults.
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Security

What you should know

SHA (Secure Hashing Algorithm) is a cryptographic hash, which is like a signature for a text or datafile. Hashes are convenient for situations where computers may want to identify, compare, or otherwise run calculations against files and strings of data. It is easier for the computer to first compute a hash and then compare the values than it would be to compare the original files.

SHA 1 and SHA 256 are two different algorithms, SHA 256 being more recent and more secure than its predecessor. This is the recommended option.

To modify the Security Preferences:

  1. Open the Preferences window.
  2. Select Security in the left panel.
  3. In the right panel, use the drop down to select which hashing algorithm to use with ConsignO.
  4. Click Apply or Apply and Close.

Your hashing preferences are now configured.

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Date format

What you should know

It is possible to set the date format that will appear on all Signature Appearances that have this option enabled. A list of possible formats is provided but it is also possible to add personalized date formats.

To modify the Date format preference

  1. Open the Preferences window.
  2. Select Date formats in the left panel.
  3. In the right panel, select the date format that you want to use if it is different than the default format. If none is exactly how you want it, select the closest.
  4. Click Modify. You can also create a complete new one by clicking Add.

         

  5. In the Modify/Create a date format window, enter your format using the following standard character sequences: 
    • dd: Numeric value (2 numbers) used to identify a specific day, i.e., 02-11-2015.
    • d: Numeric value (1 number) used to identify a specific day, i.e., 2-11-2015. However, any number over 10 could still be used, i.e., 23-11-2015.
    • MM: Numeric value to identify the month, i.e., 02-02-2015.
    • MMM.: Abbreviation followed by a period to identify a specific month, i.e., 2 Sept. 2015.
    • MMMMM: To identify a specific month spelled out in full, i.e., 2 September 2015.
    • yyyy: Numeric value used to identify the year, i.e. 2 Sept. 2015.

         The character sequences can be separated by different symbols. A preview example is provided below the entry field. An error message appears if the format is invalid.

  6. Check the Set as Default date format box to apply this new format by default to all new signatures.
  7. Click OK.
  8. (Optional) You can also select any unwanted format and click Delete to remove it from the list.
  9. Click Apply or Apply and Close in the Preferences window.

Your Date formats preferences are now configured.

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Templates

What you should know

Templates preferences allow you to specify the file location where you want your templates stored. The templates are saved as XML files that can be shared with other users by copying these XML files in the defined location.

To modify the Templates Preferences:

  1. Open the Preferences window.
  2. Select Templates in the left panel.
  3. In the right panel, click Browse to select the template files location.
  4. Click Apply or Apply and Close in the Preferences window.

Your Templates preferences are now configured.

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Reasons

What you should know

When you apply a digital signature to a document, you can specify a reason to provide more details about what was done to the document. For example, you may want to specify that the document was revised, that it was approved or that it is complete. The reason will be visible in the Signature Appearance if that option is enabled.

To modify the Reasons preferences:

  1. Open the Preferences window.
  2. Select Reasons in the left panel.

In the right panel a list of available reasons is already provided. You can use multiple reasons for different types of document. It is not mandatory to have a default.
  1. You can select a reason and click Modify or you can create a complete new one by clicking Add.
  2. In the Modify/Add a reason window, type your reason in the entry field.
  3. (Optional) Check the Set as Default reason box to apply this reason by default to a new signature.
  4. Click OK.
  5. Click Apply or Apply and Close in the Preferences window.

You can now see the reason associated to a signed document with the digital certificate information of the digital signature.

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Signature Zones

What you should know

You can predefine Signature Zones sizes to standardize them across document types. The minimum size possible is 0.1 inch by 0.1 inch.

To modify the Signature Zones preferences:

  1. Open the Preferences window.
    1. Select Signature Zones in the left panel.

      The right panel contains a list of predefined Signature Zone sizes. You can use multiple sizes for different types of Signature Appearances.

  2. Select a Zone that you want to use and click Modify to personalize it. You can also create a complete new one by clicking Add.
  3. In the Modify/Add a zone type window, configure the following:
    1. Zone Type: Enter a name that will identify the type of Signature that can fit in this zone, for example a seal or initials.
    2. Width: Width in inches of the Signature Zone
    3. Height: Height in inches of the Signature Zone
    4. Set as default Zone Type: Check to set this Signature Zone size the default one.
    5. Click OK.
  4. (Optional) Select and Delete unused Signature Zone sizes.
  5. (Optional) Select Do not display a warning when the document about to be digitally signed does not contain any signature zone to remove the warning.
  6. Click Apply or Apply and Close in the Preferences window.
    1.  

You now have a predefined Signature Zone sizes available when signing a document.

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View

What you should know

Each time you change the placement or the size of a visual element, ConsignO Desktop persists automatically its new layout. By clicking the Restore Defaults button, all parts of ConsignO Desktop, like windows and tabs, will get back to their original state. This can help restore a window that is no longer shown.

To restore the default view options:

  1. Open the Preferences window.
  2. Select View in the left panel.
  3. Click Restore Defaults to go back to factory defaults
  4. Click Apply and Close.

4 - Signature and Stamping of Documents

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Stamping a document

What you should know

There is an important difference between applying stamps in a document and applying a signature. Every time you apply a stamp, you insert an image (your signature appearance) which modifies the content of your document without adding the protection a digital signature would do. For this reason, you cannot stamp a digitally signed document as the stamp would compromise the integrity of the previous signature.

Stamping is often used to initial each page of a multi-page document. Although you can only apply stamps one document at the time, you can stamp multiple pages on that document at once.You must digitally sign your document after stamping.

Before you begin

To Stamp a document

  1. Open the document in ConsignO
  2. Click the Stamp button in the main view or right-click in the signature zone and select Stamp.

  1. In the Stamp wizard, make the following selections:
    1. Select the Signature Appearance that you want to see on the document. It will appear in the Appearance Preview section of the wizard.
    2. Check if you want to display the date on the signature appearance. It will appear in the Appearance Preview section of the wizard
    3. Check if you want to display the signature reason on the signature appearance. You can select the reason from the dropdown list. It will appear in the Appearance Preview section of the wizard.
    4. Check if you want to display custom text in the signature appearance. Write the text directly in the capture field. It will appear in the Appearance Preview section of the wizard.
    5. From the Signature Zone selection box, check the selected signature zone from the list. to choose the stamp location. You can select multiple locations (on multiple pages) at a time.
    6. In the Save options section, select what you want to do with the stamped file:
      1. Overwrite initial file
      2. Rename the file
      3. Select a new destination folder
      4. Select a new folder and delete the initial file
  2. Click Finish

You now have a stamped document ready to be signed or seen as such.

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Signing a document

What you should know

Signing a document embeds the information certified by your digital signature into the document, identifying you as the person who approves or takes responsibility for its content.

Before you begin

To sign a document

  1. Open a document in ConsignO
  2. Click the Sign button in the main view or right-click in the signature zone and select Sign.

  1. In the Signature wizard, make the following selections:
    1. Select your digital certificate from the Signature Certificate selection drop down.
    2. Select the Signature appearance from the list. This list can be modified in the Preferences . A preview of the selected appearance will appear.
    3. Select the signature Reason from the list or type directly in the Signature Reason field.The list can be modified in the Preferences 
    4. Select if you want to Display the signature reason, the date and/or custom text on the signature. Your selection(s) will appear in the appearance preview.
    5. You can also select not to apply a signature appearance. In this case, you have an invisible signature. See Visible vs invisible signatures  to understand the difference.
    6. In the Save options section, select what you want to do with the signed file:
      1. Overwrite initial file
      2. Rename the file
      3. Select a new destination folder
  2. To certify the document, select Certify in the Advanced Options and select the restrictions to apply:
    1. Allow signing in existing zones
    2. Allow no further modifications

WARNING! Certifying a document creates many limitations. You need to know the entire document life cycle for all parties involved throughout the life of the document (which is often decades), and be confident that no additional signature will be needed by one party throughout this period. Furthermore, certifying a document limits the long term document reliability as the certification forbids re-time stamping to ensure long-term document integrity.

  1. Click Sign

You now have a signed or a certified document for your archives.

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Visible vs invisible signature

Applying a digital signature adds metadata on a document without modifying its content (thus without impacting its integrity). This is how multiple signatures can be applied to a document while preserving the document’s integrity.

A visible signature includes a metadata that holds a visible marker (signature appearance) when viewing the document, showing that it has been signed.

An invisible signature omits this visible marker.

Both types of signature ensure the integrity of the document. The digital certificate information can be seen with both types when validating a signature. A visible signature, however, can appear on physically printed documents (this can be useful if printed copies of documents are also used or archived).

You can choose to use visible or invisible signatures according to your company policy.

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Signature zones

What you should know

Signature Zones are locations on a page where the visible signature or stamp can be applied. It has dimensions (height and width) and a position on the page. It is visible on a document opened in ConsignO as a blue rectangle. The zone identifier or name is written inside the rectangle. You can define the signature zone size beforehand in the Preferences  menu or you can draw it directly on the page (custom format).

To create a signature zone:

  1. Open a document in ConsignO.
  2. Click the Create Zone button in the main window. The pointer takes the shape of a cross.
  3. Click on the document where you want the first corner of the signature zone and drag the mouse until the rectangle has the desired size. You may also click without dragging the mouse to obtain a zone having the default dimensions.

Signature zone properties

  1. In the Signature zone properties pop-up:
    1. Type a zone name to identify it.
    2. Select the zone type:
      1. If you select custom format, the signature zone will remain as you have drawn it.
      2. If you select one of the predefined formats on the list, it will resize itself according to the selected format size.
    3. In the Advanced Options section, select on which page or pages you want the zone to appear.
  2. You can sign or stamp directly by clicking the appropriate button or you can click OK to sign it or stamp it later.
  3. You can resize and move the signature zone by clicking on the blue rectangle. The zone becomes red and you can move it by sliding it in place or you can resize it by stretching any corner.

You now have a Signature Zone ready to receive a Signature Appearance.

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Validate a signature

What you should know

A digitally signed PDF will have the signer’s digital certificate embedded within. It is possible to view this information within ConsignO, even if the signature is invisible. You can also view which documents are signed in the My Computer view by revealing the signed documents.

To reveal signed documents:

  1. From the My Computer view, select the folder in which you want to see if there are signed documents.
  2. Either right-click or use the Edit menu and select Reveal signed documents. You can also use the Reveal signed documents icon in the toolbar.
  3. A green check sign will appear beside every signed document in the folder.

To validate a signature:

  1. Open a document in ConsignO

When a document is already signed, a blue band appears at the top of the document indicating that the signature is valid.

  1. Click on the Signature validation tab at the bottom of the page

You can now see who has signed the document, the digital certificate information associated to his or her digital signature, along with a detailed chain-of-trust analysis to attest the authenticity of the document.

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Signature appearance creation wizard

What you should know

A Signature Appearance is a visual representation of what will appear on your document when you stamp it or sign it with a visual signature. It is usually an image of your written signature or your seal, but it can be any image you want to display when signing a document. The Signature Appearance becomes the visible part of a visible signature.

It is strongly recommended to us a transparent signature appearance; ConsignO includes a signature appearance wizard to facilitate the process. The background, represented by a grey and white checker, will not overwrite what is on the document. It is possible to remove transparency and have a white background that covers what is underneath. See the following examples:

 
With transparency:

with transparency

Without transparency:

without transparency

Before you begin

  • You need an image (JPEG, GIF, PNG, bmp, scanned pdf of the template model) to use for your Signature Appearance. You can scan your written signature, scan an image of your seal, the company logo, or use any image you want to appear on the documents. You can also download a model from Notarius to help you (see step 2i) below).

To create a Signature Appearance

  1. Open the Signature Appearance Creation Wizard from the Preferences menu or by using the menu Edit > Signature Appearance Wizard.

Signature App creation wizard

  1. Select your import method. You can either:
    1. Use the Signature Appearance template by clicking Download Template.
      1. Once the template is downloaded, print it
      2. Modify the printed template with your signature, seal or initials according to your needs
      3. Scan the modified template to get your image
    2. Use a picture or scanned image of your signature

Sign and scan signature app

  1. Click OK.
  2. Open the image file that you want to use for your signature.
  3. If you selected to import from the downloaded template, the wizard automatically crops the image to get the different regions that represent the signatures, seal and initials.
    1. Select the ones you want to use and click Next.
    2. For each selected image, follow steps 6 c) to 6 h) below.

Preview signature app

 
  1. If you selected to import from an image without using the template,
    1. Crop the image according to your need and click OK.
    2. Click Next to continue or Skip to keep the image as is.
    3. The wizard proposes four images with different transparency. The transparent parts are shown with a grey and white checker. Select the one that you want to use and click Next.
    4. Enter a name for the signature.
    5. Select a rotation for the image if necessary.
    6. Select Display the signing date on this appearance if you want the date to appear on the signature.
      1. Click Modify the position and the date format to place the date exactly where you want it to appear on the image, with the font, size and style you want.
    7. Select Display the signature reason on this appearance if you want a reason to appear on the signature.
      1. Click Modify the position and format of the reason to place the reason exactly where you want it to appear on the image, with the font, size and style you want.
    8. Click Save to complete the Signature Appearance creation.
  2. On the status window, select Set as default if you want that Signature Appearance to become the default one.
  3. Click OK to close the window.

You can now use the new Signature Appearance to visibly sign your documents.

5 - PDF/A

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PDF

What you should know

PDF/A is an ISO standard based on the Portable Document Format (PDF) standard and specialized for the long-term preservation of electronic documents.

PDF/A differs from PDF by prohibiting features ill-suited to long-term archiving such as hypertext links, animations, .exe and Javascript (Henceforth, adding an additional security aspect to it). It is a lightweight and simplified version of PDF that ensures long term documents readability despite technological innovations, for decades to come.

From ConsignO, you can convert PDF files to PDF/A format, you can verify if a PDF file is compliant with the standard and you can show (reveal) which files claim to be compliant to the PDF/A standard. It is important to note that a signed documents cannot be converted to the PDF/A format after the signature.

ConsignO function with three PDF/A formats: PDF/A-1b, PDF/A-2b and PDF/A-3b. All of them ensure reliable reproduction of the visual appearance of the document, but PDF/A-2b and PDF/A-3b support a few more features. The main differences between these 3 formats is the type of content can be converted:

  • The PDF/A-1b format is the most restrictive (The document to be converted cannot contain videos or audio, editable field or added commented, that have not been directly integrated into the document)
  • The PDF/A-2b format has the same restrictions then 1-b format but allows for a better conversion quality and smaller document size when converted.
  • The PDF/A-3b allows for the all type of embedded to be associated to the document. It also allows for 3D element, all the meanwhile keeping the same format as the previous formats.

For more information about the PDF/A formats , please refer to the following pages :

PDF/A-1b : http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/formats/fdd/fdd000125.shtml

PDF/A-2bhttp://www.digitalpreservation.gov/formats/fdd/fdd000319.shtml

PDF/A-3bhttp://www.digitalpreservation.gov/formats/fdd/fdd000360.shtml

To convert a PDF document to PDF/A format

  1. Select the document or documents you want to convert in the My Computer
  2. Right-click or click on the Edit
  3. Select Convert to PDF/A format.
  4. In the Convert to PDF/A window:
    1. If you selected more than one file, click Next if your selection is correct or Cancel to select again.
    2. Select from the drop-down between the PDF/A–1b, PDF/A-2b or PDF/A-3b.
    3. In the Actions section, select what you want to do with the converted file:
      1. Overwrite initial file
      2. Rename the file
      3. Select a new destination folder
      4. Select a new folder and delete the initial file
    4. Click Finish. A progress window will pop up to shows the conversion progress and status.
  1. Click OK on the status window.

Your file is now converted to PDF/A format.

To verify PDF/A compliance

  1. Select the document you want to verify in the My Computer view.
  2. Right-click or click on the Edit menu.
  3. Select Verify PDF/A compliance.

The status window displays the verification result.

To reveal PDF/A documents

  1. Select one or many documents or a folder from the My Computer
  2. You can:
    1. Right-click or click on the Edit menu and select Reveal PDF/A documents.
    2. Click on the icon from the My computer

The icon appears beside the PDF/A documents among those selected.

Note that no compliance validation is performed with the reveal function; it simply looks up the PDF/A claim metadata in the document.

6 - Templates

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Templates

What you should know

In ConsignO, a model helps to avoid the repetition of preparing the same type of documents. Each model contains a Signature Zone and its location on the document. Creating templates allows visual consistency across documents of the same type by ensuring that all signatures are located at the same place and are the same sizes. A template memorizes the page format on which it was created, preventing from applying it on a different type of document (i.e. a template for an A4 document cannot be applied on a Letter document). Even though it is possible to create different zones on different pages, it is often better to create only one-page templates to avoid errors when applying the template to the destination document.

To create a template

  1. Apply and place a Signature Zone on an open document.
  2. Click the Save as template icon in the toolbar of the main window.
  3. Enter the Template name in the Template name field.
  4. Click OK.
The template now appears in the Template view at the bottom left of your screen.

create template

You can manage your templates in the Template view as you would do with a file directory.
  1. Right-click on a specific template to rename, delete or move it to a different subfolder.
  2. Right-click on a specific folder to create sub-folders.

Your templates are now available to be applied to your documents.

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Templates

Before you begin

To apply a template to a document:

You have three main options:

  1. From the My Computer view pane, right-click on one or more documents and select Apply a template (or From the Edit menu, select Apply a template).
    1. In the Template drop down list, select the template you want to apply.
    2. In the Advanced Options section, select on which page or pages you want the template to be applied.
    3. In the Actions section, select what you want to do with the open file:
      1. Overwrite initial file.
      2. Rename the file.
      3. Select a new destination folder.
      4. Select a new folder and delete the initial file.
    4. Click Finish. A result window appears with the template creation status.
    5. Click OK in the results window that appears.
 
OR
  1. Open a document
        1. Select the appropriate template from the Template view.
            1. Drag and drop the template to the opened document. The Apply a template window opens.
            2. Follow Steps b. to e. above.
OR
  1. Open a document
    1. Click on the Apply a template to the pdf document icon in the toolbar of the main window.
      1. Select the template you want to apply to the document from the drop-down list.
      2. Follow Step ii) to iv) above.
OR
  1. Apply a template from the Combined Action

You now have a document with a configured Signature Zone, ready to be signed or stamped.

7 - Working with Multiple Documents

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Working with documents in batch

What you should know

The majority of ConsignO’s key functions can be done in batches : signing, applying templates, converting to PDF/A, validating the conformance to the PDF/A standard, etc. To work with documents in batches, you simply have to select all the documents you want to work with and then perform the desired function.

NOTE: These steps can also be simultaneously performed via the Combined Actions menu

Before you begin

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Batch signing documents

Note:  To apply a visible digital signature on several documents, you need to make sure that signature zones are already present on the documents or apply a template to said documents.

  1. Select the documents you want to sign. You can either:
    1. From the My Computer view panel in ConsignO, select a folder or multiple files the same way you would do it in your file browser.
    2. From your desktop, select the files or folder from the folder explorer .

Batch signing

  1. Start the signing process. You can either:
    1. If you selected the files from ConsignO click the Sign PDF iconicone signer in the tool bar from the My Computer view or click Edit > Sign from the main window menu.
    2. If you selected the files from your desktop, right-click and select Send to > ConsignO -6. Sign.
  2. In the Batch Signatures Wizard, the documents you are about to sign are listed at the top of the window.  If the list is wrong, click Cancel and start over.

     


  3. Continue signing process as you would do for a single document signature.

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Apply a template to multiple documents

  1. Select the documents you want to apply the template to. You can either:
    1. From the My Computer view panel in ConsignO, select a folder or multiple files the same way you would do it in your file browser.
    2. From your desktop, select the files or a folder from your folder explorer.
  2. Start applying a template. You can either:
    1. If you selected the files from ConsignO click the Apply template icon  in the tool bar from the My Computer view or click Edit > Apply a template from the main window menu.
    2. If you selected the files from your desktop, right-click and select Send to > ConsignO -4. Apply Template.
  3. Continue the template application process as you would do for a single document template.
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Creating a Portfolio

What you should know

You can combine multiple PDF documents into one portfolio. Portfolios are similar to ZIP files and may contain both signed and unsigned documents. Each document of a portfolio can be printed separately. A portfolio may contain signed documents, but cannot itself be signed. Files in a ConsignO portfolio are ordered. The portfolio will carry a .pdf file extension, regardless which type of documents a newly created portfolio contains. Portfolios are identified by theicone document icon in the My Computer view. Note that the files in a portfolio are ordered.

To create a portfolio

  1. Select your documents the same way as in batch signing.
  2. Start creating your portfolio. You can either:
    1. If you selected the files from ConsignO, right-click and select Create a portfolio or click File > Create a portfolio from the main window menu.
    2. If you selected the files from your desktop, right-click and select Send to > ConsignO -10. Create a portfolio.
  3. (Optional) In the Create a portfolio window, select a document from the list and change its order by clicking on the arrows on the right.
  4. Click OK.
  5. In the Save as dialogue window, choose the portfolio’s name and folder location.
  6. Click Save.

You now have your file portfolio.

To edit a portfolio

  1. In the My computer view, double-click on an existing portfolio.
  2. From the portfolio window, you can:
    1. Add a new document by clicking Add.
    2. Remove a document by selecting it and clicking Remove.
    3. Extract a document, similar to extracting it from a zip archive, by selecting it and clicking Extract. You are then prompted to select and extraction folder.
    4. Change documents order in the list using the arrows.
  3. Click Save to save your changes.
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Merging documents

What you should know

You can merge several signed and/or unsigned documents into a single PDF (or PDF/A) document, which can then be authenticated with your digital signature. When merging signed documents, remember that the digital signatures originally present on the documents are deleted; only the Signature appearances remain in the merged document. It is necessary to authenticate the newly merged document. In other words, all signers of the original document must digitally sign the newly merged document to authenticate it.

Note that it is possible to merge only one document to remove its digital signature while keeping the Signature appearance intact. It is also possible to merge documents without signing the result by cancelling the last signature step. ConsignO will then invite you to save the unsigned document.

To merge documents

  1. Select your documents the same way as in batch signing.
  2. Start merging your documents. You can either:
    1. If you selected the files from ConsignO, right-click and select Merge Documents or click File > Merge Documents from the main window menu.
    2. If you selected the files from your desktop, right-click and select Send to > ConsignO -9. Merge…
  3. From the Merge documents window:
    1. (Optional) Change the documents order by using the arrows.
    2. Check Convert merged document with the following PDF/A format if you want to convert your file.
    3. Select which PDF/A format from the drop-down list.
  4. Click Finish.

You will be warned about signature zone conflicts if there are any.

  1. In the Save as dialogue window, choose the merged document’s name and folder location.
  2. Click Save.

You now have a new merged document ready to be signed.  

8 - Combined Actions

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Combined Actions

What you should know

Having to perform multiple steps on a document can be inefficient. ConsignO provides the ability to launch a PDF/A conversion, apply a template and sign documents in a single step using the Combined Actions option. This option can be accessed by right-clicking in the file explorer or in the My Computer view in ConsignO Desktop. Combined actions can be applied to one or multiple PDF documents.

To perform combined actions:

  1. Select the documents you want to modify. You can either:
    1. From the My Computer view panel in ConsignO, select a folder or multiple files the same way you would do it in your file browser.
    2. From your desktop, select the files or a folder in your Windows Explorer.
  2. Start the file modification process. You can either:
    1. If you selected the files from ConsignO, right-click and select Combined Actions from the menu or click Edit > Combined Actions from the main window menu.
    2. If you selected the files from your desktop, right-click and select Send to > ConsignO -1. Combined Actions.
  3. From the  Combined Actions Wizard you can:
    1. Convert the file to a PDF/A format.
      1. Select the checkbox to the right if you want this action performed on the file.
      2. Click on the bar with the greater than (>) symbol to select which format to convert into.
    2. Apply a template
      1. Select the checkbox to the right if you want this action performed on the file
      2. Click on the bar with the greater than (>) symbol to change the applied template. The template chosen in Preferences is applied by default.
    3. Sign the document
      1. Select the checkbox to the right if you want this action performed on the file.
      2. Click on the bar with the greater than (>) symbol to change the signature options as you would Sign a document only.
    4. Modify the Save Options
      1. Click on the bar with the greater than (>) symbol to change the save options. The options configured in Preferences are applied by default.
  4. Click Lauch

NOTE: If an action cannot be accomplished, the checkbox stays greyed out and a message explains the reason.

9- Printing

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Printing documents with Adobe Reader from ConsignO Desktop

What you should know

ConsignO Desktop can print using Adobe Acrobat Reader (default option), or by using its embedded printing functions. Printing using Adobe Acrobat Reader offers advanced printing options, and ConsignO will merge the selected documents beforehand if you select to print multiple documents in a single operation. Note that ConsignO does not integrate with the Standard and Pro versions of Adobe Acrobat.

To print documents:

  1. Select one or more documents to print from the My Computer view.
  2. Either right-click or click on the File
  3. Select Print with Adobe Reader.
  4. If you selected to print multiple documents with Adobe Reader, a pop-up window appears.
    1. Reorder your documents with the arrows on the right side if necessary
    2. Select if you want to convert the merged document into a PDF/A format.
    3. Click Finish.
  5. The print setup window appears. Configure your print options as usual.

10 - Annex

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How to configure Adobe Acrobat to validate signatures

                               

 

 

                           

 

              

 

               

Note: Depending on your Professionnal Association, your Certificate Authority might be "Notarius Root Certificate Authority". If so, please select this Certification authority and continue to STEP 6.

 

                                     

 

                                    

 

                                      

 

                                 

 

                       

                                 

PDF version available here : How to configure Adobe Acrobat to validate signatures