Flatten PDF with signatures - Acrobat Pro XI

In earlier versions of Acrobat I could flatten my digital signature and then insert additional pages using the flatten page or document menu option. However; since upgrading to Acrobat Pro XI the flatten page option does not flatten the digital signature. Anyone know how to do this without too many steps. We use the function at work to approve invoices and I want to know if this can be done before we upgrade everyone.

Brian Ambridge

4 Answers

Voted Best Answer

Signing with a digital ID adds a unique block of data to the PDF that is derived from the PDF. This block of data verifies that the document has not been changed since it was signed. Flattening destroys this block of data and even if you didn't flatten, adding pages would invalidate the signature. These activites go against the entire purpose of the digital signature.

So what is it that you are trying to accomplish with the digital signature? Maybe a "wet sigature" (ink) is more of what you need?

Thom Parker
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By Thom Parker   


To my knowledge, you can't flatten a signature anymore, and was never aware you actually could. Did you once mean flatten a stamp file or a wet signature that looked like like a signature as these can easily be flattened?

When you sign, you don't have as many options as certifying a PDF, but none of these methods can give you access to insert additional pages.

The signature has to be visible all the time as this is to certify/verify the content of the PDF and to track if any changes have been made to the document after signing/certifying.

Hope this helps?

Sean Mitchell   

We created digital signatures in Acrobat 8 that required a password then we would run a PDF Flatten script that would flatten the digital signature to the pdf so that we could delete or insert pages as before emailing the file. Below is the script that was used.

app.addMenuItem({ cName: "Flatten page", cParent: "Edit", cExec: "flattenPages(this.pageNum)",cEnable: 1, nPos: 16});app.addMenuItem({ cName: "Flatten document", cParent: "Edit", cExec: "flattenPages()",cEnable: 1, nPos: 17});

Brian Ambridge   

It seems Acrobat is not very consistent with what is and isn't allowed to be done to a document once it was signed. You can flatten a document with an unsigned Signature field, but once the field has been signed a NotAllowedError is thrown if you try to flatten any page in the document.
However, you can add new fields to a signed document (by using addField), for example, although it invalidates the signature.

My guess would be that flattenPages is not allowed because running it would create the illusion that a document is still signed, when in fact it could have been altered after the flattening took place. At any rate, this should be specified in the JS API Reference, but since the reference if XI is not published yet, we'll have to wait and see...

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Gilad D (try67)   

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