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How To Verify a Digital Signature

by Olivia Baker

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Learn how to verify a digital signature using free PDF readers, to make sure your signed documents are 100% authentic.

Digital signature tools have been an incredible addition to our technology-rich world and help streamline decades-old PDF processes. But how do you make sure your signatures can’t be forged? Or that they haven’t already been manipulated? Carry on reading to find out!

When Do You Need To Verify a Digital Signature?


If you’ve used an electronic signature tool that you’re unfamiliar with, you probably want to make sure your signed PDF is legally binding, and your signature is considered valid before sending it to anyone, especially if it’s a legal document. By verifying your signature, you can relax knowing that no one can alter your signature or information without affecting the validity of the document. If the file hasn’t been validated yet, you can do that in Adobe Reader.

It’s also important to verify that signed documents are authentic and haven’t been tampered with. This would come in handy to ensure that your agreements and contacts are genuine and that no forgery was involved in the creation of the signature.

Note: Both electronic and digital signatures can be legally binding. Depending on where you live, an electronic signature can carry the same legal weight as an ink signature, whereas digital signatures offer a host of additional features for added security.

If you’re keen to learn more about the legality of digital signatures, read our article on the trustworthiness of digital signatures here.

How To Verify a Digital Signature in a PDF


If you’ve recently received a signed document, or you’ve used an e-signing tool like Sign.com, you can verify that signatures are authentic by using a variety of PDF readers. Follow these easy steps to verify a signature with Adobe’s free PDF Reader:

  1. Open the signed document you want to verify.
  2. Select the fountain pen symbol on the left side.
  3. If needed, click on the arrow to open the drop-down menu.
  4. Check for “Signature is Valid.” You might see “Signature not yet verified,” in which case you can “Validate All” to start the process.

Verify the authenticity of your digital signatures in just a few steps

When the signature is verified, you’ll see additional details below, such as whether it has been modified since it was signed, whether a timestamp is included, at which date the signature will expire, as well as the validity of the signee’s signature and identity.

Can I Use eSign Safely?


At Smallpdf, we pride ourselves on the security and safety of our tools. We are ISO/IEC 27001 certified, comply with GDPR and eIDAS, and provide advanced TLS encryption on our servers to make sure your PDF files and documents are safe with us.

Head to the Smallpdf Privacy Policy page for full details.

Got a document you want to sign?

Olivia Baker
Olivia Baker
Content Writer