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How to Sign a PDF With Certificate Signature

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2024-04-18 14:00:40 • Filed to: Signature Tips • Proven solutions

Digitally signing documents is the new norm. You can sign contracts using tools like Wondershare PDFelement. It does not require paper, pen, and the parties involved to be together. Because of that, it is now the preferred way to sign documents. You only need one thing: a certificate signature PDF tool. And we are here to discuss the best one in the market.

Wondershare PDFelement is the top eSign tool right now. It allows you to sign with handwritten signatures or certificate signatures. Additionally, it lets you collect certificate signatures from others. In this article, we will explore its amazing features.

certificate signature pdf pdfelement

Part 1. What Is a PDF Certificate Signature?

A certificate-based signature is a digital signature with special properties. As the name suggests, these signatures come with certificates that you can use to verify the signature's authenticity and integrity. The certificate is issued by trusted entities known as Certificate Authorities (CAs).

How does that work? The certificate contains the signer's public key, their identity information, and the CA's digital signature. If this information is missing or does not match what's attached to a signature, then it is a fake signature. Because of this, you should sign contracts and other formal documents with certificate-based signatures only.

Part 1.1. Certificate-Based Signature vs. E-Signature: Which One To Use?

Both certificate-based signatures and e-signatures have uses. Depending on the case, you'd want to use one over the other. As discussed above, certificate-based signatures are for formal documents like contracts. The security features make it the better format.

On the other hand, e-signatures are just your signatures in digital form. They would do if you need to sign documents that are not very important. An authorization letter is an example, especially if you plan to print it. There is no point in using certificate-based signatures for print because the certificate attached to the signature does not get printed.

Part 2. Wondershare PDFelement: The Best Tool for Signing PDF with Certificate Signatures

wondershare pdfelement esign

Wondershare PDFelement is the best eSign tool right now. It offers so many advantages. For starters, it lets you sign PDFs with certificate signatures and collect signatures from others. On top of that, the signatures are not questionable, as PDFelement eSign adheres to high security and industry standards like E-Sign Act (Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act), HIPAA and ISO 27001.

Wondershare PDFelement streamlines the document signing process by removing the need to print, fax, and scan agreements. You can send signature requests to multiple people at once! They can sign by email anytime and anywhere. Meaning you also do not have to be in the same place at the same time.

You also get updated when people sign or view the document. This allows you to take the next step right after all signers have signed the agreement. Things become so convenient, improving your efficiency and productivity.

With all these said, we can conclude that Wondershare PDFelement is a robust certificate-based signature tool. And that is why it is the first one you should try.

Key Features:

  • Self-sign PDFs with certificate-based signatures.
  • Create and export digital IDs for certificate-based signatures.
  • Sign documents sent by others with certificate-based signatures.
  • Sign PDFs anywhere and on any device using the email link.
  • Collect signatures from other people.
  • Updates about the status of PDFs sent for signatures.
  • The certificate-based signatures adhere to regulations and standards like E-Sign Act, HIPAA, ISO 27001, PDS2, Swift, CMMC, and NITES.

Part 3. How To Sign PDF With Digital Signature Certificate Using PDFelement

Wondershare PDFelement's eSign feature was already great before. But now, it has even more features, making it truly an amazing eSign tool. Allow us to teach you how to use these features.

Here is a guide on how to sign PDFs with certificate-based signatures using Wondershare PDFelement.

Part 3.1 Sign a PDF With Self-Signed Certificate Signatures

  1. Launch Wondershare PDFelement and open the PDF that you need to sign. Click Protect > Sign Document.

sign document option on wondershare pdfelement
  1. Click on the area in the PDF where you want your certificate signature to appear.
  2. Select your digital ID > Enter the password for the digital ID > click Sign to append your signature to the PDF. If you do not have a digital ID saved, skip this step and proceed to step 4.
selecting a digital id
  1. Click New ID.
  2. Check I want to create a new digital ID > click Next.
creating a new digital id
  1. Select between a PKCS#12 digital ID file and Windows Certificate Store. Read the text on the screen to help you decide.
choosing where to store the id
  1. On the window, enter your Name and Email Address. Optionally, you can also add your Organization Name, Organization Unit, and Country/Region.
adding essential information to the id
  1. Give the digital ID a file name and a password. Click Finish.
adding a file name and password
  1. Select the new ID and click Sign.
signing with the new digital id

Part 3. 2 Sign PDF Sent by Others With Certificate Signatures

Other users can send you signature requests. Here is how you can sign them.

A. Using the Desktop App

You do not have to exit Wondershare PDFelement to find the documents that need your signature. As long as you are signed in with your Wondershare ID, you can view and sign those agreements within PDFelement. It decreases the things that you should do. It's one of the small things that makes a big difference when piled up.

  1. Click Agreement on the left panel of Wondershare PDFelement. Find and open an agreement labeled "Waiting for me."

opening a document needing your signature
  1. Click the Sign tag. It will show you the signature field that you need to sign.
the sign tag directs you
  1. Select the signature field and create your signature via any of the three methods:
creating the digital signature appearance
    1. Upload: Upload an image of your signature.
    2. Type: Type your name or initials, and then apply a font style and font color.
    3. Draw: Draw your signature using your mouse or stylus.
  1. Click OK > Click to Sign > Next.
signing the agreement using wondershare pdfelement

B. Using the Email Link

Wondershare PDFelement allows you to sign PDFs with any device. So even when you are away from your computer, you can seal agreements on time. How? You can use the email link included in the email notification that you will receive when someone requests your signature. For the specifics, follow these steps:

  1. Open the email notification and click Sign the Document.
email notification of an esign request
  1. Check the checkbox labeled, "I agree with EULA and Privacy to use electronic records and signature." Click Continue.
agreeing with eula and privacy policy
  1. Click the Signature/Initial field.
  2. Select your signature. If it is your first time doing this, create one first. Again, you can upload an image, draw it, or type it.
creating the digital signature
  1. Click Save. That will apply the certificate signature to the PDF and save your signature for future use.

Part 4. How To Collect Certificate Signatures Using PDFelement

Wondershare PDFelement is the only eSign tool that you will ever need. It is a complete package. Besides letting you sign PDFs with certificate-based signatures, you can also use it to collect signatures.

This is an amazing tool. It lets you send PDFs to multiple people at once. That makes it a lot faster than the traditional way of collecting signatures.

But that is not all! Wondershare PDFelement alerts you when a signer has viewed the agreement or signed it. With this information, you can take further action to progress the document. For example, you can send a follow-up email to the persons who have not yet signed the PDF. Or you can immediately start the project after everyone involved has signed the PDF.

Here are the steps for doing that:

  1. Open the PDF with Wondershare PDFelement.
  2. Click Protect > Request eSign.
wondershare pdfelement request esign feature
  1. A new window will appear. Enter the signers' email addresses, your message, and when you want to sign the PDF. Set the signing order and frequency of updates under "Settings." Click Next.
adding recipients of the signature request
  1. Drag and drop the signature fields to where you want them to be.
document signing certificate add esign fields
  1. Click Send.

Bonus: Other Things Wondershare PDFelement Offers

PDFelement also allows you to create basic e-signatures. You can opt for that when making or signing documents that are not that important - for example, an authorization letter for receiving a package.

But that's not all. PDFelement, even the free version, is a full-blown PDF editor. You can extract data from forms, recognize and fill forms, perform OCR on documents, and add comments and notes.

Besides those, PDFelement is also a PDF viewer, converter, and merger. And, it also offers powerful AI tools that can summarize or explain PDFs, answer your questions, and more! That said, it provides value for the bucks.


Certificate signature PDF tools are essential to any business. It is a must to sign contracts and other formal documents with certificate-based signatures. Additionally, PDF is the preferred file type for professional documents. With that said, you get amazing value from Wondershare PDFelement. It is one of the top PDF tools, and it has a powerful eSign feature.

The certificate signatures follow high-security standards, so you can rest assured your documents are protected. And Wondershare PDFelement lets you both sign PDFs and collect signatures. It is too good to pass up.

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Audrey Goodwin

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