Digital signatures confirm the authenticity and integrity of digital documents. Similarly to stamped seals, they provide assurance that the document has not been altered since creation. When dealing with secure data, digital signatures establish trust between recipients. In the AEC industry, they are especially useful in reducing paper waste and decreasing overhead costs.

In Bluebeam Revu, you can create customized digital signatures and IDs. Using this signature, you can sign and certify PDFs to establish their authenticity. When receiving documents, Revu also allows you to validate signatures. Whether sending or receiving PDFs, you can confirm the integrity of the document.

In this article, we will look at how to create and use digital signatures in Bluebeam Revu. This process consists of 4 steps: creating an ID, exporting an ID certificate, creating a signature, and signing documents. The following examples are from Bluebeam Revu 2019 eXtreme. However, this process is the same for all versions of Revu.

Creating a Digital ID

Before working with digital signatures, you will need to create a Digital ID. A digital ID is similar to an identification card – it verifies the identity of the person using it. In order to use digital signatures, you need a digital ID to verify who you are.

You can purchase digital IDs from a third-party certificate authority – such as the Windows Certificate Store. Purchasing an ID bypasses the need for pre-established trust between recipients. Instead, the certificate authority will verify your identity to other parties automatically. With these IDs, you can sign your document and send it out, without having to also share your digital ID certificate.

You can also create digital IDs directly from Revu. Digital IDs created in Revu are “self signed” – meaning that you will need to share your digital certificate with others to establish trust. Recipients will not be able to verify your signed documents without this shared certificate. Self signed IDs are best used for smaller companies who are sharing to only trusted parties.

To create or search for a digital ID in Revu, select Tools > Signatures > Digital IDs.

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From the Manage Digital IDs dialog box, select the + button. If you already have a digital ID, you can select Browse for existing ID to add it to Revu. If you don’t have an ID, you can choose to either create one within Revu or within the Windows Certificate Store. In this example, I’ll be creating a digital ID directly from Revu – so I’ll select Create a Digital ID file.

Under Identity, you can enter in information to establish your identity. The only required fields here are Name and Email Address – but you can enter in as much information as desired.

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Under PKCS#12 Options, you can select a location on your computer to save the ID file to. You can also set and confirm a password. Setting a password is important, as it will ensure that only you are able to access this digital ID. Once you’ve entered in at least your name, email, and password, select OK.

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Within the Manage Digital IDs window, you will see your created ID. If needed, you can create additional IDs here the same way.

Exporting Digital ID Certificates

Although “self-signed” IDs are easy to create, they do come with one caveat. Unlike certificate authority IDs, digital IDs created in Revu are not automatically verified. If you sign a document and send it out, your recipient can not confirm your signature unless you provide them a copy of your ID certificate. By sending out this certificate, other users can establish you as a “trusted ID” to allow for verification.

Once you create a digital ID in Revu, you will need to share your ID certificate with your recipients. You should do this before sharing any digitally signed or certified documents. To share your ID certificate, select your ID from the list and press Export. Within the Windows explorer, choose a location to save the file to. Once saved, you can share this file with others via email or network sharing system.

How to Export PDF to Microsoft Word and back with Bluebeam PDF Printer in Bluebeam Revu 2019

Your recipient can then import your digital ID as a Trusted Identity in the application they’re using. In Bluebeam Revu, for example, you can do this by selecting Tools > Signature > Trusted Identities. In this window, select the + button to import in a digital certificate. Once you add a trusted identity, you can verify signatures that use that digital ID.

Creating a Digital Signature Appearance

With your digital ID created, you can now create a digital signature appearance to go with it. Bluebeam Revu allows you to create multiple digital signature appearances to work with. This can be useful if you need to provide more information to one source and less to another.

To create a digital signature appearance, select your ID and press Manage Appearances. In the Appearances window, select the + button to create a new one.

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The Signature Appearance window will open, where you can adjust the look of your signature. First, use the Title field to give your template a recognizable name. This is especially useful if you plan on creating multiple signature appearances.

Under Graphic, there are several options to choose from:

  • None will apply no graphic to the signature
  • Name prints the signer’s name in bold as a graphic
  • File will apply a specified graphic from your computer to your signature, such as your company’s logo

After selecting a graphic type, you can adjust its Position within the signature. You can either have this graphic appear on the left, right, or in the background (behind the text).

How to Export PDF to Microsoft Word and back with Bluebeam PDF Printer in Bluebeam Revu 2019

In the Text section, you can choose which information will display within your signature. Use the checkboxes to select or deselect options. Along with this text, you can adjust how it’s aligned within the signature. Under Alignment, select one of the three boxes to place the information on the left, right, or center. For this text, you can use the Font Size field to adjust its size. If you keep Auto selected, the ideal font size will be set by default.

The Labels option lets you choose whether field name labels display. For example, in the preview, we can see data displayed as ‘label name: label’, such as Location: <Location>. If you deselect Labels, you will just see the data without the labels.

Lastly, there’s an option here for Logo. By default, Revu signatures feature a Bluebeam icon watermark. If you want to remove this graphic, deselect Logo.

The preview of the digital signature will update whenever an option is set. Once you’re satisfied with your digital signature appearance, select OK.

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In this same manner, you can continue to create additional digital signature appearances. For example, you might want a different signature when sharing with stakeholders than when sharing with team members.

Once you have created a digital ID and a signature appearance, you can begin using them to sign documents. If you receive a document with a signature field, you can sign it with just one click. However, if you need to sign a document without a signature field, you will need to add one before signing.

Creating a Signature Field

If a digital signature field was not provided for you, you can add one to the document. A digital signature field is required to sign documents in Revu. You can either add a field and then sign it, or do both at once using the Sign Document tool.

To add a signature field to the PDF and sign the document, select Tools > Signature > Sign Document. Drag your cursor on the page to define the signature field.

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The Sign dialog box will open, prompting you to select an ID from the Digital ID drop down. Select the ID you created, enter in the password, and press Log In. The digital signature preview will display in the Appearance box once you’ve logged in.

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Under Signature Type, you can choose to sign the document or certify it. To add a digital signature, keep Digital Signature selected. Under Options, you can choose a Reason for signing the document. The program provides several common reasons, but you can also create your own reason as well. You can enter in your Location and Contact Info as well – but these fields are not required.

Lastly, under Appearance, choose the digital signature appearance that you wish to use. With all your settings chosen, select OK to place your signature. Once placed, the program will prompt you to save the document. Your digital signature will now appear on the document. If you send this document out to other users, they can use this signature to verify the authenticity of the PDF.

Summary

Digital signatures are important for confirming the authenticity of digital documents. They allow recipients verification that the document was not modified since signing. In secure environments, digital signatures are especially important to establish trust. Bluebeam Revu allows you to create digital IDs and signatures within the application. With an ID created, you can export and share the digital certificate with recipients. You can quickly sign documents – and even create signature fields – on any PDF within Revu. With digital signatures, you can ensure that your information stays secure when sharing PDFs.

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please use the comment section on the bottom of this page. Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog to get more Bluebeam tips & tricks directly in your inbox!

Lauren Hecker is a Bluebeam Certified Instructor and teaches onsite and virtual Bluebeam Revu training courses. To schedule an onsite or custom course, please contact us!

3 Comments

  1. Clunie

    Cool. Very helpful tutorial. I followed the steps and when I tried to add signature, it is still grayed out. What should I do? I repeated all the steps several times but no change.

    Thank you,

    Reply
    • Lauren Hecker

      Hi Clunie,
      What is grayed out on the screen? I’m happy to assist further. If you want to send me screenshots of what the screen looks like to my email (lhecker@taradigm.com), I’ll be able to look at this a little more closely.

      Reply
  2. Brian Richardson

    How can I use my existing digital ID from Acrobat in REVU?

    Reply

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