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# AutoCAD 2018 to PDF - and Digital (not Electronic) Signatures

## AutoCAD 2018 to PDF - and Digital (not Electronic) Signatures

(OP)
Hi All,

I'm preparing drawings are for a municipality which allows signed & sealed PDF permit plans to be submitted with encrypted Digital ID's which can be verified by a trusted 3rd party Certification Authority, in lieu of the traditional hardcopy plots with wet signature and embossed seal. Yes, Digital Signatures - NOT just Electronic Signatures (or merely scans of the engineer's wet-sign autograph and ink-stamp seal which are not secure or able to be validated as applied by the engineer).

I don't want to apply a Digital Signature to AutoCAD (2018) files; I want to apply them to the PDFs, but possibly via a "smart signature field" which can be detected by Acrobat (or Bluebeam) after the drawing is plotted to a PDF with the DWG to PDF.pc3. Alternatively, if this can be done with the Acrobat or Bluebeam PDF print driver from AutoCAD - that would be great, too. I don't have the Bluebeam plug-in in AutoCAD (2018) because my version of Bluebeam is too old to support ACAD 2018.

Someone said that adding Digital Signature fields in Bluebeam is the way to go. We also have Bluebeam but have to add the Digital Signature field one at a time on each PDF sheet and it gets time consuming for larger projects. I'd like to put an AutoCAD Signature Field in my DWG sheet template so the work only needs to be done once - and then our engineer (or designee) can just click to sign the plotted PDFs which have Signature fields, ready and waiting.

Has anyone been able to automate this process in AutoCAD, to a degree - without spending a fortune on 3rd party plug-in apps?

It's almost the year 2020 - I don't expect a flying car - but Autodesk should have warehouses of programmers working on this by now :-/

If you can't find a computer solution for the repetitive signing task, you could always train an admin to do it (obviously once you have given permission). At least the time would be burned at a lower $rate. IRSTUFF, you can sign with Acrobat, but the signature will show as "invalid" when opened with someone else's license. I still sign my reports this way because it still tracks modifications made post signature. But you need a third party verification if you want it to show valid on anybody's licence other than your own. I don't understand why it is so stupid, but it was obviously concocted by someone smarter than me. ### RE: AutoCAD 2018 to PDF - and Digital (not Electronic) Signatures You're both correct, a 'self certified' signature can be created in Acrobat, or you can pay either Adobe or another 3rd party service to provide you with an encryption key capable of providing signatures that are accepted as being 3rd party verifiable. IRStuff's case has a 3rd party verified signature. How that works against verifying that a wetsigned document actually has the signature of the person who signed it is anyone's guess. I've not looked into it, but some semblance of automation is likely possible. One of the issues would be who actually produces the PDF and when, as linking the PDF production to 'printing' the drawings in AutoCAD would mean that only the signatory can print the document, otherwise it'd end up being unsigned. ### RE: AutoCAD 2018 to PDF - and Digital (not Electronic) Signatures Yes, the document has a 3rd party verification, but I'm not using anything except a self-certified signature for my own stuff. TTFN (ta ta for now) I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm ### RE: AutoCAD 2018 to PDF - and Digital (not Electronic) Signatures (OP) Thanks for the great input! I was playing around with Digital Signing processes within Acrobat and Bluebeam last week and it's kind of klunky. FWIW, Acrobat doesn't let you populate all pages of a multi-page PDF with a signature field automatically - as they consider the entire document Digitally Signed once you apply a signature to a sheet within it. Not a big deal for a long narrative report or contract which may require a signature at the end of many pages. But engineering drawings require that every page of the set should be digtially signed. You can manually apply multiple signature fields to a multi-page PDF one page at a time though. The AHJ (we are working with now) will require us to submit single-page PDFs of a set, so the digital sigs still have to be applied one sheet/file at a time in Acrobat - not a big deal if the set has 18 sheets... but 80 sheets is exhausting (and we have several large-scale projects that would require this). We are required to apply a facsimile graphic of the rubber-stamp engineer's seal and signature and the Digital Signature cannot be self-certified (EnTrust has a good plan that isn't too much$\$ to get a Digital ID). I've seen talk on Acrobat forums of using specific macros that can be used to automate signature field placement (and possibly digitally signing, as well - I have to dig deeper on that one).

True, we can train someone in admin who is at a lower paygrade to do this, but our company structure means that person is primary support to the President of our firm and if a proposal is going out at the same time - the proposal gets priority (this happens frequently enough to require higher level people be their own admin support for spec edits, etc.). We always need process backup - and as the CAD Manager, I usually get stuck with the last-minute emergency requests that need to be done in an unreasonable amount of time lol. Automation of this process is mostly self-serving. A few of us are trying to sell using Digital Signatures to management with no overhead cost (and ultimately cost-savings over the current process of plotting 3 or 4 hardcopy sets with an embossed seal applied to be mailed out or dropped off).

That's why I'm looking for a solution higher up the process chain - so the intelligence & format consistency can be put into the AutoCAD file (i.e. blank signature field can be created once in a template - at the correct size and location on the sheet and will be in the file automatically when a new sheet/titleblock is created from the template). We can then apply the Digital Signature within our PDF editing software globally via a macro or something. I think I'm asking for distant future technology on this one - but any way I can cut repetitive steps out of this process amounts to time and money savings.

I've hit up Autodesk to see if a smart signature field on drawings which would be retained and recognized by Acrobat or Bluebeam once plotted to PDF is in the works for future releases or if there are plug-ins they can recommend now. Not sure if I will hear back tho.

Sorry for the ridiculously long post, but maybe this research can help others out if looking for the same solutions.

### RE: AutoCAD 2018 to PDF - and Digital (not Electronic) Signatures

I don't understand why the sheets are not signed at the time they are reviewed - the review process is certainly more time consuming to identify and verify all the information on each sheet. The review should be of the PDF, not the AutoCAD data, as the PDF will be the legally binding document and any differences between the two are the responsibility of the PE.

Perhaps the lack of an automated solution is a reflection that the practice is undesirable.

### RE: AutoCAD 2018 to PDF - and Digital (not Electronic) Signatures

The Bluebeam "REVU eXtreme" version does multiple page or multiple document digital signatures, and can also apply the PE stamp/date to each sheet, flatten, and then apply the dig sig at one time - its set up for this. Batch > Sign&Seal. I haven't wet stamped anything in a couple years now.

You can find a youtube video on it.

### RE: AutoCAD 2018 to PDF - and Digital (not Electronic) Signatures

#### Quote (Balloon.Ninja)

But engineering drawings require that every page of the set should be digtially signed.

Not really. Consider the meaning of the phrase you used, because the computer file is 1 single computer file. The appearance on a page of a signature has nothing to do with the digital signature. You actually have multiple options.
One case is that a particular jurisdiction or customer expects a document to be "inked" or "graphically" signed. Applying a digital signature is an additional step, separate from the appearance of a signature.
Another case that may be more applicable to what you are doing is that all sheets are inked or signed graphically, and the document as a whole is digitally signed too.
You may need it one way or another, but from here it is not clear if you are driven by a customer need, by the format of the title block you happen to be using today, or something in between.

No one believes the theory except the one who developed it. Everyone believes the experiment except the one who ran it.
STF

### RE: AutoCAD 2018 to PDF - and Digital (not Electronic) Signatures

From 3DDave

#### Quote:

I don't understand why the sheets are not signed at the time they are reviewed - the review process is certainly more time consuming to identify and verify all the information on each sheet. The review should be of the PDF, not the AutoCAD data, as the PDF will be the legally binding document and any differences between the two are the responsibility of the PE.

Perhaps the lack of an automated solution is a reflection that the practice is undesirable.

Those are my thoughts on the matter, also, especially the bold part. Signing the sheet is a tiny fraction of the time to review it. The question sounds like trying to avoid the entire reviewing and stamping process.

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