Enable or disable digital signatures

When you design a form template, you can specify whether or not users are able to use digital signatures when they fill out forms based on your form template. You can use a digital signature for many of the same reasons that you might sign a paper document. A digital signature is used to authenticate (authenticate: The process of verifying that people and products are who and what they claim to be. For example, confirming the source and integrity of a software publisher's code by verifying the digital signature used to sign the code.) digital information — such as form templates, forms, e-mail messages, and documents — by using computer cryptography. Once a form is signed, either the entire form or part of the form that was signed cannot be altered without invalidating the signature.

 Note   If a form template was designed based on an XML Schema, you can enable digital signatures for the form template only if the XML Schema has a node that is in the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) (World Wide Web Consortium (W3C): A consortium of commercial and educational institutions that oversees research and promotes standards in all areas related to the World Wide Web.) XML digital signature namespace (namespace: A mechanism that uniquely qualifies element names and relationships to avoid name collisions on elements that have the same name but are coming from multiple sources.).

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Compatibility considerations

When you create a form template, you can enable digital signatures so that users can add them either to the entire form or to specific parts of the form. In Microsoft Office InfoPath 2007, you can also choose to design a browser-compatible form template. A browser-compatible form template is a form template that is designed in InfoPath by using a specific compatibility mode. A browser-compatible form template can be browser-enabled when it is published to a server running InfoPath Forms Services. In browser-enabled form templates you can only enable digital signatures to be added to specific parts of the forms that users fill out. When you enable digital signatures for parts of the form, the signatures apply only to the data in those specific parts of the form.

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Enable digital signatures so that users can sign an entire form

  1. On the Tools menu, click Form Options.
  1. Under Category, click Digital Signatures, and then click Enable digital signatures for the entire form.

 Note   If you are designing a browser-compatible form template, the Enable digital signatures for the entire form option is unavailable because browser-compatible form templates only support digital signatures for specific parts of the form template. If you change the compatibility options for your form template after enabling digital signatures, you should run the Design Checker to verify that digital signature options are set correctly. Find more information on the Design Checker in the See Also section.

  1. If the form template was designed based on a database, a Web service, or an XML Schema that contains a digital signature namespace, click Select XPath Button image to specify the group in the data source where the signature should be stored. The group must be part of a digital signature namespace.

 Note   If you design a form template that is not based on a database, a Web service, or an XML Schema that contains a digital namespace, this option is unavailable. In this case, proceed to step 5.

  1. In the Select a Field or Group dialog box, click the field or group for which you want to enable digital signatures, and then click OK.
  2. If you want users to sign the form before they submit it, select the Prompt user to sign the form if it is submitted without a signature check box.

 Note   If you have not already enabled form submission for the form template, you must do so after you select this check box.

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Enable digital signatures so that users can sign part of a form

  1. On the Tools menu, click Form Options.
  1. Under Category, click Digital Signatures, and then click Enable digital signatures for specific data in the form.
  2. Click Add.
  3. In the Set of Signable Data dialog box, type a name for the part of the form template for which you want to enable digital signatures.

 Tip   The name you use cannot contain any spaces.

  1. Click Select XPath Button image next to the Fields and Groups to be signed box.
  2. In the Select a Field or Group dialog box, click the field or group for which you want to enable digital signatures, and then click OK.
  3. Under Signature options in the Set of Signable Data dialog box, do one of the following:
    • To allow only one signature for this part of the form template, click Allow only one signature.
    • To allow multiple signatures that are independent of each other, and that can be added or removed without affecting the other signatures, click All the signatures are independent (co-sign).
    • To allow multiple signatures that sign preceding signatures, click Each signature signs the preceding signatures (counter-sign).
  4. In the Signature confirmation message box, type the text that you want to show the user when they sign this part of the form, and then click OK twice.
  5. In the form template, associate the part of the form template for which you enabled digital signatures with a section.

ShowHow?

  1. Place your cursor where you want to insert the section.
  2. If the Data Source task pane is not visible, click Data Source on the View menu.
  1. In the Data Source task pane, do one of the following:

 Note   If the field or group that you specified repeats, you must select a non-repeating group that contains that field or group.

  1. In the form template, double-click the Section label below the section that contains the other sections or controls that you just inserted.
  2. Click the Digital Signatures tab.
  3. Select the Allow users to digitally sign this section check box.
  4. In the Sign the following data in the form when this section is signed box, click the name of the section that you created a digital signature for in step 4.
  5. To display signatures in the section as they are added, select the Show signatures in the section check box.
  6. To make the controls in the section read-only once they are signed, select the When signed, make controls read-only check box.

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Disable digital signatures

  1. On the Tools menu, click Form Options.
  1. Under Category, click Digital Signatures, and then do one of the following:
    • To disable digital signatures for the entire form template, click Do not enable digital signatures.
    • To disable digital signatures for a specific part of the form template, click Enable digital signatures for specific data in the form, click the part of the form template in the Data in the form that can be signed list that you want to disable digital signatures for, and then click Remove.

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Applies to:
InfoPath 2007