Electronic seals (e-seals) provide the same legal validity as a company rubber stamp on paper, where no individual signer authenticity is conveyed. The main difference between a seal and a signature is that a signature is meant for individuals (natural persons), whereas a seal is used by a legal entity (business or organization). E-seals can be applied by more than one person or system under the control or supervision of the legal entity.
The electronic sealing feature in Adobe Acrobat Sign allows organizations to apply e-seals using digital certificates issued to their legal entity to help convey the integrity and authenticity of invoices, statements, or other official documents.
Users assigned specific privileges to automatically apply an e-seal for their organization to a document using a digital certificate obtained from a Trust Service Provider (TSP) with a Cloud Signature Consortium (CSC) API integration with OAuth 2.0 Client Credential authorization flow. The following providers currently support this feature:
Electronic seals are automatically available to Adobe Acrobat Sign enterprise tier accounts and can be configured at the account or group level.
Two settings must be configured to expose the e-seal options on the user's Send page.
To allow your senders to use the e-seal role, you must enable it in the group from which the agreement will be sent.
To enable the electronic seal recipient role, navigate to: Account Settings > Send Settings > Allowed Recipient Roles
If the option to allow electronic sealers is not enabled for the group in which the agreement is configured, the Add Electronic Seal link will not be exposed.
The default status for users to include e-seals in their agreements can be configured at the account and group levels.
For most accounts, the recommendation is to disable access at the account level and explicitly enable groups where appropriate. Accounts that have Users in Multiple Groups enabled may find dedicated groups for agreements that demand e-seals useful in limiting e-seal access at the group level.
The options are:
In either case, individual users can be explicitly configured to override the group-level settings. (See Authorize individual users to add electronic seals below.)
If the option to add electronic seals is not enabled for the user creating the agreement, the Add Electronic Seal link will not be exposed.
Account-level administrators can edit the user profile of individual users to explicitly enable/disable their authority to include electronic seals in their agreements.
This authority is applied to the user directly, which overrides the group level settings for all groups in which the user is a member.
It is recommended that user-level enablement only be done when the expectation is that the whole of the account will have access to e-seals disabled, and only specialized userIDs will initiate agreements that exploit e-seals (such as API-driven workflows/technical accounts).
To explicitly enable/disable access to apply e-seals:
At least one e-seal must be configured, active, and available to the group from which the agreement is being sent. Otherwise, the option to add the e-seal isn't exposed on the page.
Creating an e-seal requires that you first obtain a digital certificate from a TSP with a CSC API integration. (See the Prerequisites)
Once you have the certificate, you can configure the e-seal by:
1. Navigating to Account Settings > Electronic Seals.
2. Click the plus icon with a circle around it .
The interface to create the new e-seal opens.
3. Enter the e-seal parameters using the information provided by your TSP:
4. Click Save when done.
The configured e-seal is created in Active status and displays on the Electronic Seals page in the list of seals.
The e-seal is ready to be applied to agreements immediately.
The properties of an e-seal can be updated while the seal is in an Active status.
To edit the properties of an e-seal:
The configurable fields of the seal are exposed:
All saved changes take effect immediately.
To deactivate an e-seal:
You will be challenged to ensure you want to deactivate the e-seal.
The seal is immediately deactivated and is no longer available for use.
When reviewing the list of e-seals for the account/group, you will find the e-seal with an Inactive status.
Deactivated e-seals persist in the list of seals and can be re-activated at any time.
There is no method to fully delete the e-seal.
If an agreement attempts to have an e-seal applied by a seal that is disabled, the agreement is declined and terminated.
An email is delivered to the sender, indicating that the electronic sealing failed.
The audit report reports a Document declined event, citing the reason that electronic sealing has failed.
To re-activate an e-seal that has been deactivated:
The seal is immediately reactivated and available for use.
When reviewing the list of e-seals for the account/group, you will find the e-seal with an Active status.
To easily copy the ID of an e-seal:
When the group, user, and e-seal are properly configured, the Add Electronic Seal link is exposed in the top menu bar of the Recipients stack.
Once the agreement is sent, the e-seal recipient may not be edited or delegated.
If the Add Electronic Seal link is not exposed, check that:
All agreements that use an e-seal recipient must go to the authoring environment to place the digital signature field that contains the e-seal.
All e-seals must be explicitly placed on the document using a digital signature field.
All other recipient roles can be authored normally.
The e-seal is applied immediately after the e-seal recipient becomes the active recipient in the signature cycle.
The e-seal is applied programmatically in the location of the digital signature field, and the next recipient is notified (if any).
Email notification of the signing event follows the same rules and format as other recipient emails.
The applied e-seal provides the signature reason (as defined in the seal configuration) and the time/date stamp of when the seal was applied.
The digital signature object that contains the e-seal is slightly larger in height than a standard e-signature field:
Agreements that include an e-seal recipient clearly identify the sealing process in the audit report.
Details captured include: