How Digital Signatures are Replacing Paper Across Europe

by Conor Smith | January 23, 2018

We have already talked about the Digital Signatures and the relationship with PDF technology, but the importance of Digital Signatures has changed the landscape of business across Europe forever.


In 2014 Electronic Identification, Authentication and Trust Services, or eIDAS, was introduced across Europe. Acting as a set of standards, the services were created to protect transactions regarding electronic transactions to those of paper transactions. The intention of eIDAS was to make it easier for companies across Europe to do business together without the need for traditional methods of signing, like in person signing, mail, etc. By creating a set of guidelines, business can exist across borders, and digital tools and technologies utilized by fostering innovation. One of these digital technologies is PDF.


PDF Advanced Electronic Signatures (PAdES) are a set of restrictions created to ensure PDF signatures adhered to eIDAS as well as ISO 32000-1. These restrictions broadly outline that signatures are:

  • Uniquely linked to the person whose signature it represents
  • Is capable of identifying the person whose signature it represents
  • Only the signatory has control over where the signature appears
  • If data is attached to the signature after signing, it can be recognized
  • The importance of these restrictions is that they ensure PDF technology is kept up-to-date with EU standards of digital signatures. This enables organizations, who use or want to use PDF as their primary file format, to conduct business in a legally binding way.

    The Benefits of PAdES

    Obviously having an electronic means of validating documents makes conducting business across the EU a lot easier. Ensuring that customers have a smooth sales and onboarding experience creates a good environment to start a relationship. But there are also more benefits to using PAdES to validate documents.

    Long after a document is signed, PAdES ensures that this document remains valid. Even after their encryption algorithm has been broken, digital signatures remain legally binding for years. This paves the way for more sophisticated business as documents can be tracked through PDF technology while the validity of them remains intact.

    PDF software is widely available through the use of editors, viewers and Software Development Kits (SDKs) which give you the freedom to decide the level of control you have over the documentation that you possess. Using PDF to carry out contracts and other essential business processes means that you can choose the amount of freedom your team has to develop and update documentation when you need it the most.

    Why use Foxit Software for your Digital Signature needs

    When you use our MobilePDF SDK you can easily implement PAdES restrictions through our UI. Our Digital Signature function allows you to place many different types of restrictions and components within it to ensure that you are compliant with PAdES and much more.

    Foxit provides PDF SDKs for many different company types and sizes, depending on the level of expertise the team has with PDF technology. For teams with limited knowledge, our MobilePDF SDK comes with a UI extension whereby specific functionalities are easily added without the need to know the complexities of the technology behind it. For more seasoned PDF developers, our Foxit PDF SDK gives you complete control over the look and feel of your application.

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