How to remove digital signatures from PDFs

There are plenty of reasons why you might need to remove a digital or scanned signature from a PDF.

Maybe the signee accidentally signed the wrong form. Maybe one or more parties had second thoughts before a contract was executed. Maybe they simply signed in the wrong place!

The problem is that PDFs are made to be secure and hard to modify.

This is especially true of PDFs made with secure software like PandaDoc, which aims to make things like contracts totally tamper-proof.

But, if you do find yourself needing to delete one, here’s how to remove a digital signature from a PDF document.

How to remove a digital signature from a PDF online

If the document is still being made, it’s very easy to unsign a PDF.

You simply right-click on the signature field, click Clear Signature (or your document platform’s equivalent), and digitally sign the document again if need be.

However, if the signed PDF has been saved and sent on, things get more complicated.

The best way to remove a digital signature from a PDF file is to talk to the signee and, if they agree, to either rewrite the form or scrap it entirely.

Luckily, PandaDoc makes this easy with plenty of templates and a progress audit that allows you to return your document to the point before it was signed.

That being said, there is signature remover software out there.

Usually, these editors work on iPhone and Android as well as on your desktop computer, and there’s a free download option.

However, remember that you should always consult the signee before you remove their signature from anything.

How to remove a digital signature from a PDF on Mac

Clearing a digital signature on a Mac is very similar to how to remove and how to add a signature to PDF documents online.

Again, it should ideally be done by the signee, before the PDF is complete.

If you’re past that stage, however, you’ll need to convert your PDF to a Word document.

A normal PDF reader won’t let you do this — you’ll need to download a PDF converter. Then, head to the toolbar and click PDF to Word (or the equivalent).

Once it’s converted, you should be able to find the digital signature field and delete the signature. Then, click the File tab and Export as PDF.

Your edited document will be returned to PDF format. It’s worth checking it in a PDF editor afterward, just to make sure the formatting hasn’t changed.

Remember, the whole point of signatures is that they provide validation.

While it should be straightforward to sign PDFs on Mac, if someone can just as easily remove and replace a digital signature from PDFs, they can no longer be trusted certificates. 

This is why PandaDoc’s eSignature technology verifies identity using digital ID files, uses encryption, and even provides the option of watermarks to ensure that documents are 100% trustworthy.

How to remove a digital signature in Adobe Acrobat

If you’re the signee, it’s easy to remove your own digital signature using Adobe Acrobat:

  1. Open your PDF, and head to the Edit menu
  2. Click Preferences at the bottom of the drop-down list
  3. Select the Signatures option to the left of the Preferences pane
  4. From Signatures, head to the center panel and click the Identities and Trusted Certificates option
  5. Now, click More. You will end up in the Digital ID and Trusted Certificates settings. 
  6. You should see your own digital ID under Digital IDs, next to the Digital ID Files option 
  7. Select your digital ID, and the Remove ID option should become available on the top right of the toolbar
  8. Click on it, then click OK.

To complete the process, you will need to verify that you are the ID holder. A pop-up will appear asking you to enter your password.

Once you enter your password, your electronic signature will be removed.

How to remove an invalid signature from a PDF

As we’ve mentioned, the best option here is to ask the signer to either edit it themselves or to redo and re-sign the document.

At the end of the day, if for whatever reason they have provided an invalid signature, they likely need to know.

Easily manage your digital signatures

As you can see, removing an eSignature from a secure PDF can be just as tricky as removing a handwritten signature from a paper contract — and with good reason!

Here, we’ve given you a basic tutorial on how to remove signatures from PDF forms.

However, if your digital signatures are well organized and easy to manage, you shouldn’t need to do any editing.

With PandaDoc, you can easily sign documents and preview them before completion.

Our intuitive platform protects signer IDs, secures your sensitive documents, and ensures that nobody can tamper with signatures once they’ve been validated.

To see how PandaDoc can help you with your digital signatures, try it out today.


Jenny Pak is the Director of Program Management at PandaDoc. With 10+ years in the technology sector, she boasts extensive experience in both B2B and B2C SaaS environments. Her expertise encompasses program management, strategic initiatives, experiential marketing, and product launch/campaign management. In her free time she enjoys spending time outdoors with her dog and exploring the city of Los Angeles for the perfect spicy margarita.

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