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My team wants to send out to 3rd parties a contract in PDF format, with digital signature fields that could be signed using Adobe Reader.

Every time we add a new 3rd party to the contract, we are legally obliged to send the document with the entire list of 3rd parties and their signatures, to everyone in the list. Adding a 3rd party means adding their name, and form fields for their address, date they signed, and the signature field.

How can the process of adding a 3rd party and producing the PDF be optimized?

The best solution I found so far is to have the source of the contract document in Open Office, which supports form fields and can export them to PDF. However, it doesn't support any form field that would be exported as a signature field, so I'd have to draw the signature field for each 3rd party in the list again.

Should we just shell out the cash for Adobe Acrobat? Can one add entire paragraphs in the PDF using Acrobat?

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Instead of converting the source document o PDF every time you need to create a new contract you should use a PDF with form fields (text form field, signature form fields, etc) as a template and fill out the details there. You can add entire paragraphs using form fields, you just have to change the properties for the form field if you want it to be multiline, specify character limit, etc.

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