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I regularly have a requirement to obtain multiple digital signatures on a Word 2010 docx file. The document is prepared by the author with Insert->Signature Line for each signatory before any of the signatures is applied.

If all signatories access the document from a shared network drive then they can sign without removing any earlier signatures. This reliably works.

However, in circumstances where not all signatories can access a common drive, the document is emailed from signatory to signatory. In this case the addition of multiple signatures sometimes fails. The signatory opens the document and goes to sign it, only to be told that signing the document will remove all earlier signatures.

Is there a setting in Word itself or within the document that is treating the signature as an edit and not as a signature? I can see no pattern in the incidence of failure of this process but can't believe that it is random. It is occurring on both Windows 7 and XP.

The issue is not the same as in earlier questions such as Merge multiple digitally signed versions of Word 2010 document and we cannot use a workflow like as we don't have a Sharepoint server.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

For posterity: This has been solved by observing the users.

If the signed document is saved to disk from the email and then signed, the signing works.

If the signed document is opened directly from within the email, the signing fails.

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Multiple signatures are possible. Once the first person signs, on the lower left you will see Page: 1 of 1 | Words: 100| and the red digital signature icon. Click the icon and the signatures box will open on the right.

There will be a requested signatures section which contains the names of those individuals who need to sign the document. The person clicks their name and signs the document. No need to save the document its done automatically. The next person will do the same thing and no need to save after they do and so on.

No signatures are invalid as others sign.

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How is this different from the accepted answer? The reason behind the accept answer, is that outlooks places documents in the temporary file folder, non-observant users were getting confused. – Ramhound Jul 15 '15 at 14:38

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