Why can’t I remove a signature from my PDF?

Want to get rid of a pesky signature line at the bottom of your document? Learn how to remove signatures from your PDF files.

Signed PDFs are difficult to edit by design. You don’t want anyone to tamper with an already-signed document. But, depending on how you saved the file, you might still be able to remove a signature from your PDF.

Possible reasons you can’t remove a signature from a PDF.

For security reasons, you’re only allowed to remove your own signature. If someone else already signed the PDF, the only way to remove their signature is to ask the signer to edit the document.

If you’re having trouble removing your own signature, try updating your Digital ID in your PDF editor. In Adobe Acrobat, simply navigate to Edit > Preferences > Signatures and click the More button by Identities & Trusted Certificates. Select the Digital IDs category and ensure your ID matches the signature on the PDF.

(In some cases, the document’s owner may choose to lock the PDF for additional security. Once the document is locked, nobody can edit it. You can’t remove a signature from the PDF, not even your own.)

How to clear a signature from a PDF.

Provided the document isn’t locked, you can then remove your own signature from the PDF by simply right-clicking the signature and choosing the Clear Signature option.

This should remove the signature, allowing you to edit or re-sign the PDF. You can even re-sign the PDF online using a browser-based PDF editor like Acrobat online services. Just upload the document, add your signature, and download the new file.

Discover what more you can do with Acrobat online services to securely edit and sign PDFs.