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What Are the Different Types of Digital Signature Software?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 14 September 2014
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Different types of digital signature software are typically categorized based on the way in which they can be used to create or distribute digital signatures and how they are made available for use by others. Many programs can be used to create digital signatures for use on a variety of documents or digital files. There are also a number of programs, applications, and plug-ins that can apply digital signatures to various types of documents, often for specific file types that are frequently used. Some digital signature software is available as a commercial program that can be purchased and used for a wide array of purposes, while other programs may be provided for free.

Digital signature software refers to programs used with a digital signature that is a form of encryption meant to verify the sender of a document. One of the most common types of programs used with digital signatures is software that can generate these signatures. While this can include a physical image that looks like a signature, the real purpose of digital signature software is to utilize encryption that verifies the authenticity of a sender. Many programs can be used to create a digital signature and to then verify a signature for recipients who receive files from someone else.

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There are also many types of digital signature software that can be used to utilize an existing digital signature in a number of applications. This can include a program that allows signatures to be “applied” to files individually or in bulk. Such programs can be quite advantageous for large companies in which a sender may need to be able to digitally sign multiple documents at once for increased productivity. There is also digital signature software that can be used as a plug-in or application for specific programs and popular file types, like PDFs, to make applying signatures on those files faster and easier.

Different types of digital signature software are available under different types of licenses or user agreements. Commercial software can be purchased and used, which often takes the form of a package that includes software to create signatures and applications for applying signatures in other programs. There are also freeware versions of digital signature software that can be used without payment, and these may include open source programs that can be utilized to create other software packages. These types of digital signature programs should not be confused with those that only create an electronic signature, which may be a digital version of a person’s actual signature that might not include encryption for identity verification.

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