# The signing result

# Introduction

After the signing process is completed and the documents have been signed you will get an output document. The most common type of end result after a signing process is an electronically signed PDF, called "PDF Advanced Electronic Signature" (PAdES). The signed PDF (PAdES) contains information about the digital signature and is cryptographically sealed and protected against tampering.

The PDF document can be opened in regular PDF readers and will in readers such as Adobe Reader show that the document is electronically signed and sealed.

One of the advantages of Signicat's electronic signature solution is that you can choose to always have a PDF (PAdES) regardless of which signing method the end-user has selected. Some signing methods can natively return various formats such as XML and Signed Data Objects (SDO), but through Signicat this is standardised into a PDF (PAdES) unless you explicitly request another format.

Below you can read more about the three result alternatives:


The XAdES format contains information about the end-user, the original document and the digital signature that is applied. It also contains proof of the authentication that the end-user performed. Additionally it contains a log of important interactions that took place during the signing ceremony such as the user viewing the document, consenting to the content and performing the authentication.

The XAdES can be packed and results in a PAdES.


Packaging one or more XAdES files results in a PAdES. To obtain a PAdES it is therefore required that the used signing method creates a XAdES output instead of the third-party format.

The PAdES file is a PDF that anyone with a regular PDF reader can open, see what was signed, by whom and how it was signed. Evidence of every completed signature is embedded within the PAdES, which enables evidence to be unfolded in case of a dispute.

The PAdES is packaged according to a packaging policy, either a generic one used for authentication-based signing or an eID-specific packaging policy for third-party (native) signing. You can find the generic Policy for Packaging of E-Signatures for Long-Term Validation in PDF format here:

Download packaging policy


If the document signing results in a third-party output, the output will not necessary follow the same standards as described above.

Last updated: 20/09/2023 12:20 UTC