Inserting Signed Pages in PDFs


Some formal litigation documents such as witness statements have to be signed. The signed paper document is the "original" and It is important to keep the original safe because in the unlikely event of some query about signature it would ultimately be that original which would need to be examined. 

The copy which is sent out could be a paper copy of the signed document or it could be a PDF copy of the signed document. Generally sending documents as PDFs is recommended to preserve the readability of the document. A document will be composed on computer as a PDF and then be printed out for signature. If a paper copy is sent it will, upon receipt, invariably be scanned in by the recipient so already the PDF copy on the recipient's computer will be a poorer reproduction. And if the process of printing out and scanning in (or photocopying) is carried out several times the loss of quality can be dramatic. So even if it is necessary to send formal documents in paper form in order to comply with rules about valid service/filing, the document should generally be sent by email as a PDF as well and, for all practical purposes, it is the PDF copy which is likely to be used by the recipient.

The way to create the best quality PDF of a document is, immediately after signature of the original paper document, to scan in not the whole document but to scan in, as a PDF, just the page which has been signed, and to insert that signed page PDF into the original PDF replacing the corresponding unsigned page.

In this way although the signed page will inevitably be of slightly poorer quality (because it has been rescanned) all the other pages of the PDF will be of 100% quality having never been through the scanning process.

Of course if it is only a two page PDF to start with, with large black and white writing, you might choose for simplicity to scan in the whole signed documents - i.e. both pages - rather than do an insert, but for larger PDFs, particularly those which contain smaller writing, detailed drawings or photographs (such as many Exhibits) the insertion method is much to be preferred to preserve quality.   

How to insert the signed page back in the PDF

One of the easiest ways to insert a signed page in a PDF is to use 

  • Open the document PDF and print it out selecting the best quality print option on the print dialogue. Sign the appropriate page in black ink and scan in just that signed page as a PDF.
  • Select Visual Combine and Reorder PDF Pages in Sedja and drag the document PDF into the panel so that all pages display as thumbnails.
  • Delete the unsigned page and drag the signed page PDF in to replace it.
  • Click/press the green Combine pages button to create a PDF from all the pages and then click Download

Note 1 Using results in your data being processed outside the United Kingdom where different standards of data protection may apply. If you are concerned about this then you can download and use Sejda Desktop which works on Windows computers and Macs. An alternative method is to use Preview on a Mac computer or, on a Windows computer, Nuance Power PDF

Note 2 If you have difficulty using the above procedure to insert a signed page into a PDF, you can email the signed page PDF to me and ask me to insert it and send the complete PDF back to you. However because I do not know when or if you might do this, and I cannot predict all my future engagements, you should not rely on me being able to respond by any deadline. If necessary to meet a deadline you may have to scan in the entirety of the signed document even though this is not ideal in terms of document quality.  


This information page is designed to be used only by clients of John Antell who have entered into an agreement for the provision of legal services. The information in it is necessarily of a general nature and is intended to be used only in conjunction with specific advice to the individual client about the individual case. This information page should not be used by, or relied on, by anyone else.

The information on this page about specific computer techniques is provided for information purposes only. Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate and up to date at the time it was written but no responsibility for its accuracy, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by me. You should satisfy yourself, before using any of the techniques, software or services described, that the techniques are appropriate for your purposes and that the software or service is reliable.

This page was lasted updated in January 2017 Disclaimer