Sometimes it’s important to time-stamp a document. Here’s how to do it electronically.

Read: Using PDF stamps in Adobe Reader

Click the word comment in Adobe Reader XI on the right side of the toolbar. Then click the annotations drop-down arrow, and you will see a number of commenting tools. One icon looks like a physical stamp.

When you click the stamp drop-down and rest your cursor on the Dynamic selection, you will see stamps with real-time information extracted from your computer. Depending on which stamp you choose, the following information will be displayed:

  • The exact date and time you are applying the stamp.
  • Your name.
  • The name of your organization.

Read: Don’t lose client data

The date and time come directly from your computer settings. Your name and organization are from the identity settings in Reader, so you won’t see them if you haven’t set them up yet. Here’s how to do that:

  • On the Reader toolbar select Edit>Preferences.
  • Under Categories on the left side select Identity.
  • Complete the information and click OK.

Based on the image above, here’s an example of two stamps (with date and time edited out):

The CONFIDENTIAL stamp is the only one that inserts the organization name and neither inserts your title. What if you want your title or organization name to follow your name? Here’s a simple workaround. Go back to the identity screen and add this information to the name field:

When you print a document that has been stamped, you have the choice to print it with or without the stamps. In the printer window on right side, you’ll see a drop-down menu under comments and forms with three options:

  • Document
  • Document and Markups
  • Document and Stamps

Document is the only setting that won’t print the stamps.

Read: Automatically create PDFs

Stamps are useful in reducing paper within your office, but anybody can delete stamps from the electronic version of a document, or change their settings and reapply a stamp.

One solution is to make the stamps a permanent part of the document by “flattening” the document or printing it as a PDF. Another is to get custom-made dynamic stamps.

These stamps can insert any information from the identity screen and use any date and time format. Here are some of the other features that can be implemented:

  • Images of corporate logos and stamps.
  • Images of wet signatures.
  • The ability to enter information from text fields, check boxes, and drop-down menus at the time the stamp is applied.
  • The ability to automatically extract form field data and insert it into the stamp.

Custom-built dynamic stamps can only be created using JavaScript, so if you want to go this route, contact an Adobe JavaScript expert.

David Dagley, CFP®, is a software developer and Adobe javascript expert, with 15 years of financial planning experience. He is the owner and president of Forms Doctor Inc., a company specializing in workflow automation solutions and financial planning calculators for investment dealers, financial advisors, and investment firms.
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