Table of contents:
On the Internet it is easy to carry out procedures, even with public administrations, because thanks to digital certificates our identity is confirmed. Sometimes we need to send a digitally signed document in a procedure, and that's where AutoSignaturecan be useful to us.
The idea of the digital signature is that it allows to sign a document on a computer with the same validity as by hand, replacing the traditional pen and paper. Through AutoFirma, security is even greater, thanks to the use of digital certificates.
A document, image or file passed by AutoFirma ensures that the signer is really the one indicated, that the file has not been modified and, furthermore, they cannot deny that they have accepted what the text indicates.
Unless some vulnerability is discovered in the future, a digital signature cannot be forged, so it is more reliable than one on paper.
AutoFirma is a program for Windows, Mac and Linux that the Ministry of Finance and Public Administration of Spain offers free of charge.
Actually, it is possible to use another program to work with the administration, or use AutoFirma for private purposes. However, in practice AutoFirma is used in negotiations with the Spanish public sector (Social Security, Treasury, autonomous communities, town halls…)
It is important to take good care of the elements that identify us in AutoFirma to avoid impersonation: the digital certificate, with which many steps can be taken after installing it on the computer, or the electronic DNI (with your password to signature).
We are going to see the step by step to use the application, placing special emphasis on the prerequisites to configure the digital certificate.
Install AutoFirma with a certificate
Installing and using AutoFirma is quite simple, but the program requires us to prove our identity, either with the digital certificate or the DNIe. Let's see both possibilities:
- We choose the installer for our operating system, in the case of Windows we can choose the 32-bit version if we have doubts, although a minimally current computer (Windows 7 onwards) should already bring the 64-bit edition.
- It will download a ZIP compressed file, which current operating systems open without problems. You will have to run the installer "AutoFirma_XX_vX_X_X_installer.exe" (the "X" correspond to the version numbers, which change).
- Now the installation is like in any program, for example, in Windows you will have to press "Next" and "Accept" until I finished:
- We will need a way to identify ourselves. The least complicated thing is to obtain the FNMT Digital Certificate for a Physical Person, which is installed on the computer, and is very versatile. Of course, the process requires going in person to a Social Security or Treasury office.
- The other alternative is to use the electronic DNIe, through a smart card reader connected to the equipment, and having the passwords at hand security that they give us when issuing the card.
- In the latter case, you will have to follow the steps to configure the electronic ID in Windows, while Apple users must configure the electronic ID on your Mac.
We are now ready to sign through AutoFirma. We must do it on a computer, although it should be noted that the electronic certificate can be installed on Android and iOS for other procedures.
How to sign a PDF document
AutoFirma accepts any type of file, but on a daily basis the normal thing is to work with documents, especially in PDF, which can be forms, instances, petitions and other types of texts.
In addition, in the PDF it allows to include the image of the signature (although it has no legal value), so it is the example more useful:
- Open the AutoFirma application, if we have a smart card reader connected we will see a screen where we can choose the option "Continue with DNIe":
- If the DNI is inserted, it will ask us for the personal access code (PIN):
- Now we come to the AutoFirma main screen, which is the one that appears if we use a digital certificate directly:
- Choose the option "Select files to sign" (it is the only one available) and choose the PDF to sign:
- If we have an image with the scanned signature we can activate the "Make the signature visible" box within the document", although it is only an aesthetic element, the validity is granted by the digital certificate:
- Click on "Sign" and, if we have activated the visible signature, the assistant will ask us to choose which area to place it in:
- Now it lets us add the image of the scanned signature, and modify the visible text that accompanies it, when it is to our liking, Click on "Accept":
- It will give us choose the digital certificate that we will use (it is possible to have several installed) and then it will create the document:
- After saving the signed PDF document, we can see the result:
- Again, we must remember that the visual part has no legal value, to verify the digital signature embedded in a file we must access to the AutoSignature menu, in section "File" and then in "View signature":
- Now it will show the information of the digital certificate, indicating if it is valid. Clicking on "View signed data" will allow us to open the PDF in the application we usually use to view it:
With the signature added through the digital certificate, we can now send the document to its recipientIn some cases, when working with programs and websites of the Spanish administrations, they can even open AutoFirma directly within the procedures.
Word and other files in AutoFirma?
It is possible to sign files of any extension in AutoFirma, although it is not so convenient. PDFs maintain the format after adding the digital format, but in all other cases they are transformed to the.csig extension.
When opening the.csig file with AutoFirma, it gives us the option of viewing the data, which is opened with the application that we have installed on the system. That is, it perfectly supports-j.webp" />
Now, they are not that easy to work with, so our advice is to use PDF in AutoSignature whenever possible, it is that is, when we sign text documents.
In conclusion, AutoFirma is a useful and easy-to-use application, and we think it's a success. On the other hand, other possibilities of electronic administration, such as applying for unemployment by Internet, work much worse.