Flow and Digital Signatures

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I have a simple approval Flow set up using a SharePoint list. The flow triggers when item is added to the list and the flow always includes a PDF document for the approver to consider in the approval step. The SharePoint list updates once the flow is approved. However I need to get a digital signature on the actual PDF document after the flow is approved and looking for any suggestions on automating use of digital signatures on documents. If this task can not be automated I can manually do it if someone can show me where I can find an audit log of the Flow. If I can access a audit log showing evidence of the approval that would suffice.
20 Replies

Hi @saridd 

 

There's a few thoughts I have here depending on your flexibility to execute.

 

1. If the document is a PDF and not, say, a Word doc, then you'll have a hard time automating it as you can't edit the PDF using flow AFAIK.

 

If you were able to have a Word doc in the first instance, you could use a connector like Plumsail to insert an image file (digital signature) and then convert the Word doc to PDF as the final copy.

 

In my flows for example, I have the Word doc sent out to the approver for their review, if they respond with Approved, the flow automatically inserts their signature (image file) and outputs a PDF as the final copy to be stored on SP, emailed, etc.

 

2. The other alternative is if you have an Adobe Sign licence, you could use that to do digital signatures.

 

Otherwise to see the flow history, click onto the flow name hyperlink (don't edit) from your My Flows list and you'll see the Run history. Click onto the desired log and you can check the approval outcome there.

 

If you want to be notified of the approval, you could add an email notification to alert you when something is approved.

 

Anyway you have a number of options depending on how strict the signature requirement is or whether an email from the Approver authorising the document is allowable, etc.

 

Let me know how you go? We can adapt the options depending on your circumstance.

 

Cheers

Damien

Yep, if you have a digital signature provider that exposes an API you can use to remotely sign your documents I think your scenario is feasible
Thank you. I am going to try the word and excel file in a flow and off it at the end after the flow is approved. I am completely new to flow so any further assistance by showing me one of your flows already set up to do this would be a great help.

@Damien Rosario how to implement it using adobe sign?


@Damien Rosario wrote:

Hi @saridd 

 

There's a few thoughts I have here depending on your flexibility to execute.

 

1. If the document is a PDF and not, say, a Word doc, then you'll have a hard time automating it as you can't edit the PDF using flow AFAIK.

 

If you were able to have a Word doc in the first instance, you could use a connector like Plumsail to insert an image file (digital signature) and then convert the Word doc to PDF as the final copy.

 

In my flows for example, I have the Word doc sent out to the approver for their review, if they respond with Approved, the flow automatically inserts their signature (image file) and outputs a PDF as the final copy to be stored on SP, emailed, etc.

 

2. The other alternative is if you have an Adobe Sign licence, you could use that to do digital signatures.

 

Otherwise to see the flow history, click onto the flow name hyperlink (don't edit) from your My Flows list and you'll see the Run history. Click onto the desired log and you can check the approval outcome there.

 

If you want to be notified of the approval, you could add an email notification to alert you when something is approved.

 

Anyway you have a number of options depending on how strict the signature requirement is or whether an email from the Approver authorising the document is allowable, etc.

 

Let me know how you go? We can adapt the options depending on your circumstance.

 

Cheers

Damien



i have same scenario 

Hi @saridd 

 

Below is how you may want to go (my interpretation of your brief requirements) and I've also mocked up a sample Flow to help illustrate the process (hopefully it will make sense to you).

 

Given you are a beginner you'll also need to play around to get a feel for where the items are that I am about to call out (let me know if you get stuck). 

 

0. In your Word template (Stored on SharePoint), ensure that the signature part of the document says e.g. {{yourImageVariable}:picture}. This is where the image of the digital signature will be inserted if approved.

 

You can also add in something like {{Approver_Name}} if you also want the approvers name to go with the signature.

 

capture20190603145818378.png

 

1. Create a new blank flow in Microsoft Flow.

 

2. You may need to delete the manual trigger (click ... and Delete) and then add a suitable trigger which is an event that will begin the workflow (e.g. When an item is created or modified) when the list has a new item added.

 

3. Add connector Start and wait for an approval and populate appropriate details for the Approver to vet.

 

You can link to the SharePoint list item (it can use the attributes from When an item is created or modified or you can provide a SharePoint list item link, or both [I tend to do both]).

 

capture20190603145613896.png

 

4. Add a Condition where the Outcome (Start and wait for an approval (V2)) is equal to Approve.

 

5. (a) If Yes, use Get file content of your template file that requires sign-off.

5. (b) You can use a connector like Plumsail (or Encodian, etc) which lets you insert data into documents (for this example I'll use Plumsail which is a subscription tool).

 

Type Plumsail into the Choose an action box.

 

5. (c) Add the Plumsail connector Create DOCX document from template and add the following JSON script.

 

{

 "Approver_Name": (Note: insert from When an item is created or modified > Created By DisplayName),

 "yourImageVariable": 

}

 

Note that I have left yourImageVariable output blank for the minute as we must now convert the image file of the signature (get the approver to provide a digital copy of their signature to be used for this process).

 

6. Go to a website like https://www.browserling.com/tools/image-to-base64 which lets you convert an image to Base64 code which will allow the signature to be inserted into the template. The code will come out a fair long set of characters.

 

7. Copy the output Base64 code and paste it into the space after the "yourImageVariable": and make sure that the code has " at the beginning and end of it.

 

Example (I didn't use the full Base64 code or this post will get very long, but you get the idea):

 

{

 "Approver_Name": (Note: insert from When an item is created or modified > Created By DisplayName),

 "yourImageVariable": "4jAAAuIwF4pT92AAAgAElEQVR4nOzdd5wdVd0/8M+ZuXV7zaZuCum9h4B0EBAEFAQBAUFFFFCER8QHpdgQsIPCD0F9gMfCA6j0TsAQIJCEhCSk97q72V5umzm/P6bcmblzdzdhs3eX/bxfsNm9d8qZM2fKd06ZgK7r+wHkgYiIiIiIiIh6kxRCCCllLCCEKAeg5jpFRERERERERAORECIvAKANQBEAmeP0EBEREREREQ00QkrZEZBSKkII+8NcpoiIiIiIiIhoALEqyYWS02QQERERERERERicExEREREREeUYg3MiIiIiIiKiHGNwTkRERERERJRjDM6JiIiIiIiIcozBOREREREREVGOMTgnIiIiIiIiyjEG50REREREREQ5xuCciI"

}

 

capture20190603145958856.png

 

8. Put the output into a new Word docx using Create file (SharePoint connector) into a Document Library of your choosing (e.g. a temp holding area) and set the File Name (e.g. filenamehere.docx) and add the file content (Under Create DOCX document from template > Result).
 

At this point your Word doc will already have the signature inserted. You could stop here if you wanted to.

 

capture20190603150331482.png


9. Add SharePoint > Get file content 2 and for File Identifier field use the Path from Create file or if you are just using a static path, search for the file.
 

10. Add Plumsail > Convert DOCX to PDF and in Document content field use File Content from Get file content 2.

 

This will take the Word doc output and convert it into PDF format.

 

11. Use SharePoint > Create file to create the final PDF output. Use File Name with PDF extension like filenamehere.pdf to save the output as a PDF file.

 

12. You can also add something like Send an email (V2) and let the submitter know that it's been approved or in the not approved side, you can use the same connector to say that the item was rejected.

 

----------------

 

I hope this all makes sense. Have a play and move things around as you need to. Would love to know how you go please.

 

Cheers and best wishes

Damien

Hi @Ha_97q 

 

My business is only just getting into Adobe Sign so I haven't explored it yet as I'm in the initial stage of research. 

 

It's on my to-do list for the future so I'll know in the next month or 2 to come.

 

Until then, I hope the sample above I've created helps to give some form of solution to your requirements.

 

Cheers

Damien

@saridd  Hi, Here you go

This is to show how you can use Adobe E sign to meet your requirement.

 

@Damien Rosario Hi & thank you for sharing the flow. I am new to power automate and was trying your flow step by step. While i added the plumsail connector 'Create DOCX..' the fields i could see are Connection name and the API Key...can you please suggest how do i proceed.

 

Thanks much!

Hi @Shradds 

 

Hope you are well.

 

You will need to have an account registered with Plumsail and use their Documents service for the flow to work.

 

https://auth.plumsail.com/account/register?ReturnUrl=https://account.plumsail.com/&_ga=2.1979639.755...

 

They do a trial so you can play and test things before deciding to purchase a subscription. That's how I did it but building the flow, proving the concept to the CIO, and then purchased a subscription.

 

Subscription costs are really cheap. We went with the base option, something like 300 bucks annually for 200 transactions a month (transaction is each time you use the connector in Power Automate).

 

Hope that helps get you started.

 

Cheers and best wishes

Damien

Hi@Damien Rosario,

 

Thanks for the detailed explanation of the flow i have followed all the steps and executed with no error but digital signature was not inserted at word file, actually i was not clear at below point. could you please help us with little more information.

 

"In your Word template (Stored on SharePoint), ensure that the signature part of the document says e.g. {{yourImageVariable}:picture}. This is where the image of the digital signature will be inserted if approved".

Hi @Ashok115 

 

Hope you are well. I'm glad the instructions are working for you bar the one small bit with the image.

 

In my example I use {{yourImageVariable}:picture} but I note in your sample image that you have it as { {yourImageVariable}: picture}. Please remove the spaces within the Word doc.

 

Make sure that Create DOCX document from template correctly has the exact same variable name in the JSON: "yourImageVariable": (You may want to show the snippet of that part so I can check if it's right).

 

See if that helps?

 

Cheers

Damien

Hi@Damien Rosario,

 

Hope you are doing good!

As said i have removed the space at Image variable but still no luck. Please find the attached screenshots and kindly suggest me further.

 

Regards,

Ashok 

Hi @Ashok115 

 

You appear to still have an empty space in your Word doc between yourImage & Variable. The Y is also capital when it should be lower case. There's also a space after : picture which you need to remove.

 

capture20200720160131104.png

 

I would suggest to simply copy this text {{yourImageVariable}:picture} and place it into your doc and try again. It must be exact for it to work.

 

Give it a go and let me know if it fixes the problem?

 

Good luck

Damien

Hi@Damien Rosario ,

I am not sure where i am making mistake i have copied and pasted the text given by you but still no luck. Find below.

 

Ashok115_0-1595230101765.png

 

 

Hi @Ashok115 

 

Let's take this one offline and private mesasge so we don't spam the good folks here as we work it out.

 

From what I can see, your tag and the JSON appears correct. Let's have another look.

 

Cheers

Damien

Hi @Damien Rosario ! 

 

Have you been able to play arounds Adobe Sign for automating process of digital signatures like you did with plumsail ? If so, can give me a feedback ? I am facing the same problem.

 

Thanks in advance !

Hi @Sekhmet_Kamgoua 

 

Unfortunately, I haven't as yet needed to do an Adobe Sign workflow in my project so I don't have any updates to share for now.

 

However, I reckon give the community experts at https://powerusers.microsoft.com/t5/PowerApps-Community/ct-p/PowerApps1 as they may be able to assist you further (they are awesome).

 

Best wishes

Damien

@Damien Rosario

Hi Damien, happened to saw this post.

can I ask u, as I currently have a workflow that will notification the approver via email notification with attachment of the file in pdf, I would like them to have the option to include digital signature in the attached pdf and when the approver submit as approved, it will update into SharePoint list as pdf with the digital signature .

Hi @bbsin 

 

Hope you are well.

 

I had explored a similar case using Plumsail (at the time) to insert an img of a signature into the document/email, etc when the approval was given.

 

I've tried it with base64 where the img will be stored in base64 code (text) and can be called without needing a file to reference. Referencing files can also work too.

 

Check out these topics on the Plumsail website: 

Create DOCX document from template

Convert DOCX to PDF

 

You could also try using (premium) Microsoft Word connector which can also insert content into docs (I personally find Plumsail to be way more flexible and does more things).

 

Here's how I'd do it based on the assumption that you are sending a PDF of a word or other source doc that can be edited:

 

1. Take original document template, insert relevant content, convert to PDF and send to the approver.

2. Approver accepts the document.

3. Use the relevant connector (Plumsail, Word, etc) to insert the signature into the original editable doc that you had converted into PDF to send to the approver.

4. Resend and/or store the final PDF with signature to SharePoint.

 

Hope it makes sense and gives you some ideas to proceed forward. See how you go and feel free to let me know if you need assistance?

 

Cheers and best wishes

Damien