Signature FAQ



What size of Signature Pad should I choose?

It depends on the amount of text you wish to display, and if you want to display soft-keys for actions such as Clear, Cancel, or Accept. To display full documents, scroll up or down, and sign on the screen, the DTU-1031 or a larger pen displays would be ideal.

What does a color screen have to do with eSignatures?

Color screens provide an additional level of visual feedback, such as green for positive actions, and red for cancellations or warnings. In addition, color signature pads provide an eye-catching platform for displaying your corporate logo. And when they not actively capturing signatures, they can display your current promotional messages, like a screen saver slideshow.

How does a Wacom signature pad connect to the PC?

All Wacom STU signature pads connect to the computer via a single USB cable. This simple connection provides power as well as transmits the data to the screen and also receives the signature data and any pen movements and clicks.

Does Wacom signature pads work out-of-the-box?

Wacom STU signature pads require supporting software in order to function. Wacom sign pro PDF works with all Wacom signature pads and pen displays, as does eSignature software from our partners such as SoftPro and XYZMo. If you are a developer and want to integrate eSignature functionality into your application, then you can request the necessary Software Developer Kits from Wacom.

What if my software does not support Wacom signature pads?

If you are a developer and want to integrate eSignature functionality into your application, then you can request the necessary Software Developer Kits from Wacom.

How do I get your SDKs

You can visit the SDK page to learn more about Wacom’s available SDKs, as well as the online forms necessary to request your own copy.

Is the DTU-1031 a signature pad or a pen display?

It is both. The DTU-1031 functions as a pen display, which means that once the drivers are installed, the pen controls the cursor in any application, including left click, double click, and right click. The Wacom Signature SDK, and e-Signature software from Wacom, SoftPro, and Xyzmo also recognize the DTU-1031 for signature capture.

Is any signature data stored in your devices?

No. All Wacom signature pads and pen displays are purposely designed to not store any user data. This greatly strengthens their inherent security capability, as no user data can be compromised if the device is stolen or damaged.

Most signature pads I’ve seen are badly scratched and worn, are Wacom’s any different?

Wacom’s signature pads and pen displays are designed with a protective surface of tempered glass. This glass surface is much harder than the plastic material of the pen nib, so the nib wears, not the screen surface. This glass surface withstands hundreds of thousands of signatures with no visible wear. Many other signature pads use a plastic signing surface, which will scratch and deteriorate with normal use.

What drivers are necessary for the DTU-1031?

Two drivers are required: A DisplayLink driver to enable the device to operate as an external monitor, and a Wacom tablet driver to enable the pen to operate properly.

Which signature pad is best for use in a brightly lit office, near windows?

All monochrome STU signature pads use transreflective screens, which means that ambient light controls the brightness of the screen. The brighter the room lighting, the brighter the display becomes. Backlit displays are better for viewing in rooms that are not as bright, as they have their own light source to make the display visible. All Wacom color signature pads and pen displays are backlit.

What is an electronic signature and what is it used for?

A handwritten signature establishes a clear link between a written document and its author. An electronic signature is used to assign an electronic document to its originator, thereby assuring authorship. A qualified signature also safeguards a document’s authenticity (is the document actually from whom it says it is?) and integrity (has the document been changed at any time during the transmission process?).

What are the advantages of electronic handwritten signatures?

  • Reduced process costs thanks to shorter processing and throughput times for electronic documents
  • More efficient workflows thanks to continuous process chains all the way from creation to archiving of media
  • Reduced operating costs and outlay on consumables for printing and copying
  • Savings on the investment, maintenance and administration of scanning solutions for document archiving
  • Savings on the production, storage and paper logistics of pre-printed forms
  • Improved security through a certified signature process
  • Flexibility to accommodate last-minute changes to standard forms, e.g. revision of bank account details or General Terms and Conditions

What are the possibilities available for electronic handwritten signatures?

Document scanners use CCD sensors to read the image of a handwritten signature as colour and brightness information of individual pixels. The signature is recorded as static image information only. The appearance of a signature alone is not a secure criterion, because the individual dynamic parameters of the signature are missing. Signature pads take security to the next level by analysing the signature as it is handwritten on a sensor panel using a special pen. In addition to the appearance of the signature, they record biometric parameters such as acceleration, pressure progression and the angle of the pen while signing, thereby producing a kind of a “digital fingerprint”. This fingerprint is as individual and unique as its owner, and together with a digital certificate, is today the safest method of reading electronic signatures.

How does a Wacom signature pad work?

  • A Wacom signature pad consists of a special sensor panel fitted underneath an LCD display, as well as a wireless and battery-free signature pen.
  • The handwritten signature is read using Wacom’s patented EMR (Electro Magnetic Resonance) technology. When the user moves the pen across the sensor panel, EMR scans the biometric parameters of the signature in real time and sends this data to the computer, which can then be processed by software applications or software components (SDK) which feed this signature data to an application.
  • To allow a visual inspection of the signature, the digital ink is displayed on the LCD display as it is created from the pen movement over the sensor. The behaviour of Wacom’s digital ink is designed to mimic the pen on paper experience.

What are the advantages of the handwritten signature compared to card and PIN based methods?

  • An individual’s signature cannot be lost or stolen like a card can be
  • It is impossible to forget one’s signature, unlike a PIN
  • Signatures cannot be disclosed to third parties
  • Signatures are always given deliberately, where cards and disclosed PINs may be used without consent
  • Signatures are considered suitable for authenticating declarations of intent
  • Signing with a pen is a familiar and customary process

What is the difference between an electronic signature and a digital signature?

Electronic signature is a legal term with a certain degree of legal force. Digital signature is a mathematical and technical term and is used for producing electronic signatures.

Does an electronic signature satisfy legal requirements?

In most European countries, as well as in North America, electronic signature capture can generally be considered legal for the effective conclusion of all day-to-day-business contracts. With the exception of a few singular cases, most legal systems provide freedom of form for these contracts. Therefore, the effectiveness of those contracts does not depend on formal requirements, but compared to contracts that have been concluded orally or per email, contracts with our signature solution offer a significantly higher range of security. One reason for this is the possibility to identify the contract’s parties by their electronic signature.

How can an individual’s electronic signature be protected?

Wacom protects the signature of the client in two ways: There is a protection for the data sent from the signature pad in the form of encryption. But even without encryption, the signature capture process is a collection of individual pen events, each of which is just a single datapoint that records location and pressure. These datapoints by themselves are not identifiable. Secondly, the signature that is bound to a document is protected within the document itself. If the signature is imported, exported, or altered, or of the document contents have changed after the signature was applied, then the user will be made aware that the signature and/or document is not authentic.

Why is encryption important for electronic handwritten signatures?

  • Encryption is important to enhance trust, security, and legal compliance.
  • Trust: The end user (the one signing a document) needs to be confident that it is safe to transfer personal data into an electronic system
  • Security: The operation company (like a bank) wants to be fully protected from fraud and miss use of tier customer´s private data.
  • Legal: From a legal point of view, it is important to ensure that signed date/documents will not be changed in any way after the client has signed the document.

What is the encryption method used for your STU-430, STU-530, and DTU-1031?

The asymmetric encryption system is state of the art and we use the highest level of AES with 256bit key exchange and a RSA key length of 2048bit.

Why do you have different display types in signature devices?

The reason for different displays is that we have fitted the displays to different usage scenarios. Size of display, ambient lighting conditions, stationary or mobile, black and white or color are all usage scenarios where a specific set of tradeoffs yield better results.

Why is a wide viewing angle important?

The wide viewing angle is especially important for POS and built-in use. It ensures that the customer can read the screen content, both signature ink as well as text, buttons, logos and advertising messages, regardless of the stature, posture, position, or handedness of the user.

How do we guarantee a long display lifetime?

We guarantee a long display lifetime because our displays are protected with a tempered and scratch resistant glass plate making them extremely robust.

Is it possible to show pictures on the signature pad and displays?

Yes, all our displays are able to show pictures / images based on resolution, size, and color of the display. In addition, the DTU-1031 is also able to show videos.

What sensor technologies are available in signature pads in general?

  • There are three sensor technologies commonly available: electro-magnetic, capacitive and resistive. Capacitive and electro-magnetic technology measure the change in the electric field of the sensor. Capacitive technologies are often used in touch screens, which may be accidentally activated by your finger or hand. Resistive technology focuses on the electric resistance caused by an object touching a flexible screen surface. This type of touchscreen technology is prone to accidental activation and surface scratches which impacts the user experience.
  • Wacom uses patented electro-magnetic resonance technology, which is powered wirelessly from the sensor under the LCD. This allows the electronic pen to function without any wires or cords to carry electrical signals. Electric wires are prone to twisting and breaking with normal use, which limits their reliability in use. Wacom signature pads and pen displays are extremely durable, reliable, and even capture the movements of the pen above the surface of the screen for even greater biometric performance.

Why is this important to have a precise and linear pressure curve?

  • Forensic experts require precise information on the relation of force applied and pressure levels. Only with a liner pressure curve Signature Tablets can differentiate between various pressure levels and provide an appropriate resolution rate.
  • A reliable capturing device has to record the same pressure levels in all segments of the capturing area with the same precision when the same force is being applied. When capturing signatures on different tablets of the same type from the same
    manufacturer, the signal data must not exceed a certain tolerance level, otherwise an analysis or verification would have to be adjusted to each device.
  • Wacom´s signature pads fulfill both requirements: a) a linear pressure curve and b) the same precision and pressure levels in all segment of the capturing area.

What makes Wacom signature pads more robust than others?

One factor is that the sensor is embedded under the surface, protected by a strong layer of glass. Scratches, temperature and humidity thus do not reach the sensor at all, making it more durable. Other vendors often use resistive touch technology, which requires a screen surface that is flexible. It is not possible to protect the sensor surface with glass or other hard material. The surfaces of such devices have a very limited lifetime and wear-out quickly with normal use. Wacom’s signature pads have a very robust surface and our warranty includes the screen surface for normal use. Another factor is that Wacom’s patented electro-magnetic resonance technology allows for our electronic pen to be powered and communicate wirelessly, so there are no wires or cords to twist and break, which is a common failure of other signature pads.

What is a report rate?

The report rate indicates how often the position of the pen on the sensor board is counted. The information is collected at regular intervals regardless of whether the position or status has changed.

Is a higher, or faster, report rate mean better performance?

Not necessarily. It is the combination of sensor resolution and report rate that result in the accuracy of pen movement. A faster report rate, combined with low sensor resolution is a combination that can yield poor accuracy, as many datapoints will be duplicates, and the number of inaccurate data points will be magnified. Wacom’s 200 points per second data rate, combined with 2540 lines per inch of resolution, results in an optimum capture of high-quality signature data.

Why is pen pressure data important?

  • The pen pressure data should also be recorded for forensic purposes, as each individual has a pattern for how hard or how light they press the pen to the screen as they sign. The pressure information is also very helpful to generate a rendering of the digital ink on the computer screen that gives the appearance of ink on paper. Wacom’s sign pro PDF software renders pressure sensitive signatures on the screen, and the capability to add pressure sensitive rendering to your application is included in Wacom’s signature SDK.
  • Pen-pressure affects the thickness of the line when writing on paper. This variation is an important signature characteristic in some cultures, especially China, and the acceptance of electronic signatures would be compromised if they did not appear to behave in a similar way. It is therefore important for pressure to be recorded and indicated visually for both forensic and cultural reasons.

Are more than 512 pressure levels better for electronic signature?

  • Most people apply with a force in the range 0-500g when they sign, and the majority
    lies well within this range. Significant changes in pressure measured during the signing are typically in excess of 20-30g, and there is no advantage in being able to detect fluctuations of less than 1g. This means that 512 pressure levels are more than adequate to describe the number of discernable grams of force in a typical signature.
  • More pressure levels don’t add more forensic data. This is due to the fact that we
    don’t sign in exactly the same way each time we sign.
  • In addition, with our EMR technology, we are able to record the movement between
    strokes, thus filling any gaps while writing and adding another feature to make the signature process more secure without the need for more pressure levels. The movement of the pen between strokes is important forensic information. It is much more useful than an abundance of inaccurate pressure data.

Why are not only the numbers of levels important but also the pressure curve?

  • The variation of pen pressure within a signature is an important characteristic often
    used by Forensic Document Examiners to assess questioned ink signatures on paper. It is important that electronic technology can supply comparable information so that similar assessment methods can be adopted. Absolute values of force are useful if available, but the relative pressure variation alone is sufficient.
  • Pen-pressure affects the thickness of the line when writing on paper. This variation
    is an important signature characteristic in some cultures, especially China, and the acceptance of electronic signatures would be compromised if they did not appear to behave in a similar way. It is therefore important for pressure to be recorded and indicated visually for both forensic and cultural reasons.

What is the surface material of our active area?

The surface material of our active area is tempered, hardened glass.

Why is glass better and more scratch resistant than plastic?

Glass is much harder than plastic. Wacom ‘s pen nib material is plastic, so by design, the wear intentionally occurs on the pen nib, not on the glass surface. Wacom pen nibs are inexpensive, easy to replace, and capture hundreds of thousands of signatures before needing replaced.

Why don’t other manufacturers use glass as surface material?

Our EMR technology transmits power and data directly through the glass surface and the LCD itself. Other technologies, both capacitive and resistive, need a flexible surface with the sensor directly on the surface. Other vendors have to use softer surface materials because they measure the physical pressure levels directly on the surface with a mechanical sensor mounted on top of the display. These materials are susceptible to scratches during normal use.

What is ergonomic design?

Ergonomic design enables a natural feeling during signing. This is caused by the pad design as well as the pen design. These are built to comfortably fit in the hand of a wide variety of people. The pad design is smooth, low profile, with no hard edges that can cause discomfort to the hand when signing or filling out eForms.

Why is ergonomic design important for a signature device?

  • It is important for the customer to be comfortable when using the signature device.
    If he or she signs and doesn’t have a close-to-natural feeling, the overall acceptance will be low. From a technical (legal) point of view, this is also important. If a device doesn’t have an ergonomic design, the result will not be a natural biometric signature. Thus, this signature will legally not be accepted as it cannot be compared with other reference signature of the signee.
  • Wacom’s signature pads can be used for right-handed as well as left-handed people.
    There is no limitation from this perspective.

Why is a detachable USB cable better than a fixed mounted USB cable?

A detachable USB cable has several advantages

  • Its length can be individually adapted to the needs of the environment the pad is used in.
  • A detachable USB cable allows a free cable conduit.
  • If you built the pad into a counter (or anything like a counter), and you need to change a pad, the cable doesn’t need to be exchanged. This saves a lot of time in the field.
  • In case a cable is defective it can be easily be exchanged without opening the device and sending it back to a repair center.

How do you ensure a detachable cable won’t disconnect unintentionally?

With the DTU-1031, we have a physical clip that secures, or locks the USB cable in place. The USB cable attachment secures the USB connector in the USB socket. The STU-430 and STU-530 devices have a similar kind of USB cable lock.

Which antitheft solutions are available for signature pads and displays?

  • Pen displays can be fixed to a desk or arm with screws. The pad has standardized holes which are mirrored at the other end by screws in the plate. By the VESA standard, they have – subject to the actual size of the device – standard position. There is no need to drill additional holes or make other changes to the device or the mounting.
  • The second option is a Kensington-Lock, a solution that is very common, e.g. in securing Laptops.
  • Older pads can be secured with an antitheft cord as well.

Which antitheft solutions are available for the pen?

  • For the pen, we offer a protection by a pen tether. This tether is a robust polyamide flexible cord with a loop at each end.
  • Our signature pads and pen displays have mounting holes molded in the plastic housing that accepts the pen tether.

What are the environmental working conditions of our products?

We differentiate between operating mode and storage. The acceptable operating and storage condition depends on the model. The operating temperature has a smaller bandwidth than the storage temperature and humidity. See details for each model in the product’s factsheet.

How do we protect the signature capture precision in a wide temperature / humidity range?

The precision is protected by the product design. As the sensor is embedded under the LCD itself, it is not exposed directly to external environmental conditions. Thus, it works also in tough environmental conditions.

Do the signature pads and displays have a pen holder?

Yes, a pen holder is integrated in all our signature pads and displays.

What is a Software Development Kit (SDK)?

  • A Software Development Kit (SDK) provides the libraries and commands necessary to interface between the pad and the application.
  • Wacom supplies a range of Software Development Kits (SDKs) for use by developers who wish to integrate Wacom tablets with their applications or their customer’s workflows.

Does Wacom offer a software application for electronic signatures?

Yes we have a sign pro PDF

How long is the warranty period?

The length of standard warranty and optional extended warranties depend upon on the region of purchase, and the product time. Contact Wacom directly for questions about the product and location you are interested in.