Electronic Transcript Security

Beginning in June 2011, Kansas State University is sending official transcripts in an electronic PDF format. These transcripts are considered official documents and can be validated because they have been digitally signed and certified by Kansas State.

A document that contains a digital signature can be instantly validated, and when valid displays a blue ribbon on the notification bar across the top of the Adobe Reader. On older versions of the Adobe reader, the blue ribbon will be displayed on a pop-up screen and in the lower left corner of the frame of the application. The blue ribbon symbol is your assurance that the digital signature is valid, authentic, and the contents of the document have not been altered.

How to Authenticate the Official Transcript from the Kansas State University Office of the Registrar

All official electronic transcripts from Kansas State University have been digitally signed and therefore contain special characteristics. When the document is viewed through Adobe Reader versions 6.0 or higher or through Adobe Acrobat versions 6.04 or higher, it will reveal that a digital signature has been applied to the document.

Adobe Reader version 7 and Acrobat version 7 and below will show a pop-up screen which will indicate whether the document is either valid, invalid, or whether the signer of the document is unknown and other measures must be taken to authenticate the document. In addition the pop-up screen allows for further examination of the digital signature, allowing you to authenticate the origin of the document.

Adobe Reader version 8 and Acrobat version 8 and higher use a blue ribbon across the top of the document to indicate document authenticity and validity.

Attn Mac users: When viewing an official electronic transcript from Kansas State the software utilizes Adobe's secure certified PDF technology and therefore may only be viewed using the free Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat. The default Mac preview application will not display the document correctly.

Document Validity

Valid Signature

The document's contents have not been changed or altered in any way. Also, when the pop-up screen/blue ribbon displays a message that the digital signature is valid it means that the author of the document is known to the certification authority and the person or institution represented by the digital signature is true and authentic.

Valid Signature

Invalid Signature

The document's digital signature is not authentic, or the document has been altered. The digital signature could have been revoked for some reason, or the document could have expired. In all cases, a document with an invalid display should be rejected.

Author Unknown

There are two possible meanings: the digital signature cannot be validated due to a disconnection to the internet, or the digital signature cannot be instantly validated via the internet. If this message is received make sure there is proper connection to the internet. If there is connection and the digital signature cannot be validated, reject this document.

Note on Pop-up Screens

To activate the pop-up screens in either Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat to view the status a document that has a digital signature (described above) open the application first, then open the document. Sometimes browsers will trigger Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat as a helper application, failing to activate the application's full functionality.