Thursday, November 29, 2012

Unable to remove Signature from a digitally signed Excel 2007 spreadsheet

Problem

You’ve made an attempt to sign an Excel 2007 spreadsheet with a certificate but noticed that you receive the following warning note when you reopen the spreadsheet:

Signatures

This document contains invalid signatures.

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You attempt to remove the signature clicking on the arrow pointing downwards then selecting Remove Signature:

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… answer Yes to:

Are you sure you want to permanently remove this signature? This action cannot be undone.

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… only to receive the following message:

Signatures cannot be added or removed because this read-only workbook has been changed. To add or remove signatures, enable editing, save your changes, and then try again.

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You’ve verified that enabling macros does not change this behavior:

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Solution

I usually don’t blog about Microsoft Office applications because I’m not at all savvy with Excel or the other applications in the suite but as I had to assist with signing various Excel documents today for a client and ran into this problem and only finding 3 posts via Google with no resolution, I thought it would be a good idea to blog the resolution.

After spending half an hour or so going through the Excel help files and navigating around the menus to find a button that switched to editing mode, the way I finally got around this error message to remove the signed certificate was to open the spreadsheet, click on the top left corner button then select Save As –> Excel Workbook:

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Save the file with a new file name:

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Continue selecting Yes to the following message:

Saving a copy of this workbook will invalidate all of the signatures in the copy. Do you want to continue?

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With the new file created:

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… proceed with opening the file:

Click on the View Signatures… button:

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Click on the arrow pointing downwards under the Invalid signatures window and select Remove Signature:

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… answer Yes to:

Are you sure you want to permanently remove this signature? This action cannot be undone.

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… and because you saved the original Excel spreadsheet to a new file, the signature should now successfully remove:

The signature has been removed and the document has been saved.

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You don’t need to save the document at this point so you can just close it.

As easy as the process seems, it took me a bit of time to figure this out.  Hope this helps anyone out there who may come across this

6 comments:

Annie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Annie said...

Well, i visit your blog continuously because it provide me useful and tips and information, which help me to overcome different difficult steps. Keep sharing.
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Jimmy Jarred said...

Thank you for providing this excellent solution for this problem. I never faced such kind of issue but its really good to know about how to deal with it.
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Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot Terence!!! Tried to fix this for about 20 minutes then found your blog. All good now, signature removed!

Anonymous said...

Didn't work for me. Same error with a new file name.

Raj Solanki said...

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