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Electronic Transcript Information for Students and Alumni

Current students and Alumni may now order electronic transcripts in pdf format.

Stanford 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 Stanford.

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.

On August 20, 2010 the Stanford University Registrar’s Office released a new design to the background of the official electronic transcripts. The words “Stanford University” no longer appear in the background of the electronic transcripts, the seal was removed from the middle of the transcript, and the print watermark was removed when printing the document. The background of the electronic transcript is now white in color with a red border.

The reason for this new design is to give our electronic transcript a more streamlined feel and to provide a more useful electronic transcript for those who wish to image the transcript into a document imaging system.

How to Authenticate the Official Transcript from the Stanford University Registrar’s Office

All official electronic transcripts from Stanford University have been digitally signed and therefore contain special characteristics. When the document is viewed through Adobe Reader versions 9.0 or higher or through Adobe Acrobat versions 9.0 or higher, it will reveal that a digital signature has been applied to the document.

Adobe Reader version 9 and Acrobat version 9 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 Stanford 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.

Axess screenshot of a valid digital signature

Invalid Signature

The documents 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.

Axess screenshot of an invalid digital signature

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.

Axess screenshot of author unknown signature

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.

For More Information

You may contact the Student Services Center at Stanford University if you have additional questions about this digital signature, the authenticity of this document, or the means by which you received this document. Please direct these questions to