Using your Smartcard

Getting started

Before you can apply a digital signature to a document, you first need to receive your Smartcard and install your card reader.

Once your card reader is successfully installed, you can begin to use your digital signature to sign documents.

Step-by-step guide

We've produced a step-by-step guide which explains how to apply your digital signature to Microsoft Word documents and Adobe Acrobat PDFs.

Please note that in order to use your digital signature, your practising certificate must be current and your Smartcard must be inserted into the card reader, which is connected to your computer.

If you have not renewed your practising certificate by 31 October, your digital signature will be revoked.

Smartcard digital signature logos

To help improve the appearance of your digital signature, we've created a set of logos which can be inserted into a document to represent your signature.

Download a logo and find out more. 

Professional Practice: Smartcard practical advice guide

Our Professional Practice team have produced a Smartcard practical advice guide. This provides support and advice on using your Smartcard once it has been activated.


Before contacting us with any IT queries, please consult the step-by-step guide and check the following:

  • Do you have a current practising certificate?
  • Has your cardreader been installed on your computer? See card reader instructions.
  • Is your Smartcard inserted into your card reader?
  • Is your card reader connected to your computer?

If you have any questions about the step-by-step guide or your digital signature, please contact us

Smartcard FAQs

For general questions relating to the Smartcard, please read the Smartcard FAQs.

First Scottish sponsors

The Law Society of Scotland Smartcard

Find out more about First Scottish