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Common Access Card help for your
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Installation Steps

Step 1: Obtain a CAC Reader
Step 2: CAC Reader driver / Video
Step 3: DoD Certificates / Video
Step 4: ActivClient  / Video
Step 4a: Update ActivClient
Step 5:  IE adjustments | Video
Log into AKO with your CAC now
Proceed ONLY if you need to sign forms
Step 6: IBM Forms Viewer  (formerly Lotus Forms) | Video
Step 7: eSign | Video

(The CHESS website has scheduled outages: Saturdays between 0200-0500 EST and the 2nd & 4th Tuesday of the month between 0700-1200 EST)


If you are having problems accessing the Lotus Forms software download link outside of the hours listed above, please contact CHESS for support.


NEWS:  Army migrating to Adobe fillable forms.  Army Publishing Directorate were to  begin conversion of the Army's inventory of existing IBM Lotus forms to PDF in the first quarter of FY 14 with a completion by the end of FY 14.  Beginning in FY15, Lotus Forms and ApproveIt / eSign software will no longer be supported.  This is great news for Mac users since Lotus and ApproveIt has never worked for them.  Please know that the current EES system requires Lotus Forms and eSign to allow signing of OERs (currently) and NCOERs (in the future).


Installation Steps:

Download / Save this page as single / printable PDF


1.  Go to the Army CHESS website at:


2.  Click the Login button (located on the black bar across the top of the page)

NOTE:  If you are CAC enabled through CHESS you will see your information displayed. Click the Login button to fully access the website.  If you are NOT CAC enabled on the Army CHESS website you will prompted for your email address and password.  This is the email address and password you used when you registered at the CHESS website.  If you have not registered you need to click the Registration (button) on the black bar on the top of the page.

3. Once logged in (verified by it saying Welcome your name in the upper right corner) you can to to Army Software Downloads (button) listed under the green Software (tab).

 4. Click the link titled:  Silanis eSign

5. Click the upper right corner link titled:  Download Silanis eSign

You may be prompted at the bottom of your screen asking if you want to Save or Save As, select Save or Save As.

Alternate download (directly from AKO): (42.9 MB)


6.  Once the file is downloaded, Right click the file titled:, and select Extract All,  

7.  Once the files are extracted, open the folder titled:  eSign_6.6  and select setup.exe (82 KB Application file), followed by Yes. 

NOTE:  If you receive: "The module "C:\Program Files (x86)\ApproveIt\ADTMSOADDIN.dll" was loaded but the call to DIIRegisterServer Failed with error code 0x08007005."  This generally means a lack of administrative privileges.  You'll need to 'Run as Administrator' to install the program, or login as an administrator to install. 

NOTE:  Look under the Compressed size column, IF you see a 30KB setup file, this means you are in the zipped folder, and not the new extracted folder.  Review step 6 above

NOTE:  If you are prompted for a serial number, it means you did not extract the files in step 6 above, or you did not select the correct setup file in step 7 above

8.  Select Next,  Accept the license, Next,


9.  The program does not inform you when it finishes installing, so [my personal recommendation] is to verify the software installed by going to Control Panel:  Uninstall a Program (Windows 7 / 8 / Vista), Programs and Features (Vista), or Add / Remove Programs (XP) look for e-Sign Desktop 6.6.

10. Restart your computer, then come back to this page to use the Sample Form below OR save it to your desktop now.


NOTE:  IF my instructions confused you above, an individual sent the below instructions that may be easier for you to follow.


Older ApproveIt 6.5 download:


 Video Installation Instructions (for ApproveIt 6.5), new version coming soon


Test your digital signature with the below links:


IBM Forms Viewer / Lotus Forms (.xfdl) version

Image of a blank DA3161


 Adobe Reader (.pdf) version

Image of a blank DA3161

new imageNote, if you are not seeing the digital signature on the PDF, make sure you have Adobe Reader installed.  The Windows 8 / 8.1 built in PDF reader will not work for digitally signing.


  NOTE:  Internet Explorer 8, 9, 10 & 11 users need to look at slides 19-20 of this guide  If not, they along with: Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera web browser users will receive 'gibberish' when clicking the Lotus Forms .xfdl link above.  You need to right click the "sample form" link and select Save Link As / Download Linked File As / Save to Download Folder.  Save it to your desktop, then test from your desktop.  If your computer downloads it as a .txt file, right click it and change it to .xfdl


IE 9 & 10 users look here for other options


Compatibility view for IE 8, 9, & 10



This can also remedy problems using Forms (on AKO) for digitally signing and routing forms.

If you are not familiar with signing forms with your CAC? Look here for instructionsVisual steps, or Watch Video


The ideas on this website are from my personal experience.  I have been told by Army Publishing Directorate (APD) to send users to their help desk so they become aware of the problems with this program.  703-692-1306 / DSN:  312-222-1306 , Webform, or 


If you are having problems accessing the CHESS website, contact the CHESS help desk at:  or 888-232-4405 / 703-806-1019 / DSN: 312-656-1019 (Monday - Friday 0800-1700 Eastern).


Fog Flag Bar


Alternate install instructions:


After making the first attempt to install the Silanis E-Sign software
Open the folder
Double click setup.msi
Clicked More Info in the pop up Windows dialog box
Clicked Run Anyway in the pop up Windows dialog box
Selected Modify with a radio button
Clicked the Next button
Clicked on the down arrow for the e-Sign for IBM Lotus Forms

Look at image below.


e-Sign instll screen

Fog Flag Bar

 APD Installation guide for ApproveIt 6.5

eSign / ApproveIt Desktop enables users to approve, verify and securely print documents, forms, letters and spreadsheets.  eSign / ApproveIt uses Silanis Intelligent Signature Technology, which is a form of electronic signature developed by Silanis and is based on digital signature technology.  The Silanis Intelligent Signature Technology electronically signs the content of documents or forms that are presented to the user in Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Reader, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Lotus Forms, PureEdge Viewer, and FormFlow.  Upon signing a document or form with eSign / ApproveIt Desktop, the electronic signature and audit trail information is embedded within the structure of the document or form and becomes a permanent part of it, much like a wet ink signature on paper.
If you are interested in knowing how to digitally sign a memorandum, this is how to do it (Word 2003 & 2007 only) (Word 2010 & 2013) read the sentence below.


NOTE:  If you have Office 2010 or 2013 installed you may need to configure eSign / ApproveIt to get the ApproveIt tabs back.  Follow this page.

If you need to completely uninstall eSign / ApproveIt, follow this information.



To download blank DA forms, go to the Army Publishing Directorate website , click on the Forms (tab) DA Forms button.  Find the form you want (in the range of form numbers).  Right click the XFDL link to the right of the form you want, Select Save Target As.  Save it to your computer and you will have the form for later.  You can also click the link, it will open up your Lotus Forms or Pure Edge software automatically (only if using Internet Explorer 6, 7, or 8).  All other browsers will have to use the Right click, Save As option to save your form.


Digitally signing a form is simple when following these instructions

PDF Instructions    Video Instructions

With your form open and your CAC inserted in the card reader

Single click the button with the slanted pen with "Click to Approve" typed after it (see image)

Click to Approve button image

Read the Electronic Signature Notice, then OK

Click the word Sign (not OK)

Select your name (the one without the word email in it), then OK

You should see your name, once you do, click the word Sign

It will prompt you to type in your PIN, then select OK

Once you see Signature is valid, select OK

You have now signed your form

If the word Sign is GRAY, please look here for some known solutions


Fix the ePersona message when trying to sign



Watch Silanis Electronic Signatures 2-minute Presentation



This is the email I received from APD on 25 August 2010 when I asked for permission to have an alternate download location for people when the CHESS website is down.


"In regards to your email, As I am sure you are well aware APD is the Enterprise provider of Lotus Forms Viewer and Silanis ApproveIt software.  There are only two channels that are authorized to be the authoritative distributor of the fore mentioned software, 1. AGM (Army Gold Master) for GFE (Government Funded Equipment) installation / use and 2. CHESS (Computer Hardware, Enterprise Software Solutions) for PFE (Personal Funded Equipment) installation / use.  APD does not authorize any other body (i.e. AKO) to distribute its Enterprise Software.  Your request to have this software hosted in your files has been dually noted.  At this time your request to host / provide the Lotus Forms Viewer and Silanis ApproveIt software is Denied.  You will be advised if APD's stance on this request changes in the future."


For issues obtaining the software from the CHESS website, utilize the Official Army channels for assistance. 


The ideas on this website are from my personal experience.  I have been told by Army Publishing Directorate (APD) to send users to their help desk so they become aware of the problems with this program.  703-692-1306 / DSN:  312-222-1306 , Webform, or 


If you are having problems accessing the CHESS website, contact the CHESS help desk at: or 888-232-4405 / 703-806-1019 / DSN: 312-656-1019 (Monday - Friday 0800-1700 Eastern).



 If you have questions or suggestions for this site, contact Michael J. Danberry
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