Click on the question to see the answer.

There was a problem with my Countermark – what does this mean?

If you scan a Countermark with the phone App and get a response “There was a problem with this Countermark”, it means we had difficulty looking up the details in our database.

It would help us to diagnose the cause if you contact us by emailing a photo of the item including the Countermark to

We can then fully investigate the problem.

Can I still control a Countermark once it has been made?

Countermark issuers have the ability to withdraw Countermarks from use through the website. Individual Countermarks can be set to Active, Revoked, Suspended or Cancelled until they expire.

Only Active Countermarks may be read successfully by a valid phone user; the other types will give replies indicating that access to the information contained in the Countermark is currently withheld.

Status Types:

  • Active status is the usual initial state for Countermarks
  • Revoked status implies a short-term temporary interruption
  • Suspended status is intended when the interruption is required for a longer period of time
  • Cancelled status shows that the Countermark is now closed

The exact usage of these states is largely up to the Account Holder to decide.

These different status levels are manually selected as follows, and remain in place until changed again, in other words they do not revert back to the Active status after a few days – the status has to be manually changed once more. Even the Cancelled state can be changed back to Active if necessary.

This provides a useful mechanism of controlling access to the Countermark information even after the Countermark has been generated and used in the field for some time.

What’s the best way to convert my Microsoft Word document to PDF?

When converting Microsoft Word documents to PDF, images in the document may not always retain the clarity of the original.  The readability of the Countermark image in particular can be affected in this way.

To give the best rendering, click on the File tab in Microsoft Word followed by clicking ‘Print’. Select ‘Microsoft Print to PDF from the list of printers.

Press ‘Print’ to create the PDF, and remember the file name and location for use later on.

Other PDF options exist (Save as PDF, Export as PDF), but these try to minimise file size by compressing images. The Microsoft Print to PDF preserves the image quality better.

How is Blockchain used on Countermark?

Countermark stores each transaction in Blockchain to provide a secure, unalterable audit of Countermark changes. No Countermark details are stored in the Blockchain, just a ‘hash’ (essentially a sum of all the data in the Countermark record). This hash value can be recalculated for the Countermark data, and compared with the unalterable Blockchain version to look for any alterations to confirm that the Countermark data is not compromised.
Blockchain in Countermark is available as an option, depending on your requirement.

What are the recommended browser and firewall settings?

Each aspect of the Countermark system requires the following domain to be accessible:

This includes the phone Countermark app as well as desktop computers.
The Countermark website is routinely tested on the most popular browser and computer combinations.

We recommended using the Google Chrome browser with cookies enabled for best performance.

To install the Countermark Word Add-in, the following domains need to be allowed through your firewall:

In addition to those listed above, running the Countermark Word Add-in also requires the following to be allowed through your firewall:

How do I manage Issuers?

An Account Holder has the ability to create a number of Issuer accounts up to the subscription limit. To increase the subscription limit, please contact us. To access the Manage Issuer(s) page:


Login to the Countermark website as the Account Holder.


Select Dashboard from the ‘Hello’ menu



Click on Manage Issuer(s).



On the Manage Issuers page, there are sections for Active and Inactive Issuers as well as for adding a New Issuer.



Fill in the details for the New Issuer that you want to add. The account number and email address will be required when they log on.



Press the Add New Issuer button.



The Account is created and a confirmation banner is shown. The Account Holder can enable or disable Issuers from the Manage Issuer(s) page by pressing the Enable or Disable buttons.



The warning at the bottom of this page lets the Account Holder know that they have reached their subscription limit for the number of Active Issuers.


This completes the Account Holders part of creating a new Issuer. An email will be sent to the Issuer containing a link for them to complete the remainder of the account set-up:



Issuer – Account Setup Completion

To complete the account setup, click on the link in the Countermark registration email. This will take you to a page to confirm your details and enter your own password.



Enter your password details into the required fields and tick the Terms and Conditions box once satisfied with them. Make a note of the Account Number.

Press the Register button to complete the registration process.



You are now able to log in to the website or sign in to the Word Add-in using your Account Number, Email Address and the Password you entered.

How do I use the Countermark Word Add-In?

Once installed, the Countermark Word Add-in is placed on the right hand side of the Home ribbon.



Clicking on the Countermark Word Add-in causes it to appear next to your document.


You need to sign in to the Countermark Add-in before it can be used. Press the Sign In button.


Enter the Account Number, Email address and Password that were provided by your Countermark Account Holder. This will be the person that set the account up initially.


Press the Login button.





The Add-in now shows the steps required to create a Countermark.

1. Generate Countermark: To insert a Countermark press the Generate Countermark button.



The Countermark appears on screen and can be moved or rotated like any other image. Take care not to change the aspect (width/height) ratio of the Countermark image or apply any other kind of image filtering as this will affect the readability and decoding.

Countermark is designed to control access to information. In this example the information type has been selected by the Account Holder to be a PDF file.

If the PDF file is to be the document currently open in Word, complete all edits and spell checking etc. Click File, select Export, then press the ‘Create PDF/XPS’ button. Set your preferences then press Publish, noting the name and path of the file.



2. Choose PDF: Define the PDF file to be sent to the phone when the Countermark is read.

To associate the PDF document with the Countermark, navigate to the PDF file using the Browse button. Press Open once your PDF file has been located.

3. Enter Reference: Update your Reference information in the box provided. This information is visible to the Account Holder and will help keep Countermarks aligned to your organisation’s method of working.



4. Assign Countermark: Press the Assign Countermark button to complete the procedure.

The Countermark in your document is now linked to the file it is representing, and access to this file is now controllable.


Countermarks can also be used to link to a website.

The process is similar, but the Choose PDF stage is replaced by entering or pasting the required URL.

The URL is shown as an example.


How do I configure the workflow for the Countermark Word Add-in?

To keep the Countermark Word Add-in interface straightforward, some options are chosen beforehand by the Account Holder.


Login to the Countermark website as the Account Holder.


Select Dashboard from the ‘Hello’ menu


If the required Issuers have already been created, click to enter the Edit API Default Values page, otherwise see the FAQ entry for Managing Issuer(s).

The additional details required to use the Countermark Word Add-in are entered here. This ensures that the Word Add-in Issuer consistently produces the same flavour of Countermark each time.

Expiry Units

Select the units (Days / Weeks / Months / Years) to determine when each Countermark will expire.

Expiry Value

Select the number of Days / Weeks / Months / Years after which the Countermark will expire. Range 1 to 60 (except Years, 1 to 19).

Language Font

Choose the font to be used in the Countermark, this can be Latin, Cyrillic, Katakana or Chinese. English is written in Latin Font.


Optional text that is used to help you identify Countermarks. It could be used as a product identifier, a batch number or anything else you require, this will be displayed in the Reference field of the Countermark Add-In and can be used to search Countermark logs.

Attachment Type

Set to either a PDF file or URL website link for different usage scenarios.

    • PDF allows the PDF selected by the Word Add-In to be sent to the phone when the Countermark is read.
    • URL causes a web browser on the phone to be opened on the URL selected when the Countermark is read.


Press the Update button when done.

The Countermark Word Add-in Issuer will now be able to generate the type of Countermarks that have been set by the Account Holder. These values can be altered any time by the Account Holder and will affect all Countermarks subsequently created.

What does the Countermark Word Add-in do?

An add-in is available to simplify the adding of Countermarks to Microsoft Word documents.



Countermarks can be generated instantly and are automatically inserted as an image in your document.

To install the Countermark Word Add-in visit the Microsoft Office Add-In Store and search for ‘Countermark’

Settings are managed in advance by an Account Holder so that the Issuer can concentrate on the Word document. To use the Countermark Word Add-in both an Account Holder and an Issuer are required. The Account Holder can also act as an Issuer.




The Account Holder is able to create Issuers, set workflow defaults and is responsible for payments. The Countermark website allows Account Holders to manage these resources effectively.



Issuers are able to Generate and Assign Countermarks using the Countermark Word Add-in or through the Countermark website.




To become an Account Holder and start working with the Countermark Word Add-in, please contact us.

What is the difference between an Unassigned and Assigned Countermark?

Assigning data and criteria to an Unassigned Countermark generated by an Issuer, will produce an Assigned Countermark.  It is important to note that once an Unassigned Countermark has been assigned it cannot be re-assigned.

An Unassigned Countermark is a Countermark which has been generated but has basic attributes only defined by the Issuer at this stage:

  • Reference String
  • Branded Text Selection
  • Font Type
  • Dot Colour


An Assigned Countermark is an Unassigned Countermark which has had the following attributes defined by the Issuer at a later stage:

  • Image Data
  • Read Restrictions (Public/Private)
  • Geo-Locked Information
  • Time Locked Information


How do I set up the Countermark Application on my phone?

The latest released version of the Countermark Application can be found on either the Apple Store for iPhone users or on the Google Play Store for Android users.


Once the application has been downloaded, the phone user will need to follow the steps below to set their email preferences and permissions before they can read a Countermark.

  • Read the information screens to understand how to hold the phone correctly when using the application.
  • Read the information screen about how permissions are used whilst using the application.
  • Accept the requests to access the phone location and phone data where indicated when using the application.
  • Enter an email address to be associated with the User’s phone.
  • Open the sample Countermark document from the Countermark for Documents website, hold the phone over the sample Countermark image and let the phone scan the image to activate the application.
  • A successful read should be returned, this will trigger the Registration reminder email.
  • Exit the Application.
  • A new Icon will appear on the phone screen.


The Phone User will receive a Registration reminder email, for which they need to click on the ‘Confirm Email Address’ link to be redirected to Countermark for Documents Update your Preferences page.  This page is needed for GDPR compliance.  The Phone User now needs to confirm their adult status and verification options by ticking the relevant boxes before clicking the ‘Confirm’ box.


How do I reset my password?

Each website has its own password reset link:


  • The Countermark Shop Site ( – Go to the ‘My Shop Account’ button, use the ‘Lost Your Password?’ link.


  • The Countermark for Documents Site ( – Go to the ‘Login’ tab, use the ‘Forgot Password or Account Number?’ link.



In both instances, a Password Reset Request email will be sent to the email address entered.  The Individual or Issuer can then confirm the request via the request link within the email and reset the password.

What’s the difference between Global and Geo-Locked?

When an Issuer makes a Countermark, the read limit area and distance for the Countermark can be set as follows:


  • Global:  Countermark with no specified reading geography – A Global Countermark can be read at any location and by a phone with the “Location” setting disabled.


  • Geo-Locked:  Countermark with a specified reading geography (for example London + 35km radius) –  A Geo-Locked Countermark is read by enabling the “Location” setting on the phone. The phone must also be in the specified area that the Issuer has set for the Countermark.



What’s the difference between Public, Private and Registered?

Public, Private and Registered Countermarks have different access levels:


  • Public:  All Countermark Users can read a Public Countermark. A typical use for Public Countermarks is marketing or free data for use in the public domain.


  • Private:  Only a specified Group of Users can read a Private Countermark. These Users are typically specialists that must have access to protected data.


  • Registered:  A User can only read a Registered Countermark if they have enabled their phone location and allocated an email to the phone.


How do I add a User to a Group and edit Group membership details?

The User and Group dialogs have dedicated edit functions that permit the Issuer to add or view details and delete or change both individual User and Group membership details. The dialogs have tooltips with text callouts which explain terms and permitted actions.

  • User: Edit Dialog


  • Group: Edit Dialog


How do I add a Countermark code to my document?

The Issuer opens the web-based Countermark interface, removes (‘Cuts’) sensitive data from the document and then generates a Countermark, replacing (‘Paste’) the data with the Countermark code. The Issuer can then set Group and security access.

What’s the difference between an Issuer, a Group and a User?

There are three types of personnel associated with Countermarks.


  • Issuer:  An individual who uses the Countermark website to make (issue) Countermarks and inserts them into documents. The Issuer also has the access rights to create Users and Groups and set the Countermark’s access rules.


  • Group:  An Issuer collects a number of users into a Group to share access to a Private Countermark.


  • User:  An individual with a phone who is permitted to read a Countermark.
    • A ‘Public’ User can read a Countermark at all locations without access limits.
    • A ‘Private’ User is allocated to a specified Group authorised to read a Countermark on authorised phones.
    • A ‘Registered‘ User can only read a Countermark on a phone that has its location enabled and email confirmed.


What types of data can I Countermark?

Countermark for Documents lets you annotate, validate or protect all types of documentation.

A Countermark can show selections of visual and printed data to send to a phone. The image of the Countermark code is in .png format which can be added to Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat and many other types of document.  Using the Countermark App you can restrict where, when and who can read the Countermark.


When you add a Countermark code to a document, the Countermark operates like a hyperlink and adds data that is not apparent on the document. Examples include:

  • Title blocks on drawings or sensitive data on specifications
  • Audio clips on exhibition signage
  • Links to social media on garment tags
  • Links to YouTube or Amazon shops on concert tickets


Future Countermark releases will include video and acoustic files.

How do Countermarks Work on Documents?

Countermark for Documents lets you annotate, validate or protect all types of documentation.

A web interface is used to upload the data you want a User to see on their phone when they read a Countermark.  This can be an Image, a URL or a PDF file:



In its basic form, all Countermark Users can read the Countermark data to validate documentation and detect forgeries.

You can, however, also remove (‘Cut’) sensitive data from a document and replace that data with a Countermark code (‘Paste’). The original data is held in a secure database and is only made available to Countermark Users on a ‘need to know’ basis.

The Issuer can then specify the read limits possible. These are independent of each other and include:

  • Public / Private / Registered.
  • Global / Geo-Locked.
  • Time-Locked.


The format of the Countermark can be selected to include:

  • Font Type – Latin, Cyrillic, Katakana or Chinese.
  • Top Row Text – 1st 4 characters of the Top Row can be selected (as long as not already registered to another Issuer).
  • Black dots on white background – best for paper.
  • White dots on a black background – best for computer screens.
  • The size of the Countermark (either standard or matched to the image uploaded (Image option only)).

What is a Countermark?

A Countermark comprises a 32-character alpha-numeric string which is easy-to-read with software and the human eye:

A dedicated mobile phone App, with links to the Countermark server, is used to read the Countermark and return the original data to the User. The Countermark fonts are optimised for machine reading.  The fonts are registered designs and the name Countermark and the Countermark key symbol are registered trademarks. International patents protect the Countermark reading algorithms.

The data returned to the Users can be a PDF file, a link to a web page or a static image which can contain words and pictures or both. In the future, the ability to send audio, video and links to social media to the User’s phone will be added.

You can print Countermarks in Latin, Cyrillic, Katakana and Chinese fonts:

What is a Time-Locked Countermark?

When the Issuer makes a Countermark, the time for which it is readable is set for the Countermark, making it ‘Time-Locked’.

The Issuer can set the read period in days, weeks, months or years.  When the read period expires, the User can no longer access the Countermark data.


What does the Countemark Log show?

The Countermark Log shows how many times each Countermark has been read, when and where it was read and, subject to consent, who has read it.

The Issuer can enter search criteria to locate a specific Countermark.  The Issuer can select:


  • View Data– to view the read data of the selected Countermark.


  • View Image– to view the image data of the selected Countermark read.



How do I become a Countermark Issuer?

To become a Countermark Issuer, buy a subscription from our web shop or sign up for a Free Trial.

Contact (+44) 02392 265 109 or email


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