How to Prepare Your Data | European Digital Credentials for Learning
Before familiarising yourself with the process of credential data preparation, you should make sure that you fulfil a couple of important pre-conditions.
To be able to issue European Digital Credentials for Learning, you need to obtain a qualified or an advanced electronic seal. A qualified electronic seal is an electronic seal compliant to EU Regulation No 910/2014 (eIDAS Regulation) for electronic transactions within the internal European market. It enables to verify the issuer of a document over long periods of time. Qualified electronic seals can be considered as digital equivalent to seals of legal entities on paper. According to the eIDAS regulation, a qualified electronic seal must be created by a qualified electronic device and based on a qualified certificate for an electronic seal. If your institution doesn’t have a qualified or an advanced electronic seal already, visit this web page to find a trust service provider in your country.
An advanced electronic seal shall meet the following requirements:
- it is uniquely linked to the creator of the seal;
- it is capable of identifying the creator of the seal;
- it is created using electronic seal creation data that the creator of the seal can, with a high level of confidence under its control, use for electronic seal creation; and
- it is linked to the data to which it relates in such a way that any subsequent change in the data is detectable.
Qualified certificates for electronic seals shall contain:
- an indication, at least in a form suitable for automated processing, that the certificate has been issued as a qualified certificate for electronic seal;
- a set of data unambiguously representing the qualified trust service provider issuing the qualified certificates including at least the Member State in which that provider is established and:
- for a legal person: the name and, where applicable, registration number as stated in the official records,
- for a natural person: the person’s name;
- at least the name of the creator of the seal and, where applicable, registration number as stated in the official records;
- electronic seal validation data, which corresponds to the electronic seal creation data;
- details of the beginning and end of the certificate’s period of validity;
- the certificate identity code, which must be unique for the qualified trust service provider;
- the advanced electronic signature or advanced electronic seal of the issuing qualified trust service provider;
- the location where the certificate supporting the advanced electronic signature or advanced electronic seal referred to in point (g) is available free of charge;
- the location of the services that can be used to enquire as to the validity status of the qualified certificate;
- where the electronic seal creation data related to the electronic seal validation data is located in a qualified electronic seal creation device, an appropriate indication of this, at least in a form suitable for automated processing.
Qualified certificates for electronic seals shall not be subject to any mandatory requirements exceeding the requirements listed above.
Qualified certificates for electronic seals may include non-mandatory additional specific attributes. Those attributes shall not affect the interoperability and recognition of qualified electronic seals.
If a qualified certificate for an electronic seal has been revoked after initial activation, it shall lose its validity from the moment of its revocation, and its status shall not in any circumstances be reverted.
Subject to the following conditions, Member States may lay down national rules on temporary suspension of qualified certificates for electronic seals:
- if a qualified certificate for electronic seal has been temporarily suspended, that certificate shall lose its validity for the period of suspension;
- the period of suspension shall be clearly indicated in the certificate database and the suspension status shall be visible, during the period of suspension, from the service providing information on the status of the certificate.
The Commission may, by means of implementing acts, establish reference numbers of standards for qualified certificates for electronic seals. Compliance with the requirements listed above (in points a-j) shall be presumed where a qualified certificate for electronic seal meets those standards. Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 5 of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011.
Today, it is possible to electronically sign data and to achieve the same effects as when using a hand-written signature. Such electronic signatures that benefit from a full legal recognition thanks to the eIDAS Regulation are called qualified electronic signatures.
The eIDAS Regulation defines electronic signature, qualified electronic signature and qualified electronic seal as follows:
- Electronic signature: “data in electronic form which is attached to or logically associated with other data in electronic form and which is used by the signatory to sign”.
- Qualified Electronic Signature as per eIDAS Regulation means an advanced electronic signature that is created by a qualified electronic signature creation device, and which is based on a qualified certificate for electronic signatures.
- Qualified electronic seal as per eIDAS Regulation means an advanced electronic seal, which is created by a qualified electronic seal creation device, and that is based on a qualified certificate for electronic seal.
Authenticates Origin (Natural Person)
Authenticates Origin (Legal Person)
Qualified Electronic Signature
Qualified Electronic Seal
Within the electronic signature family, the eIDAS Regulation defines subsets of electronic signatures that provide increasing legal predictability up to a level, the qualified electronic signature, which benefits from the legal equivalence to handwritten signatures.
Electronic signatures and seals in general shall not be denied legal effect and admissibility as evidence in legal proceedings solely on the grounds that it is in an electronic form or that it does not meet the requirements for qualified electronic signatures / seals.
A qualified electronic signature shall have the equivalent legal effect of a handwritten signature, while a qualified electronic seal shall enjoy the presumption of integrity of the data and of correctness of the origin of that data to which the qualified electronic seal is linked.
Qualified electronic signatures and seals based on a qualified certificate issued in one Member State shall be recognised as a qualified electronic signatures / seals in all other Member States.
This page will be updated. Keep in touch to learn more the seals supported by the EDC Issuer.
According to the eIDAS regulation, a qualified electronic seal must be created by a qualified electronic device and based on a qualified certificate for electronic seal. If your institution doesn’t have one already, visit this web page to find a suitable trust service provider in your country.
A trust service is an electronic service that involves one of the following:
- Creating, verifying and validating electronic signatures, seals or time stamps, electronically-registered delivery services and certificates that are related to those services.
- Creating, verifying and validating certificates to be used for website authentication.
- Preserving electronic signatures, seals or certificates related to those services.
The official European Commission WebApp for validating e-Seals can be found at https://ec.europa.eu/cefdigital/DSS/webapp-demo/validation.
If the seal is a qualified electronic seal the following result is shown after validation.
If you are confident that yours is a QESeal and the EC webapp states the contrary, then it is the DSS team that you would need to get in touch with.
If the EC webapp states that yours is a qualified electronic seal but the EDCI Issuer says the contrary, please contact the support team at email@example.com.
Issuers, who already acquired their institutional e-Seals, will need to have installed on their computers. NexU is an innovative, open-source multi-browser multi-platform remote signature tool with a purpose to communicate with smartcards. It relies on Nowina’s XSS-Sig Module to support interoperability of electronic signature in Europe.
- Open source: anyone can use NexU and contribute to it. To access the open-source version, please follow this link:
- Powered by DSS: based on SD-DSS, the EU reference implementation for electronic signature.
You can find more information about Nowina’s solutions at .
Once you have a qualified e-Seal and installed NexU, we recommend that you test your device by pressing the “Test your e-Seal” icon on the main EDCI Issuer page.
There are three basic options to prepare European Digital Credential's data:
- The platform is integrated with EU Login, so you can register an EDCI account and start creating and storing credential templates that are only visible to you entirely via the browser in the Online Credential Builder.
- You may also prepare larger datasets in Excel (for Windows) using the supplied template.
- Alternatively, you can export a package from your student information system as XML.
This page will being updated. Keep in touch to learn more about the Online Credential Builder.
The EDC Excel template, suitable for preparing larger credential datasets, is downloadable from the .
On the first sheet of the Excel Macro-Enabled Workbook you will find some basic written instructions about how to use the table to enter your credential data. Before you start working with the Excel table, make sure that you can edit the content and macros are enabled.
There are 8 clearly distinguished sheets to support you in recording your credential data in a systematic manner. All sheets have a "Default Value" row, where you can enter data in the yellow cells. These will be automatically copied into each new row you add to speed up the data filling procedure.
Some of these field contents come from a controlled list, and some may even have multiple values, such as an activity’s language of instruction. Use the drop-down menu to select and deselect all applicable choices.
When the default value entered in row 11 does not apply to all subsequent rows, you can edit and adjust the data. For example, some of your learners may not be a citizen of your country or may have dual citizenship. Please note however, that once you changed such data, the cell will lose the automatic reference to the default value.
You can add new and delete unwanted rows on each sheet by pressing the Blue "Add" and "Delete" buttons. To remove entries, select any cell of the row you want to discard before pressing "Delete". Be warned that these deletions cannot be restored by the Ctrl + Z “Undo” command.
A few data fields marked in red are mandatory. These are:
- The title and type of the credential;
- The credential’s “Valid from date”;
- Given name and Family name;
- The recipient’s e-mail or wallet address and
- The indication of the issuing organisation.
Some cells are highlighted in darker purple, for example, the titles of achievements, learning outcomes, activities or Entitlement type and status. These fields are only compulsory if the data component, like achievement or entitlement, is applicable to your credential.
Please keep in mind that the content of certain cells are interdependent, and in many cases you have to prefill data on other sheets, for example organisations, activities, assessments and achievements, before you can select from corresponding drop-down menus.
As implied by the short list of compulsory properties above, most data fields are optional to fill in, and some – for example expiry dates or details of learning assessment – may not even apply to certain types of credentials. In other cases, in some cells you will be able to select multiple values.
Where you need to provide initial data to be able to proceed with the input selection, for example details of the issuing organisation, this will be pointed out in the field descriptions in row 9, so please make sure that you read these.
In most cases the credential property labels are very intuitive, however in many cases you may find it useful to also read the short descriptions of the kind of data that should be recorded in the workbook’s various columns.
The first “European Credentials” sheet contains the highest level of data. This is where you can specify the title, detailed description and “Valid from” date of your to-be-issued credentials. The issuance and, if applicable, expiration dates are determined by you. Please present these pieces of data in a valid date format.
This sheet also makes automatic references to the credential issuer from the “Organisations” tab and your credential holders, whose details are specified on the “Persons” sheet.
We recommend that you give your credential a title that is no longer than 50 characters and a short description of maximum 140 words, so that the credential looks nice and airy in the EDCI Viewer.
Choose the type of your credential, that best describes what accomplishment you are acknowledging, from the drop-down menu. Are you awarding participation certificates after a short learning programme? Choose “Learning activity”. Is your credential a data-rich, fully fledged Diploma supplement? Choose that option.
The name of the credential issuer is automatically set to be the first item on the “Organisations” sheet.
This sheet will allow you document finer details, such as VAT identifiers, logo, homepage and physical address, but the only compulsory data you need to provide are the legal name and identifier. Please note that the legal identifier (that is one of the compulsory data) and the VAT and tax/fiscal identifiers are composed of two bits of data, a so-called spatial ID indicating the organisation’s country of location, and an identifier, that is normally a series of numbers and letters.
Be aware, that you will receive a validation error during the file upload if one of these two components are missing. Please also note, that if you did provide the address of an organisation, you also must select the corresponding country. As the example below suggests, you can also indicate hierarchical relationships when a department or faculty has a parent organisation.
You can provide your credential holders’ data on the “Persons” sheet. Remember that only the red data fields are compulsory. Our data model allows you to enter gender, various ID numbers, place of birth, citizenship, as well as full postal address, but the only detail you need for your credential to pass the verification check is the full names, dates of birth and email or wallet addresses of your credential holders. Just like in the case of organisations, please make sure that if you did provide the contact address of a person, you also select the corresponding country of residence.
This sheet also serves the purpose of linking learning achievements, activities and entitlements to each of your learners and – if and where applicable – to record the grades of assessments that prove the acquisition of the learning outcomes that make up the learners’ achievements. You will have to fill the “Achievements”, “Learning Outcomes”, “Activities”, “Assessments” and “Entitlements” sheets with content first, then return here to establish the appropriate cross-references.
The “Achievements” sheet will allow you to describe learning achievements in detail. If you want to link learning achievements to your credential, you must provide their titles. All the other properties are optional and some may not even be applicable to your particular achievements, although every piece of additional data will give added value to your overall credential. An achievement could have an internal identifier, an awarding date and an awarding body, which may differ from the credential’s issuer, so make sure that you provide all necessary data on the “Organisations” sheet. Please note that if you did provide an achievement awarding date, you also must specify the awarding organisation.
If applicable, after populating the “Assessments”, “Activities” and “Entitlements” sheets, select
- concrete assessments that prove the acquisition of the learning outcomes that make up the achievement,
- the activities that influenced the achievement and
- entitlements that the credential holder received, for example, a qualification as a painter means that the holder of the credential has acquired the skill of painting, but also is entitled to work as a painter – at least in the country where he or she achieved the painter qualification.
If smaller achievements can be stacked into a larger one, you can communicate this by selecting the sub-achievements of a more complex one.
Is your achievement a qualification or part of one, like a degree or degree course? Document this in the Qualification section, where you can also select an achievement’s European Qualifications Framework level and/or NQF level.
When you select the National Qualifications Framework in the “Default Value” row, your options for level selection will be narrowed down accordingly, and these choices will be copied automatically into every new data row you add. If you list multiple achievements and some are awarded by an organisation operating with a different National Qualifications Framework, you can change your NQF and level selection in the individual row.
In the “Specification” section you can provide further details of achievements, such as
- web pages;
- a selection of learning outcomes – that you first have to add on the “Learning Outcomes” sheet;
- the estimated number of hours the learner is expected to spend engaged in learning to earn the award;
- the maximum duration of the undertaken learning opportunity – please note that for both the volume of learning and maximum duration values, only positive whole numbers (no decimals) are accepted;
- ECTS credit points earned;
- Thematic area according to the ISCED-F classification;
- Mode of learning
- Language (or languages) of instruction;
- Whether the learning setting is formal or non-formal;
- The type of learning opportunity and
- Other documents and additional information.
The “Learning Outcomes” sheet allows you to list and describe all the knowledge, skills and competences that your learners have achieved by successfully completing a learning opportunity. Please make sure that you give your learning outcomes short informative titles and descriptions. If it is feasible, we encourage you to take advantage of the multilingual European Skills/Competences, Qualifications and Occupations classification, and consult the ESCO portal to make your learning outcomes instantly translatable to other EU languages. Please note that the type and reusability level of your learning outcomes is also described in ESCO terms, that enhances the quality of your credential’s metadata.
As with the achievements and learning outcomes, learning activities must also always have a title, even if that is the only piece of information you provide. If you have an existing unique identifier, enter that in columns AB and AC, then continue by providing a description. Some online courses may have a flexible delivery schedule, but if the information is available, you can also specify the start and end dates of the learning activity. Please make sure that you enter this data in a valid date format.
The workload is the actual number of hours the learner has spent engaged in the activity. This would include the estimated number of hours in class, in group work, in practicals, as well as hours engaged in self-motivated study. Please also note that the learning activity’s workload is closely informed by the learning opportunity’s volume of learning, that is the provisional estimated number of hours the learner is expected to spend engaged in the activity. This descriptor can be found in the “Specification” section of the “Activities” sheet. Please note that only positive whole numbers (no decimals) are accepted for both workload and volume of learning.
In column BG you can select the organisation that delivered the learning activity. Remember, that in some cases this agent may be a different organisation, or a department or faculty of a larger entity. You can also indicate the location where the activity took place, with a full postal address. Please note however, that if you did provide an address, you also must select the corresponding country. If applicable, indicate hierarchical relationships between activities (for example, a semester course may be composed of various sub-activities). And if we didn’t think of all the activity descriptors that are important in your specific case, you are welcome to utilise the “More Information” and “Additional Field” columns.
The “Activity Specification” provides information about the learning opportunity that is already available before the delivery takes place. To understand what this means, imagine that the specification is the detailed recipe of a cake and all the cakes that were baked at any time, following that same recipe are unique instantiations of that specification. In other words, the specification would be the description of the learning activity in theory, without a start and end date and with just an estimated volume of learning, while the activity itself is the concrete manifestation of that specification with a particular start and end date and a real actual (i.e. not just estimated) workload in hours.
The activity specification can also have a unique identifier and a description. Additionally, this is the section where you can specify the type and mode of learning – these descriptors come from a controlled list. Here you can indicate the language (or languages) of instruction, provide links to other relevant documents and, again, add other important pointers in the “More Information” and “Additional Field” columns.
By now these data fields will be familiar. If assessment is part of your credential, please give all your entries titles, add descriptions, if you like, select the one or more organisations that conducted the assessment and specify the assessment date. You can also select what method was used, indicating whether learner identification and/or supervision took place before and during the assessment. Use the additional fields at your discretion.
The assessment specification, as explained during the introduction of the “Activities” sheet, is the recipe for assessment implementations. In addition to the familiar identifiers, homepages, language selection and additional notes, that you can provide to make this credential component more data-rich, this section will also allow you to give a few assessment specific details. Choose the most suitable item from our controlled lists in column EQ and ES to indicate the mode and type of assessment.
Don’t miss filling the last few columns with information about your applied grading scheme, as this could provide extremely useful information, when credential viewers, such as prospective employers, evaluate the learning achievement of their job applicant (i.e. your credential holder).
Also, don’t forget to return:
- First to the “Achievements” sheet, where now you can select, in column BG, the assessment proving the achievement you described before, and then
- To the “Persons” sheet, where you can not only choose multiple achievements in column AW, but also specify your credential recipients’ grades in columns BC and upwards.
Entitlements are the rights a person has access to, typically as a result of a learning achievement. It may take the form of the right to be a member of an organisation, to enrol in a certain learning opportunity, or to follow a certain career.
On the “Entitlements” sheet you can provide a detailed description of these rights, following a similar structure to achievements, activities and assessments in the sense that you will have a generic specification section and details of the manifestation of that specification, such as issuance and – if applicable – expiry dates. If your credential holder receives any entitlements, on this sheet you will have to provide not only the title but also the type and status of entitlement, as it is suggested by the cells highlighted with a darker purple background.
If you look at the two examples of this sample credential, you can see that one is a prospective learning opportunity, meaning in this case that the holder has the right to enrol in postgraduate doctoral studies, while the other is an actual occupation, meaning that its holder is instantly authorised to practice as a communication assistant.
The last two columns of this table can inform the credential holder, and those whom the holder shares it with, about the list of organisations that acknowledge the entitlement (for example the organisation offering the learning opportunity, membership or employment opportunity) and the legislative area where the entitlement is valid (in our case, the whole of the European Union).
Once you fully populated all the sheets with content, revisit the “Achievements” sheet to establish all desirable cross-references, namely “Proven by”, “Influenced by” and “Entitles Owner to” in columns BG to BK and to select the related learning outcomes in column DY.
Then skip back to the “Persons” sheet, where now you will be able to assign learning achievements, activities and entitlements to each learner (in columns AW, AY and BA) and enter their grades where applicable.
Add as many new rows as you need to be able to list all your learners’ credential data. When you’re done with that, return to the “European Credentials” sheet to take the last steps to get your file ready for uploading.
Your first credential is already prepared to be awarded to the first learner on your “Persons” list. As you keep adding new rows, column BF will continue automatically importing the persons as they appear on your list.
The behaviour of this sheet is slightly different from the others. Here, if you want to delete a credential, you cannot remove an entry from the middle of your table, only from the end. If you notice that a learner should not be awarded a credential, return to your “Persons” sheet and delete them from there or move them to the bottom of the list and adjust the “European Credentials” sheet’s row count accordingly. Alternatively, you can delete these credentials when you upload your file in the EDCI Issuer – there will be a “Review” screen, where you can take a final look at your credentials before sealing them.
In the unlikely event of finding yourself not being able to edit one of the content cells and you receive a warning that the sheet is protected, you can find a blue “Unprotect All Sheets” button on the “Instructions” sheet.
Please also observe that there are a number of hidden columns and rows and many functions and macros in place to make this Excel template operate as intended. To avoid breaking any hidden references and save yourself unnecessary frustration, we advise you to enter data either manually, or column by column, using the “paste special” function and only paste values.
As mentioned on page 3 of this document, every yellow cell in row 11 on all data sheets is set as a default value, so you only have to enter data once, and that data will be automatically pasted in every new row you add. If one of your entries differs from the default you’ll have to adjust that data content manually. Be warned that this action will disable the auto reference to the default data and from thereon if you change the default value, it will not be automatically copied into the cells whose content you edited.
In several cases you can make direct references to other sheets’ data content that you created yourself. Examples for this are references to organisations that awarded achievements, directed activities, or made assessments, and references to achievements, learning activities and entitlements that are related to your credential recipients. Ensure that you (multi-)select content from these drop-down lists after you finalised the content on the “Organisations”, “Activities”, etc. sheets, because the referring cell content will not change upon editing data on the sheet of the source. You can still edit the referred content, but you will have to return to the cross-referring sheet, delete the outdated reference and re-select from the drop-down.
When you upload your Excel file, a validation mechanism is checking that you supplied all the compulsory data. If you missed anything, you will receive a message listing all the validation errors. If this happens, return to your workbook, fill in the missing fields and upload the file again.
Would you still have difficulties with filling in the tables, or have questions about any aspect of the European Digital Credentials for Learning, please don’t hesitate to contact us: EDCsupport@ext-ec-europa.eu
Apart from the default white and blue European Digital Credential for Learning (EDC) template, a Verifiable Credential can contain its specific version of the EDC to support a customised look and feel. The EDCI Viewer displays an HTML representation of the credential, so that is why this custom credential will be built in HTML + CSS (no JS) inside the EDC's XML structure and will use wildcards to choose EDC content (credential subject's name, titles, descriptions, etc.) and to show EDC non-related translatable labels ("certifies that", "has achieved", etc.)
Some code samples and instructions on using credential wildcards are available in this downloadable document for you to customise your EDCs.
This contains a brief description of the European Digital Credentials for Learning and basic instructions about how to test your qualified e-Seal, access the Online Credential Builder and download our blank Excel template.
If you choose to prepare your credential data in Excel, you will have to fill in its tables first, before you can proceed to uploading, sealing and sending your verifiable European Digital Credentials for Learning to their designated recipients. Once your file is ready you can proceed to upload the spreadsheet.
Click on the “Upload XLS Spreadsheet” cloud icon in the “Upload” section of the main page. Before you can select the Excel file you want to upload, you will receive the following short message:
“By clicking upload, I confirm that my organisation's data protection policy allows me to share this data with Europass for the duration of the session, for the purpose of creating and issuing credentials.”
You are only sharing these data for a brief period of time and none of that will be stored anywhere apart from cache, but please make sure that you are not violating your institution’s data protection policy by uploading your credential details.
Click “Upload”, select your file, then hit the “Open” button. In the next step you will see your credentials lined up on the screen. If you have more than 10 in your table, you can change the default view or navigate between the pages.
By clicking on the “eye icon” you can get a preview of your credentials as they will appear for the credential holders in the EDCI Viewer. Please note that you can also view the details not visible on the virtual certificate by clicking on the “Credential Details” button.
In this detailed view you will be able to take a close look at the content of the different sections of your credentials and visualise data content about the issuing organisation, the credential owner, achievements, activities and entitlements.
As mentioned before, your institution will need to have an official, to be able to take the next step in the issuing process, and an application called will have to be installed on your computer. If you have the sealing device and NexU running, you just have to click on the “Seal” button and wait for the Issuer to carry out the digital signing for you.
In order to prevent issuers from disclosing legal data about their institution in the Excel file that is misleading or fraudulent, during the process of sealing the system will overwrite the following pieces of information about the credential issuing organisation with data extracted from the Seal:
- Legal name and identifier of the Issuer;
- Country of registration of the Issuer;
- Date & Time of Issue.
Once that step is completed, you can preview your credentials again or proceed immediately to sending the credentials to their owners.
You will receive a little notification message, as well as green tick icons to show that your credentials have been sent successfully. If you had provided your credential holders’ unique wallet addresses in your EDC file, you will also see green tick icons in the last column of this status table once they have received their credentials. If you sent your credentials by email only, you will see an orange “No entry” symbol.
After you successfully upload, sealed and send your credentials, their holders will receive them via email and/or directly in their wallets according to your address specifications. A European Digital Credential for Learning is technically an XML file. If your learner receives it via email, the notification will indicate that and will include an XML attachment. The recipient can save that file onto their computer and follow the link provided in the email to upload and visualise them in the EDCI Viewer.
Once in the , the credential holder can upload the XML file they received from the issuer, and instantly see some highlighted data as if they were looking at a pdf scan of a traditional paper-based certificate. By clicking on the “Credential Details” button they can browse and see additional details, such as information about the issuing organisation, their own personal data, and descriptions and grades related to their achievements, activities and entitlements.
They can also see instantly the validity of their credential – the 6 steps of the “Authentication and Verification Check” list are immediately visible on the first screen of the detailed view. Some of these checks may have special value in certain cases. For example while some credentials never expire, others might have to be renewed periodically, so if an expiry date is set in the metadata, the “Validity” check will show if the credential is still valid or not. In other cases certain special credentials can only be issued by legally authorised or accredited entities. The “Accreditation” check will provide information about this credential status.
Credential owners can decide to share their European digital credentials for Learning with a third party, for example, a prospective employer. If they do, the third party will be able to view the shared credential the same way as it was demonstrated.
We hope this introduction was clear and informative. Please remember that the EDCI will continue to undergo future developments and some functions might change and improve in the future. If you have any questions or feedback, please get in touch with us.