An Essential Guide To Signing Documents Electronically

Electronic Signature
The rise of technology has added a twist to lots of processes nowadays. Years ago, one could only collect and submit documents traditionally. You had to walk into the office to get the form you needed to fill, use ink on paper to put in your details and sign your documents, and then submit it to the office desk. This is no longer the case as there has been a huge shift. You can go through these processes electronically.

A scanned document or an e-copy can be sent through your email. You can fill in, sign electronically and send it back. There is nothing to worry about formality as the use of e-documents has been formally adopted by most organizations. Read on to know more about signing documents electronically.

What Is An Electronic Signature?

It is important to give definitions of what signing electronically means. It typically means to sign documents online. An electronic signature is a symbol that is peculiar to an individual and serves as legal authorization for approvals, agreements, and contracts. This is just like getting a physical task done electronically. Rather than traveling a long distance to sign a document physically, you could use electronic signatures instead. Assume you're applying for a scholarship at a university outside your home country. This would involve you signing and submitting lots of documents. Having to travel across seas to get this done can be cut short by using electronic platforms. Isn't that a huge benefit? Electronic signatures save time and materials and are very secure.

Also, there has been an increased wave of remote jobs. Many more people now work from home without visiting any physical location to get a job done. There has been a rise in virtual transactions even with banks, network providers, and a wide range of organizations. These adopt electronically signed documents for verification and accreditation and are legally binding. Therefore, there is no difference between your physically signed and electronically signed documents in the relevance they carry. Except that one is easier than the other, you can guess which one.

Types Of Electronic Signatures

Electronic signatures can be classified into three types based on their complexity and level of security. These are:
  • Simple Electronic Signatures

These electronic signatures are mostly seen everywhere. This involves you attaching either a picture of your signature or a scanned signature to a document. It is as simple as its name implies. You could quickly take a picture of your signature and insert it into the document. This does the work of authorization you need. The only shortcoming is that you must ensure that the attached picture aligns with your physical signature. This process can, however, be prone to fraudulent activities.
  • Advanced Electronic Signatures

This is more complex than simple electronic signatures. With this, your signature has to be verified before it can be reckoned as your legal authorization. There are verification apps that can be installed on smartphones and would help you to authenticate your signature. It is after this process that your electronic signature can become legal. The distinguishing factor of an advanced electronic signature is that it is linked to a signatory, and any change outside the data signed in will render the signature invalid. There is a higher level of security attached to advanced electronic signatures.
  • Qualified Advanced Electronic Signatures

This is used for documents containing sensitive information. Qualified advanced electronic signature adds an extra layer of verification. This involves the use of a third-party Trust Service Provider (TSP). Like the advanced electronic signature, you use an application to verify your signature. The third party adds an extra verification. The role of the third party is to put an additional level of scrutiny and validate the document's signature.

Electronic Signature
How To Create A Signature Line In Microsoft Word

  • Open the document you want the signer to sign on.
  • Direct your cursor to the portion on the document where you want the signature line.
  • Go to the Text group and look for the insert tab. From there, click on the signature line list.
  • A list will appear. Click on the Microsoft office signature line.
  • When the signature setup dialog box is open, input the information that would show beneath the signature line. These include the suggested signer, the suggested signer's email address, and the instructions to the signer.
  • You could also allow the signer to add comments in the sign dialog box and the signature date to appear in the signature line.
The creation of a signature line is not an irreversible procedure. You can choose to remove signatures from word documents by these steps:
  • Open the document that has the e-signature you choose to remove.
  • Make a right-click on the signature line.
  • Click remove the signature, and click yes.

How To Electronically Sign A PDF File

Electronic signatures are not limited to word documents alone. You can add an electronic signature to a PDF file by the following steps:
  •  Open the file you want to sign using Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • You will see the Fill and Sign icon on the right side of the Tools pane. Click on it.
  • Select sign and then Add signature.
  • A pop-up will appear. Select the option you want; either to Type, Draw, or Image.
  • Click on the Apply button.
  • Resize and move the signature to the appropriate position inside your PDF file.

Selecting E-Signature Providers

When deciding on an e-signature provider, there are several factors to consider. The first thing is security. Ensure that the platform is secure, and you would not have an unauthorized person tampering with your signature or having access to it. The electronic signature platform should have means of identification and authentication. The providers should also offer affordable options. Some providers have free trial offers, while some may be exclusively expensive. You should also be sure that the service will be compatible with the software you use.


This is a comprehensive guide to using electronic signatures for documents. All organizations in different sectors will find e-signatures useful. They can be used in the hospital to take signatures from staff and patients. Government agencies and small business enterprises use electronic signatures to ensure faster transaction rates without compromising security.