Have you ever gotten a PDF file by email, and you had to sign it and send it back by email? For most people, that process is a real hassle. You have to print the PDF file, then you sign the printed copy, then you have to scan that paper back into a new PDF file and save it to your computer, then email it back to whoever sent it to you. It's a lot of steps for what should be a pretty simple process. Good News! There is a much easier way, and it doesn't require any printing or even scanning the documents. While we aren't a big fan of Adobe Reader (we use Foxit Reader), one of the reasons being the program is notoriously slow. Even though the program has improved in performance, but one would be better off with a minimal PDF reader that isn't packed with so many features. Although, now and then, one of those features come in handy, just like the electronic signature we would talk about further in this article. But let's establish the difference between digital and electronic signatures.
Electronic Signatures are not Digital SignaturesDigital signatures are something else entirely while a digital signature is cryptographically secure and verifies that someone with your private signing key, which has seen the document and will authorise it. It is known for a fact that digital signatures are way more secure than a traditional ink signature or a signature image overlaid on top of a PDF document. But are not accepted by someone. You asked why? Well, the answer is simple — most people are expecting a document with a little scribble of ink on it. And if you send them a PDF file with a digital signature, then only a few people would understand it and accept that digital signature. Even though we live in a cloud era, many businesses struggle in simply accepting signed documents by email rather than forcing you to fax them. Although the below methods may not be perfectly secure but neither is printing something, scribbling over it with a pen, and then scanning it again. The electronic signatures are just like traditional ink signatures but applied electronically to documents without any printing or scanning required. But when it comes to signing contracts, the Cloud suddenly bursts – we’re asked to print off pages, sign dotted lines and fax things back, like we are living in 90's.
Steps to Sign a PDF Document without Scanning & Printing:To sign a document with a handwritten signature, you don't have to print, scan and reprint anything, but there is a bit of setup to do this for the first time. If you are on a Windows PC, the best option you got is the Adobe Reader, which in spite of a free tool comes packed with tons of features, as we talked above. First you need to open the PDF document in Adobe Reader. If Adobe Reader detects a signature field, it'll prompt you to open the Sign pane. If not, just click the Sign button at the top-right corner. You will have to use the place signature option to use a real signature, while other options just add text, checkmarks, or initials, which is not good enough. There are four ways through which the place signature dialog allows you to create a signature in a variety of ways:
- Type you Signature: In this option, you would have to enter your name and Adobe reader will generate something that will look like a signature. Though, you should probably avoid this option, as you would want something to that look more like your real signature.
- Draw your Signature: You can either draw your signature with your mouse. It would only look good if you are using a stylus or have an amazing hand-eye coordination. Then only you may be able to draw something that looks like your real signature, though, probably it won't be good enough.
- Use an Image: Image is another of the option you get to place the signature. For that, you will have to sign your signature on a piece of paper and use a scanner to scan on your computer. After that, you can crop the image to make sure that your signature fit right it on all the PDF documents you will fill it in the future. So, create an image file from it. And if you do this you can use that image option to insert your signature from that image file.
- Use a Webcam: While you may think that the above options would be good for you, let us tell you that this option will be more convenient and more ideal option for most people. You just have to sign your name in black in on a white paper, and Adobe Reader can use your webcam to capture the signature.