With email, one of the main reasons I have to print things off is to sign them and fax or mail them back. As I transition to a paperless office I’m having to look at ways to sign documents without printing them out.
There are really two types of signatures. The first is just an image of your handwritten signature. The second is a digital addition to the file that “proves” you were the one that signed it. By now digital signatures should be common, but they aren’t. I’m not saying they aren’t used in big companies, but the average web user isn’t signing emails or anything else digitally.
Right now most of the paper that requires my signatures needs to be faxed to someone. If I want to sign papers to buy some investment property, transfer my retirement account to a different broker or open a new savings account, I’ll have to sign a piece of paper and fax it back. Using a digital signature does nothing if you are going to be sending the document over a fax machine.
So for most of my day to day use I need a way to put an image of my signature on a document. Acrobat gives you both the image and digital signature capabilities. It can be a little tricky to setup, but once you get it working you can sign documents with ease.
They way I’ve done this so far is:
- Create a image of my signature on a transparent background. (I’ll talk about how to do this later.)
- Create a self generated digital signature.
- Add the digital signature to Acrobat.
- Add an image to be used as the visual representation of the digital signature.
Once this is setup you can basically drag a box onto a document to add your signature. If you save and email the document it has your digital signature. If you fax it to someone, it has your visual signature.