What is an electronic signature and how to create yours

Ever needed to sign a legally binding document but you were on vacation? Needed to sign a contract but you were not in the state? Create an electronic signature with tools you are using already! Digitizing your signature will revolutionize your ability when it comes to giving your John Hancock.
Woman’s hands signing document with pen
Transform your handwritten signature into an electronic signature by scanning it – we’ll show you how!

by Montanna Owens

What is an electronic signature?

Using a digital signature has become all too common in our modern day-to-day life. It seems we always need to sign something for some reason, whether it is for work authorizations, doctor’s notes, or school papers. Digital and digitized signatures are often required to provide an extra layer of security.

Don’t be mistaken by these two words that seem to be the same thing because they have different functions. A digitized signature is commonly known as an electronic signature or e-signature, and it is a used to verify a document, contract, or other record. E-signatures are handwritten by someone then added to a document, and are 100% legally binding. An example of this is signing a document with signature software.

On the other hand, a digital signature is created directly by a software and algorithm as an authenticator that uses code to act as a signature for the creator of a message, document, etc. Math is used to authenticate a digital document or message. An example of this would be a unique public key signature in a secure email communication so your recipients know you weren’t hacked.

Today, we’ll show you how to create a digitized, or electronic, version of your handwritten signature.

Why would you need a digitized signature?

Many companies are shifting towards a greener workplace and are therefore cutting back on the amount of paper waste. Digitized signatures allow individuals to be identified by their signature and sign legally binding documents while avoiding excessive printing and mailing of paper. Finally got that job offer for the remote position of your dreams after applying for a job via email? You can sign electronically!  In the U.S., digitized or electronic signatures are valid in all states and are as legally binding as handwritten signatures. Apart from the overall convenience of being able to sign a document from anywhere, you also have more freedom especially if you’re a business owner or entrepreneur.

How to create a digitized signature

The process of digitizing your signature is actually easy! It only takes a few minutes, and you can keep the same signature for all your documents in the future if you would like. So, you would only have to digitize it once. On the other hand, if you’re someone who appreciates the variety in your signature for each document, creating an e-signature when you receive a new signature-worthy correspondence is not time consuming. Luckily you can create an electronic signature in the mail.com Online Office and save it to your improved mail.com Cloud.  

First, you need to get your signature from your hand to a piece of paper, then to your computer. You can do this using your phone or with a scanner or copier.

How to create your signature using a scanner 

  1. Sign your name on a blank piece of paper
  2. Scan the paper (make sure the image is clear)
  3. Save as a JPG file somewhere you can find it easily

How to create your signature using your iPhone

  1. Sign your name on a piece of paper
  2. Take a photo of the paper with your phone using the zoom function (make sure your signature is clear)
  3. Email the photo to yourself
  4. Save the image as a JPG file
Next, you digitize it!

How to digitize your signature with mail.com Online Office

  1. Sign in to your mail.com account
  2. Select ‘Online Office’ from the tool bar
  3. Click ‘New document’
  4. Click ‘Insert’ to add the image you saved previously with your signature
  5. Once the image is in the document, right click on the image and select ‘Properties’
  6. Select ‘Crop’ and use the arrows for the different directions to crop out the excess white space around your signature, click ‘OK’
  7.  Click on the image and a right-hand tool bar comes up with more options. Under ‘Image’ change the brightness to 40% and the Contrast to 100% (increase/decrease as needed depending on the clarity of your image)
  8. Right click the image, you can copy the image to paste into a document or select ‘Compress’
  9. You will be able to save the image as a JPEG file.
  10. Your image is ready to go! Save the image in a place you can access it easily for signing your documents, papers, and contracts.

How to digitize your signature with MS Word

Once you have done the first step of capturing the signature via scanner, copier, or mobile phone, you can now edit the image to make it an official e-signature. Don’t worry, it is fairly easy.
  1. Open Word
  2. Click the ‘Insert’ tab then ‘Pictures’ to find your image with your signature
  3. Once your image is in the document, click on the image; the ‘Picture Format’ tab should appear on the tool bar (older versions of word will have a tab that says ‘Format’
  4. Select ‘Crop’ in the upper right-hand corner
  5. Crop the excess white space around your signature
  6. Click on the image again, select ‘Corrections’ in the left-hand corner of the tool bar
  7. Under ‘Brightness/Contrast’ Select the correction on the very last row to the right. It is Brightness +40% and Contrast +40%
  8. Open ‘Corrections’
  9. Scroll to the bottom and select ‘Picture Corrections Options’; a vertical tool bar will appear on the right-hand side
  10. Under ‘Sharpness,’ change the percentage to 100%
  11. Save your image somewhere you can easily locate it and insert it as needed to different documents and contracts!
 Pro tip: To change the color to appear as if it was signed with a different pen color, simply select ‘Color,’ Under the ‘Recolor’ subheading, the very last row of options will change the color of your signature ink. You have the choice between seven colors!    
We hope to have completely changed the way you will sign documents in the future. You can definitely save yourself some time, especially if you have a busy schedule and just can’t make it somewhere in person. We would love to know what you thought about this article, feel free to leave your feedback below.

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