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Electronic Signature

Whether you are on the receiving end of electronic documents or you plan to distribute documents to employees, vendors or other relevant parties, there is a strong likelihood that you and the other parties will need to seal the deal with a signature. Thanks to electronic signature software, signing documents and securing contracts has never been easier.

What Is an Electronic Signature?

An electronic signature is precisely what it sounds like — a signature that you create electronically. E-signatures provide individuals and businesses fast and easy ways to sign documents on their computers, phones, tablets or other smart devices. Though you can use digital endorsements in many of the same ways as wet signatures, they are more than just an online John Hancock.

Electronic Signature as Defined by Law

Per the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act, an e-signature is a symbol, sound or process that is either reasonably associated with or attached to an agreement or record and adopted or executed by a person who intends to sign on the record. In other words, an e-signature is a digital action a person commits for the purposes of “signing” a contract or record. Electronic signatures can take many forms:

  • Using your finger to sign a mobile device, such as after using a credit card
  • Clicking “I agree” (or a button with similar verbiage) to consent to a website’s terms or conditions
  • Entering a PIN or typing your name into an online form

Why Use an Electronic Signature?

You may wonder why you would use an electronic signature over the real deal. There are several reasons, including efficiency, security and authenticity.

Efficient

Once upon a time, requesting a signature from someone in another location could be a multistep, multi-week process that entailed mailing out documents, waiting for the recipient to sign and mail them back, receiving the signed versions, signing them yourself and sending out signed copies. In addition to being a mouthful to explain, the whole process was time-consuming and not very efficient, nor was it secure. Electronic signature technology allows you significantly enhance the time-to-contract process. As an example, 82% of DocuSign documents are completed in less than a day, and 49% are completed in less than 15 minutes. If you want to reduce the amount of time from the drafting of a contract to its completion, e-signing is the way to go.

Secure

E-signatures offer multiple layers of protection that are simply not available with pen and ink autographs. Notable security benefits include the inclusion of proof of transactions, audit trails and digital authentication.

Preferred

E-signing is becoming increasingly popular, with the industry experiencing triple-digit year-over-year growth. In addition to the increasing popularity of remote work, consumers desire more efficient ways to get things done.

How To Create an Electronic Signature

You can easily create an electronic signature and send it on just about any device with the help of certain software. Most technology options support e-signing through common platforms such a Microsoft Word, PDF, PowerPoint and Excel.

Creating an Electronic Signature as a Signatory

If you are the recipient of a document that requires your e-signature, you typically have two options for creating one:

  • You can draw your signature using your finger on your screen or your computer’s trackpad.
  • You can type your name and select a font.

Regardless of which you choose, the end product becomes your default e-signature on your device and for certain accounts. To input it into a document, navigate to the fields that request it and click “sign,” and the default should automatically populate the field.

Creating an Electronic Signature field

If you want to send documents that require the recipient’s electronic signature, create the documents in your preferred processor. Then, upload the documents with a reputable e-signing software provider. Input relevant fields such as name, title, date and signature, and click send. The recipient should receive an email that provides a link to the documents. After clicking on the link, he or she should be able to view the documents on a preferred device and sign from virtually anywhere at any time.

How To Insert Electronic Signature in PDF

One of the most common types of documents that businesses and individuals use for contracts and other matters is the PDF. Creating an e-signature and signing an electronic document via PDF is relatively easy, assuming you already have a PDF reader installed on your device. The most popular PDF reader is Adobe Acrobat Reader. To sign the document through your document reader, do the following:

  • Open your document reader.
  • Go to “Tools” and click “Fill and Sign.”
  • Click “Sign,” and then select “Add Signature.”

Once you click “Add Signature,” your device should give you three options:

  • Type: If you choose this option, type your name and select the font in which you would like it to appear.
  • Draw: If you choose “Draw,” use your finger (if your device is a touch screen), your trackpad (if using a laptop) or your mouse to draw your signature in the allotted field.
  • Image: If you select “Image,” sign your name on a sheet of white paper, take a picture of it and upload the picture to your device. Then use that image file to create your signature.

Once you create a signature with which you are happy, your device and PDF reader should save it for future use. In this case, once you click “Add Signature,” the processor should automatically input your saved signature. Drag it to the desired location if the processor does not place it automatically, resize it and click “Apply.” How you can e-sign in a PDF depends on the type of device you own, the year it was made and the processor you use, so these steps may be slightly different with your computer setup.

Digital Signature vs Electronic Signature

Before you head off to start creating documents for e-signing and putting your own John Hancock on digital contracts, it’s important to understand the differences between digital and electronic signatures. Though the terms are often used interchangeably, they differ in one distinct way, and that is their legal validity. The term “electronic signature” has a universal meaning in technology-related laws around the globe. The term “digital signature,” and its close cousin “online signature,” do not have legal definitions and, therefore, are rarely admissible in courts.

Go Electronic Today

E-signing is becoming the preferred way for individuals and businesses to conduct transactions that require the signing of documents. For an efficient platform that streamlines your workflow while offering a convenient and secure option for collecting and recording electronic signatures, check out Fluix’s business solutions.

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