Almost every kind of bureaucratic office both in the public and private sectors are having a conversation about migrating to an all-digital office. With the potential for losing documents, having them stolen, or seeing them being forged, more consumers are learning how to sign something electronically. It saves time, money, and a whole lot of energy that is spent tracking down printers, fax machines, and scanners.
Here’s everything you need to know about electronic signatures.
Are Electronic Signatures Legal?
When you use a digital tool to sign official documents, it might not seem as official as putting your pen to the paper. Given that it’s not very common, it can seem like you’re creating something fake. However, it’s more that the world isn’t very tech-savvy yet, rather than that electronic signatures aren’t a legal way to sign documents.
Many people have been signing documents for various reasons via electronic means for more than a decade. However, some offices still think that they need a hard copy, which can make things stressful.
One of the main reasons cited for signing things electronically has to do with security. Signing sensitive documents and then sending them via email or over wi-fi can feel like putting yourself at risk. However, physical signatures aren’t really much more secure.
If you think about it, any cashier or service worker who has seen your signature could forge it and use it if they wanted to. Documents are really only as secure as the receiving company ends up making them.
Electronic signatures and digital signatures are two separate things. An electronic signature is just a digital image of a signature. However, a digital signature is a cryptographic identifier that is nearly impossible to be forged.
This discussion is about electronic signatures.
Signing Directly From Email
Some services allow you to sign documents right inside your email. There are extensions that can be added to browsers. This way you can sign a document that you get via email and then send it right back to your recipient.
After you install these tools, you have the option to sign any document that comes to you in your email in a PDF format. It’s a simple way to sign without the annoyance of printing something out, signing it manually, scanning it, and then sending it back.
By integrating these tools, you can sign things much quicker and more easily without hopping around between different formats. It’s never been easier to sign a PDF online.
Apps for Signing
There are several apps that can help you to sign documents from mobile devices and tablets. These apps take documents directly from your Dropbox or your email and allow you to sign them with your finger. Using a touchscreen, you can add a date, customize your signature, and then send it right back to your recipient.
If you’re using a secure sharing method, that’s the ideal way to send a sensitive document. Otherwise, you could be putting yourself at risk. Very secure documents should be printed out and signed manually.
You can save multiple signatures in some apps, allowing you to digitally sign documents that you and your spouse need to sign for a house or other life goals.
Some free apps give you a limited number of things you can sign per month. Otherwise, they offer premium apps that allow you to sign more. Some applications allow you to sign as many documents as you want every month.
Different Apps for Different Devices
Make sure that the app you download is up to date for the kind of device that you use. Also, as you learn how to use a certain interface, you might want an app that you can use across your desktop, laptop, and mobile devices. For Android, some prefer to use DocuSign Ink while for Mac and iOS devices, HelloSign might be preferred.
Signing from your touch screen makes everything easier. However, you might also have access to an application that allows you to sign from your current device. If you use a native application inside of your favorite device, you’ll never have to worry about how many documents you can sign.
If you have any kind of application that opens PDFs and allows you to annotate them, you have everything you need to sign documents. Apps like Preview on Mac or any version of Adobe Reader might be all that you need to start signing documents today.
If you want to sign things inside of a particular email interface like Gmail or Outlook, there are useful add-ons and extensions that can get the job done. Since most of these add ons are free or cheap, there’s no reason not to try out a few of them. There’s no telling which one is ideal for you until you make the leap.
Since electronic signatures are perfectly legal for even the most secure of documents, try moving toward this method today. It saves on the time and energy of dealing with fax machines, paying strange fees, or having to print out and physically sign any document ever again.
Learning How to Sign Something Electronically Is Easy
If you’re worried about learning how to sign something electronically, you’ll find that it’s one of the easiest ways to handle a document. Rather than jumping through all of the hoops required by physical documents, this streamlines the process.
Make sure you bookmark our page for more info on how to move your administrative needs to the cloud.