How to Digitally Sign a Form

By Chris Miksen

Since it's impossible to include your handwritten signature for electronic documents, you'll have to provide a digital signature instead. You can use a digital signature on PDF forms and Microsoft Office documents to verify your signature and provide authenticity. Digital signatures are often difficult to replicate, due to the automatic time stamps that are added to the signature, and you can elect to lock the document after you sign it.

Signing Microsoft Office Forms

Step 1

Open the Microsoft Office document that you wish to digitally sign. Click the place on the document where you wish to sign and click "Insert." Click "Signature line" and "OK." The "Signature line" dialog box will appear. Enter your name, organization and email address in the provided spaces. Click "OK."

Step 2

Double-click the signature line. Click "Create your own digital ID" if you do not own a digital certificate, which will automatically be detected if you do. Upon creating your own digital ID, you must enter your personal information, such as name, email address organization and location. Click "Create."

Step 3

A "Sign" dialog box will open.

Step 4

Type your name in the text box next to the "X" if you wish to sign your name by entering it with your keyboard. Click "Select Image" if you have a handwritten image of your signature and wish to insert it on the signature line instead.

Step 5

Click "Sign."

Digitally Signing a PDF Form

Step 1

Click "Advanced," "Sign and certify" and select "Sign document" if you're using Adobe Acrobat. If you're using Adobe Reader, click "Document," "Sign" and select "Sign Document." If your form already has a signature field, then you can simply click the signature field and skip to Step 3.

Step 2

Draw a signature field for your signature. Click the left mouse button and drag your mouse where you wish to create the signature field.

Step 3

Select "New ID" when the "Sign as" box appears. Select "Self-signed certificate" and enter the required information, such as your name, location and company. You can also select a security certificate if you have one installed on your computer.

Step 4

Select "Lock Document After Signing" if you wish to lock the document so that no additional signatures are allowed and no changes can be made to the form. You cannot lock the document if there are signature lines left unsigned.

Step 5

Click "Sign" and enter a desired name under which to save the file.

Tips & Warnings

  • Security certificates verify your information and are more secure than self-signed certificates, but you must buy them from a digital security certificate vendor.
  • You can select to create an appearance when you create your new digital ID for a PDF form. The step is optional, but you can select to import an image of yourself or your handwritten signature as the appearance, or add additional information to your signature, such as your email and company. You can also elect to add a reason to your signature, which requires you to fill in the reason for your signature each time you sign a form.