Electronic Signatures

There has been a lot of hue-and-cry from environment activists to save the environment and trees. They advocate less use of paper. Even kids today are aware that the environment is under threat and know that paper is made from trees. So reducing paper consumption is an excellent way of saving trees, besides planting more of them. However, most of the time we need to send or share signed documents. We print and put ink on pieces of paper. We forget that whenever we sign a paper we are not supporting the environment.

According to a post titled Paper Chase on Ecology Global Network by Sam Martin posted in Sep. 2011, “nearly 4 billion trees worldwide are cut down each year for paper”. Obviously, if we use paper very carefully, we could contribute to keep the environment clean. Question: What should we do when we must sign a document? The answer is simple, sign it electronically and send to the recipient. It’s safe and fast.

Electronic Signature is a wonderful tool that has been overwhelmingly welcomed across the globe. People have recognized it and accepted it. Electronically signed documents are considered valid and legal. They could even be considered as evidence in the eyes of law at times.

Though we are living in a hi-tech world where we no longer prefer to write letters, rather opt for a phone call, even if it’s a long distance, or email as means of communications. With the evolution of smartphones, developers have created apps to interact instantly. However, there are many people who do not know about electronic signatures. They don’t know how to create an electronic signature, how they could use it then. Let me tell you it’s not really that difficult.

Option 1: Insert signature image

Firstly, it will take a ‘paper’. Follow the steps below:

  1. A person would need to put the signature on a piece of paper.
  2. Then scan that signed paper and save it to your computer. Scanned file could be saved as an image (.jpg, .png) file or as a PDF document as well. An image file is strongly recommended, as it could be resized. We will need to resize signature from a PDF file as well. We will need to get an image then as well, so why not do that in the first place. It saves time.
  3. Open the scanned file in MS-Paint and select the signature. Copy the selection and Paste in a new file. Save the file for future use.
  4. We could Insert the saved “Picture” file in our MS-Word document when needed. We need to make sure that we select “Behind Text” under the “Text Wrapping” tab. This helps aligning the signature image in-line with the text.

You could save the file as a PDF to email to a recipient. The document print out will also be signed. This form of electronic signature is recommended for internal or trusted communications.

Option 2: Secured electronic signature

For sensitive and legal documents, it is advised to go for secured electronic signatures. These signatures are primarily used where documents need to be signed with date and time inputs. These signatures are good when you have documents valid for a long period of time. These signatures come along with certificate that includes date and time when a document is signed.

There are various secured electronic signature service providers like Adobe eSignatures, DocuSign, AssureSign, EchoSign, RightSignature, SIGNiX and E-LOCK. These providers help subscribers with electronic signatures which cannot be tampered and can be verified for authenticity. You may review their services and choose the one best suited for your needs. You may explore more options on the web as well. Many companies provide broader services on the same lines.

So next time you have to sign a document, please consider if you could use electronic signature instead of a pen, unless it’s really mandatory. Electronic signature is a safe and fast way to exchange signed documents. Remember that, you contribute towards creating a greener planet as well when you choose technology over ink. Let’s go for electronic signatures.

About the author: Mrunal Khatri works with Signder, a cutting-edge mobile sales documentation solution. Signder combines different features and functionalities of digital signature, electronic signature, workflow management software, mobile sales, POS system and document management solution to smoothly resolve the problem of online documentation.