What is Electronic Document Signing?
Nowadays electronic document signing is becoming increasingly more popular with small businesses that need to be nimble and efficient in order to survive. The days of couriering a document or sending a sales executive to a client to close a deal are almost gone. Today, smart businesses use electronic document signing as an efficient way to handle their signing workflows, whether it’s for sales contracts, formal business agreements, or internal notices that need to be accepted and acknowledged by employees.
What is the Difference between Digital and Electronic Signatures?
Electronic document signing is used across a wide range of industries and by businesses of all sizes. From enterprise companies spanning several continents to one-woman entrepreneurship, nearly everyone is already on-board the virtual signature bandwagon. The documents we mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg because you can use an electronic signing app for a variety of other document types such as online form submissions, tax filing, proposal submissions, regulatory compliance documents, purchase orders, invoices, etc.
An electronic signature is different from a digital signature in the way it is authenticated. Both are legally valid in a court of law, but digital signatures go deeper into the security aspect and record an audit trail to not only verify the authenticity of the signer but also the source of the document and its contents. An electronic signature is a simpler way to authenticate the user alone, which is sufficient in most business scenarios.
The Best Electronic Document Signing App on the Cloud
Wondershare Document Cloud is a cloud storage solution with a twist. Not only does it give users a secure cloud environment to store their official PDF workflows but it also has a comprehensive electronic signing app integrated into the platform. You can access it on any modern browser on an Internet-connected device, which means it gives you true mobility. The free option gives you a reasonable amount of storage space and the ability to send up to 5 documents a month for others to sign. Upgrade to the Premium plan and you get bumped to 100GB of storage and unlimited document sending. Let’s see how it works.
1. Create a login on the Wondershare Document Cloud website and sign in to your account.
2. To create your first electronic signature, click Signing Setting under the avatar dropdown menu.
3. In the pop-up window, you can draw, type, or upload an existing signature and save it to the cloud for future use.
4. Next, you can upload a document and prepare it for sending. First, click Upload Files and add the file to Document Cloud from your local hard drive. You will see it displayed in the Recent Document Activity section in the main Home tab or at the top of the Document tab.
5. Click the Sign tab. You will see three options. The first two are signature options and will have Initiate buttons below them. The first type, Request Signatures, can be used to collect several signatures on a single copy of a document. This is useful for documents that need to be signed, countersigned, and witnessed because all the signatures are captured on the same file. The second type, Bulk Send, is for collecting one signature from each person on their own individual copy of a file, which can be used for forms, company notice acknowledgments, and so on. The third option is Template, where you can either use existing templates for your purpose or create them from scratch and save them for future use.
6. Assuming you’ve clicked on one of the Initiate buttons, you will be asked to choose the document to be prepared and sent for signing. In the pop-up pane, you can choose the file you just uploaded to the cloud or choose a different one from your computer’s hard drive or an external USB drive.
7. On the next page, you will need to add the signers’ email IDs (or import a CSV file), specify an order for signing (optionally, include yourself first or last), add a custom subject line and message, upload your company logo, etc. You can also set a security code as an added layer of protection for your document. The signers will need to enter that code before they can see and sign the file. Hit Next when you’re ready to proceed.
8. On the final page, select each signer on the left panel and then drag the appropriate fields into the document for each one. Do this for all signers so they see them as placeholders where they can click and sign or enter the required information. Finally, click the ‘Send for Signature’ button at the bottom.
9. Each signer (including you if you added yourself to the signing queue) will receive an email notification with a secure link. Clicking that link will take them to a browser window where they can see the document, generate their own electronic signature, fill in all the required fields, and click the Submit Signature button to send it back to you. You can sign the document the same way but, as the sender, you can also click the Sign button in the document view inside Wondershare Document Cloud. You can then add your saved signature to the document.
The tracking process is executed at the backend of the application, and you can view the results on the dashboard in real-time.
How to Create a Digital Signature with the PDFelement Desktop App for Windows
PDFelement is a professional PDF editor created by Wondershare and offers best-in-class features for creating PDFs, editing them, converting them to other formats, filling and managing forms, annotations, file organizing, size optimization, file encryption, optical character recognition (OCR), batch processes, and other advanced features. As a PDFelement user, you can create and add digital signatures to documents using the process shown below:
1. Open a document in PDFelement and make the necessary modifications, corrections, and additions to the file. You can do this for any content element including images, text, attachments, header and footer text, page numbers, watermarks, etc. In addition, you can add pages or remove them, reorder them, merge or split files, and do everything you need to create your final output file.
2. After you finish editing the file, you can do electronic document signing by generating a digital signature and adding it to the document. For this, click the Sign Document button under the Protect tab at the top.
3. When you see the first pop-up window, click the option called New ID. This will cause another window to pop-up on top of that where you can create a digital signature by filling in the details. Once you have generated and saved your digital signature, close the second window and select your new digital ID from the dropdown field at the top. You can click the Refresh ID List option if you don’t see it right away. Select it and then click the Sign button at the bottom.
4. Once you see your digital signature on the PDF file, use your mouse to move it into position and then click elsewhere on the document to lock it in place.
You have now successfully edited a PDF file and signed it using a newly created digital signature. You can use this signature for all future electronic document signing via the PDFelement interface.
The above process is used on older versions of PDFelement. In the latest cloud-enabled version, called PDFelement Pro DC, Wondershare Document Cloud functionality has been integrated into the PDFelement interface, giving users a powerful way to work offline while leveraging the power of Document Cloud. Three specific actions can be performed within PDFelement:
Uploading the Current File to Document Cloud
To do this, just click the Share button at the top when you have the relevant file open in PDFelement. Choosing the Wondershare Cloud option will trigger your browser to open a new tab and automatically sign you in to your Wondershare Document Cloud, where the current file will be uploaded and saved.
Downloading a file from Document Cloud and Opening it in PDFelement
To retrieve a file saved on the cloud, simply use the File → Open option and select From Document Cloud. Again, this will trigger your browser and open Document Cloud, where you can click the three horizontal dots against the required document and click Download. The file will automatically open in PDFelement as an editable PDF document.
Sending the Current Document for Electronic Document Signing
After editing a particular document, you can send it for signing directly by clicking the Electronic Signature button under the Protect tab. This will trigger the document to be uploaded and the signing process to be initiated. Simply follow the steps described in the first process shown in this article.
How Does the Tools Benefit Your Business?
The benefits of using a document signing app for the signing of documents of an official nature are many. Not only does it make your business more efficient and responsive, but it will reduce your ‘time to revenue’ on major projects. You can get paid faster by clients, have vendor invoices paid on time, get proposals submitted and acknowledged quickly, and greatly enhance your productivity in every department.
In addition, using Wondershare Document Cloud will allow your employees to securely access important files from the office, their home, on the field, or even when traveling on business. This way is far more secure than having them carry business-critical PDFs on their laptops, which may be stolen or hacked into.
The combination of Wondershare Document Cloud and PDFelement Pro DC will ensure that they never have to face that sort of situation when out on company business. And, finally, Wondershare offers attractive pricing on all its products. If you compare them with the top products in each industry, you’ll see that you’re actually getting far more value for your money than with any other equivalent product.
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