How to Add a Free Online Document Signature to PDF
A document signature can be applied to any digital or printed document to acknowledge, approve, or validate the contents of the file in some way. Even an online document signature is considered valid if it is compliant with prevalent regulatory requirements. For instance, a signature on a PDF document means the signer has read it and agrees to abide by whatever is written in the document. Similarly, a legal signature on documents means the signer is legally bound by the terms outlined in that document. Digital signatures and electronic signatures are both legally binding when compliant, but they may be used for different purposes. In addition, a free online document signature solution means you don’t have to pay anything.
Digital or Electronic - Which Signature is Better?
First, let’s understand the subtle differences between digital vs electronic signatures.
The simplest way to understand the difference is that electronic signatures are sufficient for most use cases and scenarios. If you want to sign a simple agreement or an online form, an electronic signature will suffice. It is considered legally binding in most countries. However, it differs from digital signatures in that it is authenticated by different methods such as IP addresses and other identifiers unique to the user.
A digital signature is a subset of electronic signatures and is implemented using specific technical protocols like PKI or Public Key Infrastructure. It is usually linked to a digital certificate issued by a certifying authority. Another difference is that digital signatures capture an audit trail and maintain other records that secure the contents of the documents and ensure they are not tampered with. This is particularly important for larger contracts and legal agreements where any change in the document could result in the contract being biased toward one of the parties involved.
That being said, both types of virtual signatures are legally binding and will be upheld in any court of law in the world where laws are in place that deems them to be legal equivalents of physical signatures.
How to Create an e-signature using Document Cloud
Wondershare Document Cloud is a robust cloud storage platform with a built-in document signature service. It offers a free plan that gives you up to 1GB of storage and the ability to send up to 5 documents, while the premium plan increases your limit to 100GB and unlimited sends. The storage service offers enterprise-grade security for your confidential documents, and it makes it easier to send them for signing to third parties such as vendors, suppliers, and clients, as well as internal employees. The signing service is flexible, allowing you to create a document signature, send files for others to sign, and track documents. Let’s see how these processes can be executed in Wondershare Document Cloud.
1. Create a Wondershare ID and Log in to Wondershare Document Cloud.
2. To create a document signature, select Signing Setting after clicking on your avatar on the top-right of your screen.
3. In the pop-up window, create and save your online document signature using one of the three options - type, draw, or upload.
4. To sign a document or send it to others for signing, go to the Home tab and click Upload Files. Choose files from your local drive and save them on the cloud. They will be listed under the Recent Document Activity section of the Home tab. You should also be able to see them in the main Document tab.
5. To start the signing process, go to the Sign tab and click the Initiate button under one of the first two options. The Request Signatures option will send the same copy of the file to several people so they can sign it. The Bulk Send is used to get individual signatures on multiple copies of the same document.
Note: You will also see a Template section where you can create your own templates or customize available ones to create branded documents for your company.
6. When you click the Initiate button, a pop-up window will be displayed. Here, you can choose the file to be prepared for sending. You can choose from a local file or one that you’ve already uploaded to the cloud in Step 4 above.
7. On the next page, you can add signers (or import a CSV file), specify the signing order, add yourself as a signer (first or last in the queue), include a personalized message, add a company logo, and even add a security code for added protection. Click Next when you’re done with this page.
8. On the final page, choose a signer on the left and then drag the appropriate fields for them into the document to place them. Do this for each of the signers you have added to the list.
9. Finally, click the Send for Signature button to trigger the email notifications for the signers.
In the email notification will be a link that signers can click on. This will take them to the signature creation and signing page, where they can generate their own online document signature or upload an existing one, and add it to the document. You can sign the document the same way if you are one of the signers. If not, you can click the Sign button against the document name in the Recent Document Activity list and add your document signature.
How to Create a Digital Signature using PDFelement for Desktop
The PDFelement desktop software is an installable application that brings the power of PDF editing, conversion, and other features right to your PC. You can use the Mac or Windows version to edit files before generating and adding a digital signature to your documents. The steps below show you how to do this:
1. Launch PDFelement for Windows on your PC and use the Open Files icon to import a PDF file.
2. You can now edit the file by adding, removing, or modifying any content, including text, images, hyperlinks, objects, embedded media, watermarks, page numbers, headers, footers, and so on. You can also remove or add pages, merge files, split them, and annotate the content.
3. Once you are done editing, you can create a digital signature to add to the document. Click the Protect tab and select Sign Document to see a new pop-up window.
4. In the first pop-up window, click New ID, which will trigger another window. In the second window, create your digital signature by entering the required details.
5. You can now save your signature and go back to the first window, where you need to hit Refresh ID List to see the saved signature. Select it and hit Sign. Your signature will be added to the document and you can reposition it in the right spot. Use the ‘Lock File after Signing’ checkbox before you click Sign to make sure nobody can modify the contents after you have signed the file.
If you download the latest Windows version of PDFelement Pro DC, you can access Wondershare Document Cloud from within the desktop software. Three such actions are possible:
Upload the Current PDFelement File to Document Cloud
When a document is open in PDFelement, you can click the Share button to save it to Document Cloud. Choose the option Wondershare Cloud from the dropdown menu of the Share button.
Download a File from Document Cloud and Open in PDFelement
Inside PDFelement, Click File → Open and then choose ‘From Wondershare Cloud’ as your source. This will open Document Cloud in a new browser tab, where you can click the additional menu against the required file name and hit Download. The file will be downloaded to your local drive and opened in PDFelement.
Send the Current PDFelement Document for Signature
Once you have edited a document, you can click the Electronic Signature option in the toolbar of the Protect tab. This will open Document Cloud in a new browser tab and take you to the Sign tab, where you can choose the type of signature request and prepare the document for other signers as described in the first process above.
Wondershare offers flexible solutions to add a signature for documents online or offline. If you need secure cloud storage with a document signature service built into it, Document Cloud is the best option. PDFelement (older versions) can help you generate digital signatures, and the new PDFelement Pro DC gives you the best of both online and offline options to edit files, store them securely on the cloud, and send them for others to sign. Any way you prefer to work, Wondershare has you covered.
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