Electronic signatures have been very helpful over the past years. In fact, in 2020 the electronic signature market reached $2.8 billion — and it is projected to grow $14.1 billion by 2026.

Electronic signatures speed up business processes and reduce the costs involved. This is especially useful for businesses that operate on a small scale and need to process a large volume of documents. Using electronic signatures helps them save money because the overhead costs associated with manual processes are reduced. It also saves time because the processing of various forms can be accomplished within a short period of time.

Below is a simple guide on how to create your electronic signatures and use them.

What Is an Electronic Signature?

An electronic signature is a digital way of signing documents or agreements online, replacing the need for a physical signature.

How Do Electronic Signatures Work?

A digital signature serves as a contemporary replacement for traditional paper-and-pen signatures. It employs complex mathematical methods to verify the genuineness and unaltered state of digital messages and documents. Digital signatures ensure that the content remains unchanged during transmission, addressing issues of impersonation and tampering in digital communication. 

How to Create a Digital Signature

Here are several effective options for how to create an electronic signature.

Option One: Use an Electronic Signature Solution

There are lots of electronic signature solutions out there that allow you to electronically sign documents. They include Papersign Jotform Sign, PandaDoc, AdobeSign, Signaturely and many more. Most of them allow you to sign all types of documents without costing you much.

Using an electronic signature solution also reduces the risk of human error when signing documents. Human errors can slow down the process, which might have a significant financial impact. With electronic signatures, almost all your documents will be processed faster, the risk of making a mistake being much lower.


  • Efficient: electronic signatures streamline the signing process, save time, and reduce the need for physical paperwork.
  • Accessible: electronic signatures can be executed from anywhere with an internet connection, making them convenient for remote and global transactions.
  • Free: most e-signature apps are free to use and eliminate the cost associated with printing, mailing, and storing physical documents.
  • Eco-friendly: e-signatures reduce the consumption of paper and the carbon footprint associated with physical document handling.


  • Slight learning curve: it may take you some time to learn how to use the new software to make the e-signature you want. 
  • Security concerns: electronic signatures can be vulnerable to hacking or unauthorized access if not properly secured.
  • Legal requirements: regulations regarding electronic signatures vary by country and industry, which can lead to compliance challenges.

Option Two: Create an Electronic Signature the Old-fashioned Way

The traditional method of creating an electronic signature involves using a pen, paper, and a smartphone.

  • First, sign your name on a piece of paper.
  • Get a photo of it using your phone.
  • Then, crop it using a photo editor app so that you can get a clean image of your signature. 

A lot of people use this method of creating electronic signatures, as they are readily accepted when inserted into a document.


  • Familiarity: Many people are already comfortable with the traditional pen-and-paper signature method.
  • Low tech: This method doesn’t require specialized software or internet access, making it accessible in various situations.
  • Universal: signatures created in this manner can be used across different platforms and documents without compatibility issues.
  • Physical copy: you have a physical copy of your signature on paper, which can be handy for in-person transactions or records.
  • Privacy: there may be fewer concerns about the security of electronic data when using pen and paper.


  • Inconvenience: this method can be less convenient, especially for remote or online transactions, as it involves scanning or photographing the signature.
  • Inefficiency: much slower compared to digital alternatives, as it involves physical handling of documents.

Option Three: Create an Electronic Signature Using Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word is the most popular word-processing software used to create documents. Since it is so popular, many people choose Word to create signatures as using them greatly expedites document processing.

Here’s how you can create an electronic signature using Word:

  • Place your cursor on the part of the Word document where you want your electronic signature to appear.
  • Next, add your signature line. To do so, find ‘Text’ on the Insert tab and click Signature Line.
  • Fill in all the necessary fields in the signature setup box and click OK.
  • The next thing to do is to insert your electronic signature into the document. To do this, right-click on the signature box and then click Select Image. This will allow you to choose and upload the image of your signature.


  • Widespread software: Microsoft Word is widely available and commonly used, making it accessible to many users.
  • Familiar interface: users are often familiar with Microsoft Word’s interface, which can make creating electronic signatures relatively easy.
  • No extra software needed: you don’t need to install additional software or apps; Microsoft Word typically comes pre-installed on many computers.


  • Limited security: Microsoft Word may lack some of the advanced security features found in dedicated electronic signature platforms.
  • Authentication challenges: ensuring the authenticity of the signature may be more challenging compared to dedicated electronic signature solutions.

Option Four: Use a Touchscreen Device

If you have a touchscreen device like a tablet or smartphone, you can use your finger or a stylus to draw your signature directly onto the document.


  • Accurate: touchscreen devices offer precise control over your signature, allowing you to create a clean, accurate, and professional-looking digital signature.
  • Customizable: you have the flexibility to customize your signature style, making it look exactly like your handwritten signature or exploring creative variations.
  • Usable on the go: tablets and smartphones are portable and readily available, allowing you to sign documents electronically on the go without the need for additional equipment.


  • Expensive with a stylus: while using a stylus can enhance precision, not all touchscreen devices come with one, and purchasing a high-quality stylus separately may be an added expense.

Also Read: How to Resolve XP Pen Not Working With a Computer?

  • Vulnerability: while touchscreen devices offer convenience, the security of your digital signature may be compromised if the device is lost or stolen. It’s important to secure your device with a passcode or biometric authentication.

Option Five: Scan a Signature

Sign a physical document with a pen, scan it into your computer, and save it as an image. You can then insert this scanned image of your signature into electronic documents.


  • Universal: scanning a handwritten signature provides an authentic and personal touch to digital documents, making them suitable for legal agreements, contracts, and other formal paperwork.
  • Simple: the process is relatively simple and does not require specialized software or equipment beyond a scanner, making it accessible to most users.
  • Customizable: handwritten signatures can be customized to match your unique style, adding a personal and professional flair to your documents.


  • Equipment needed: you need access to a scanner, which may not always be readily available, particularly when you are away from your office or home.
  • Time-consuming: the process involves multiple steps, including scanning, saving, and inserting the signature into documents, which can be more time-consuming than other methods.

Option Six (Mac): Use Preview

If you happen to be using a Mac, Preview offers a straightforward and user-friendly method for adding your signature to PDF documents.

To get started, you’ll need a digital version of your signature in PNG format, which you can easily create using either your trackpad or your Mac’s built-in camera.

create an electronic signature in Preview

Once you’ve done this, you can effortlessly import your signature into the Preview app, enabling you to quickly and conveniently use it while making edits and adjustments to your documents.

It’s worth noting that this signature is associated with the app itself, allowing you to use it across various documents and PDFs. However, it’s essential to understand that this method doesn’t provide the same level of security as a robust, secure digital signature.”

Certainly, here’s a bulleted list of the pros and cons for using Preview on a Mac to sign PDF documents:


  • Built-In software: Preview is pre-installed on Mac computers, so there’s no need to download or purchase additional software.
  • User-friendly: Preview offers an intuitive and user-friendly interface, making it easy for most Mac users to navigate.
  • Quick: you can swiftly create and import your signature using the trackpad or built-in camera, saving time.
  • Free: It’s a cost-effective option since it comes with your Mac at no extra charge.


  • Basic: Preview lacks advanced features and security measures found in dedicated electronic signature software.
  • Limited authentication: It may not provide robust authentication methods compared to specialized solutions.
  • Security risks: Preview may not be as secure as dedicated e-signature platforms, potentially posing risks in sensitive transactions.
  • Legal recognition: the legality and acceptance of signatures created in Preview may vary by jurisdiction and document type.

Best Practices for Electronic Signatures

Best practices for electronic signatures are crucial to ensure the legality, security, and reliability of digitally signed documents. Here are some key guidelines to follow:

Also Read: TOP-10 Cyber Security Threats: All You Need to Know

Implement strong user authentication methods to ensure that signers are who they claim to be. This can include multi-factor authentication, email verification, or SMS verification.

  • Ensure the integrity of the signature by encrypting it and binding it to the document using cryptographic techniques. This prevents tampering or alteration of the signed document.
  • Maintain a detailed audit trail for each signed document. The audit trail should record all actions related to the document, including who signed it, when, and any changes made.
  • Implement regular backups and disaster recovery plans to safeguard electronically signed documents against data loss or system failures.

By following these best practices, you can maximize the benefits of electronic signatures while maintaining legal compliance, security, and trustworthiness in your document signing processes.


Mastering the art of creating electronic signatures is a valuable skill in our digital age. Whether for personal or business use, electronic signatures offer efficiency, security, and convenience. By following the pro tips outlined in this guide, you can ensure that your digital signatures are not only legally valid but also reliable and professionally executed, simplifying your document signing processes and enhancing your digital workflows.


Electronic signatures are considered legally binding when they meet certain criteria, including:

  • Intent: The signer must intend to sign the document electronically.
  • Consent: The signer must agree to sign electronically.
  • Identity Verification: The process should verify the signer’s identity.
  • Tamper Evident: The signature should be tamper-evident, ensuring the document’s integrity.
  • Record Keeping: A secure audit trail should be maintained.

Laws and regulations regarding electronic signatures vary by country, so it’s important to ensure compliance with local laws.

How to Save an Electronic Signature?

Electronic signatures can be saved in various ways, depending on the platform or software used. Common methods include:

  • Saving a digital image of your signature.
  • Storing a signature template for future use in electronic signature software.
  • Saving signed documents as PDFs or other file formats with the embedded signature.

How to Use an Electronic Signature?

To use an electronic signature, follow these general steps:

  • Choose an electronic signature solution or software.
  • Create your digital signature or upload an image.
  • Open the document you want to sign within the software.
  • Place your signature in the appropriate location.
  • Save or send the digitally signed document to the intended recipient(s).

How Safe Is an Electronic Signature?

Electronic signatures are generally safe and secure when used properly. They offer several security features, including encryption, authentication, and audit trails, which make them reliable for most business and personal transactions.

To enhance security, choose reputable electronic signature solutions, use strong authentication methods, and adhere to best practices for document protection and retention.
However, as with any technology, security is only as strong as its implementation, so it’s essential to follow best practices and stay informed about security updates.

Always consider the specific laws and regulations in your region when dealing with electronic signatures, as they can vary, and consult with legal experts if needed for compliance and legality concerns.