What is an Electronic Signature and How to Create One?
These days electronic signatures are used everywhere: from offer letters and sales contracts to remote work or rental agreements. Read on to discover how you could benefit from using e-signatures and provide more convenience for your employees and customers.
What’s an e-signature?
An electronic signature or e-signature is simply what it sounds: a type of signing a document which is done electronically.
In other words, you could use your computer to sign something either through using some special signature tool or just putting your signature on a document.
Financial documents, liability waivers, lease/rental agreements, permission slips, sales contracts, and offer letters are among the documents which could be signed electronically using e-signatures. And most countries across the world accept this type of signing for personal and business transactions enforceable legally.
Any process which involves handwritten signature could be benefiting from electronic signature as a way to give approval or consent on online forms or documents.
Electronic signature benefits
As it could be seen easily, just by replacing old method of signing documents which is sometimes time-consuming or difficult, electronic signatures could offer lots of convenience for personal and professional purposes.
Moreover, other advantages include:
- Cost-saving: usually big savings could be done just by eliminating the need to use postage, ink, paper, scanner, etc. as a result of using e-signatures.
- Efficiency: when documents and forms are e-signed by recipients, many processes and transactions could be done much faster.
- Legal: almost anywhere in the world, recognize electronic signatures and so, these are enforceable and legally valid.
In fact, many users who happen to need to sign documents are already using various systems and tools. Many times, a good e-signature platform could connect to these tools and as a result accelerate the process of signing documents and reaching agreements over the web.
Please note that there are some requirements which are necessary so that you could have a valid electronic signature:
- Consent: That’s something which should be given through a method (such as a checkbox in the document, etc.) when a document is signed electronically by a person.
- Intent: it means that the user is able to turn down or accept the signing process when given the option, much like the consent.
- Signature attribution: there should be a way such as secure login, IP address data, etc. so that it could be possible to attribute the signature to actual person who is electronically signing.
- Document association: a clear connection should exist between the document and the signature. That’s especially true for cases which should be legally binding.
- Record storing: the receiver could somehow store the signature so that later, when it’s needed it could be produced.
How to create and use an online signature?
There are many different tools and software online available which allow you to make an e-signature to be used on various documents.
In general, when you use and online signature maker, you’ll notice that you could either type or draw signature. Many people might prefer one of these types or could perform both.
When choosing to type your e-signature, it’s good to know that the colors, style, etc. could be customized and you could explore handwriting fonts to choose from for your electronic signature.
On the other hand, in order to draw your signature, you could use a mobile device or tablet, phone, mouse or touchpad to create an e-signature which could be downloadable and usable for different form signing situations. Plus, different options such as color and smoothing could be customized as well.
When you’re done with creating your signature with these online tools you could download your online signature image which could later be used as an embedded image wherever allowed in order to sign the PDF or other document.
For those concerning about privacy issues, you could be sure the server of the tool mentioned earlier doesn’t keep the signature image or data of their users. In fact, it’s the user who could only access the signature data on their browser when creating and downloading their e-signatures.
For inspiration purposes, here are some of the signatures by famous people which could be helpful when creating an electronic signature online:
Digital signature vs. electronic signature
Electronic signatures cover a wide range of signature types which could be done online. One of these types is digital signature which implements a higher level of security using public and private encryption keys.
In situations which documents and messages’ authenticity needs to be verified, digital signatures are really helpful, providing security values by encrypted information.