Digitally signing a PDF online is not as complicated as it sounds, especially as there is a myriad of different online tools to help you. Most formal, legal documents require a signature of some kind to authenticate them. Digital signatures arose from the fact that the signee may not always be able to physically sign the document themselves due to distance or some other reason. The ability to electronically sign a PDF also arose from the fact that the document format has become the universal standard for any type of documentation including those types of documents that require a signature like government forms or official contracts.
What Is An Electronic Signature?
An electronic signature fills the purposes of typical handwritten signatures but in electronic form. The “signature” is digitized and composed of data that is attached to another data set to verify, authenticate or approve the contents of that document. An electronic signature is often common in the signing of legal and official documents when the signee is unable to be physically present to sign the hard copy of the document.
They are also useful in instances where a document needs to be signed right away for a time-sensitive issue. Rather than waiting for the signator to receive the document, even in electronic form or in a form like fax, users can receive an electronic PDF document and then add their signature digitally, provided they have the private key to authorize an electronic signature.
Why Should You Use an Electronic Signature?
Electronic signatures are a convenient way to affirm contracts or other legal documents that require a signature to become certified. These purposes can range from a sales or employment or business contract to needing a signature for things like legal papers and medical authorization forms.
Using an electronic signature depends on if the document is time-sensitive and requires an immediate signature. It can also be necessary when the signatory is unable to physically sign the paper version of the document. When that document is in electronic form, they can easily add their signature using a variety of tools from the proprietary Adobe software to other web-based applications.
Digital signatures are recognized legally around the world. Each country has its laws regarding the validity and the standards that electronic signatures must meet to be officially recognized as legal.
Every document software has its process for users to add signatures to documents. There are also, however, specific applications and software that let users attach a signature to any type of document, even those documents that are not in PDF format. Document readers also let users attach a digital signature.
When the document is open on their phone, tablet, or other device, users can click on Tools with the document open, and then select the Add Signature button. It depends on which document reader you are using, but a majority of them have this feature installed especially on smartphones running either Android or iOS.
How Do You Electronically Sign a PDF Document?
Electronically signing a PDF requires only a few steps in a majority of PDF editing or creating software. For those users who work with PDFs every day and require more professional software and a full suite of options, the Adobe software family is probably the best way to attach an electronic signature to a variety of different document types.
For more casual users, there are many online as well as downloadable programs to help users affix a digital signature to a document. However, as adding a digital signature to a PDF is often considered a premium feature, users may have to either register or subscribe to these platforms to have the ability to use a digital signature.
Depending on the tool you are using, attaching a digital signature can be done in as little to four or five steps. It typically requires:
- Uploading and then opening the document to be signed
- Convert the file into a fillable form (if it is not yet fillable)
- Add or fill in the fillable forms or relevant fields
- Add your signature (some platforms give you the option to Draw, Type, or add an image of your signature, but it depends on the program)
- Save and download the signed document
These are general steps and they can vary depending on what tool you are using. Lumin PDF, for example, allows users the three options of how to add a signature. Users can open their document in Lumin and either draw, type (in any font), or upload a saved signature from previous documents.