Every business owner, freelancer, office worker, parent, and almost everyone else has to sign legal documents at some point of time in their lives. Typically you receive papers which you need to sign in ink and send them back either by post or in person. This, being the digital age, you often receive these documents as email attachments. The sender expects you to have the documents printed, signed, scanned and emailed or faxed back to the person. The ability to receive and send documents through email is convenient, but having to print or scan them is not. Not only does it require access to these stupid devices, it prevents you from getting them signed when on the road.
The solution is digital signature. Here are two free services that lets you sign documents electronically while on the move.
SignNow is the easiest document signing service. Users simply visit the website through a browser either on their laptop or mobile device, select the document they want e-signed from their computer and use their mouse or smartphone touchscreen to sign the document with a digitized signature. As an alternative to signing with a mouse (which is difficult) or finger or stylus, users can also type in their signature in a handwriting font, or upload a previously scanned copy of their signature. The signature can be resized and dragged and placed anywhere on the document. The document can be a Word, PDF or image file – it doesn’t matter if it cannot be edited, as the signature is placed over the document as an overlay.
Once the document is signed it can be downloaded straight back to the computer. The document is deleted from SignNow’s system within 30 minutes of signature completion. Logged in users can save the document in their SignNow account for later use.
To verify each signature, SignNow uses certificates signed and encrypted using 256-bit AES that are attached to each unique usage of SignNow. Also attached is the unique IP address of the signer. The certificates are electronically issued by Symantec and are authorized by VeriSign. Signing with SignNow is as legally binding as a physical signature and such digital signatures are honored in the US, EU, China, India, Canada and most developed countries.
DocuSign is another e-signing portal whose service is freely accessible for personal use. DocuSign is particularly useful when you are the one who is collecting signatures from several people rather than the one who is signing the document. You upload documents from your local hard drive or from online storage services such as Box, DropBox, Google Docs and Salesforce. DocuSign supports all main file formats including Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Adobe Acrobat PDF and many others.
Next you add recipients, either from your address book or just by typing in the information. The document is not sent to the recipient as attachments. Instead, it stays secure in DocuSign and the signers are only sent a link to the document. The signers do not need a DocuSign account to sign.
You can have the “envelope” sent out to all addressees at once or have it sent sequentially. Once the first recipient has signed it, DocuSign sends it along to the next person with the first recipient’s signature. You can also add individual notes for each recipient, and configure reminder and expiration settings for the envelope. For an extra fee, you can use DocuSign’s phone authentication system, which telephones the recipient’s number and supplies a validation code.
It’s possible to integrate DocuSign with Outlook, and dedicated apps for iPhone and Android devices exist that makes the process easier to accomplish.
Your online signature doesn’t have to be identical to your handwritten signature. When using DocuSign or SignNow, you may use copies of your handwritten signature or write on touchscreen. What it looks like does not matter, what matters is your step to create a signature which the application captures.
Visit both SignNow and DocuSign to see which which options work for you.