How to Sign a PDF Document with an Electronic Signature

Apr 09, 2024
12 min
how to sign a pdf document

In recent years, the adoption of electronic signatures (e-Signatures) by businesses and individuals has significantly increased. Such growth has been accelerated by the pandemic and the increasing shift towards remote work.

Using an electronic signature comes with its challenges. People often find it hard to choose the right software. They may not understand all the things electronic signatures can do, or they might feel overwhelmed by the different signing options. Whether it’s adding dates, typing in last names, scanning handwritten signatures, or checking boxes, the variety of methods can be confusing.

In this article, we’ll explore the concept of e-Signatures, outline their benefits, and provide instructions on how to add a signature to PDF using our tool, PDF Guru.

What is an electronic signature?

An electronic signature, much like its handwritten counterpart, serves to authenticate a person's identity and their consent to the document's contents. It offers an easy way to sign documents online in seconds, eliminating the need for in-person meetings, printing, or mailing.

Commonly used for non-sensitive documents like contracts and reports, electronic signatures notably simplify document management.While concerns about confidentiality might come up, rest assured we'll also cover how to handle these issues.

Different types of signatures SES, AES, QES

Types of electronic signatures

There are three types of electronic signatures, each defined by its level of security.

  • Simple electronic signature (SES)

    • basic security level
    • doesn’t require digital verification
    • best used for documents with low legal risks to simplify processes

  • Advanced electronic signature (AES)

    • medium security level
    • especially useful for confirming identity without the need for full legal guarantees
    • Certificate Authority (CA) issues certificates to authenticate AES

  • Qualified electronic signature (QES)

    • the highest security level
    • uses cryptographic cards with a digital certificate
    • generated by a qualified electronic signature creation device
    • relies on a qualified electronic signature certificate

Key benefits of e-Signatures

Embedded within digital workflows, electronic signatures are swiftly becoming commonplace in corporate environments. What makes them so special?

Cost reduction. Organizations can significantly reduce expenses associated with printing. This includes a decreased requirement for stationery items, such as paper and ink, and lower expenditures on printing hardware, such as printers and scanners.

Сonvenience. e-Signature works across various devices, encompassing both mobile and desktop platforms. This functionality enhances operational efficiency and decreases turnaround times.

Organization. e-Signature software facilitates a more streamlined process for storing, organizing, and retrieving your files.

Security. Advanced types of electronic signatures provide an added layer of security through advanced encryption and decryption processes. They also offer an unalterable audit trail that records all document modifications, making forgery and unauthorized changes highly improbable.

Embracing sustainability. We've already discussed the cost-saving benefits of going paperless, but it's crucial to highlight the environmental aspect as well. As businesses move towards greener practices, adopting an e-Signature solution can significantly contribute to your journey towards creating an eco-friendly, environmentally conscious office.

e-Signing isn’t all; our toolkit offers a wide range of features. You can make notes, add objects, or highlight text — our PDF tool makes editing easy.

Difference between electronic and digital signatures

digital signature vs electronic signature

An electronic signature represents consent or approval, encompassing various forms such as dates, names, signature images, etc. However, they lack inherent proof of identity.

Digital signatures utilize PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) technology and advanced encryption to authenticate signers' identities. This ensures the integrity and authenticity of signed documents are preserved.

Electronic signatures are legally binding under the e-Sign Act and UETA in the United States and the eIDAS Regulation in the European Union. These regulations establish criteria for consent and authentication, ensuring that electronic signatures hold the same legal weight as handwritten ones.

What industries use e-Signatures most often?

Printing documents each time you need a signature is time-consuming and costly. On the contrary, an e-Signature enables you to manage your entire workflow digitally and offers greater security than physical signatures.

What industries benefit from this tech solution the most? This list is actually long, but here are some of them:

  • Real estate: rental and security deposit agreements, private sales contracts, etc.

  • Human resources: employment contracts, data protection agreements, policy acknowledgment, etc.

  • Sales: proposals, order forms, joint ventures, etc.

  • Retail: purchase orders, invoices, supplier agreements, etc.

  • Insurers: policy documentation, account forms, SEPA mandates, etc.

Exploring different ways to create an electronic signature

types of electronic signatures

With PDF Guru's e-Signature service, you have multiple ways to create your electronic signature, whether it's drawn, typed, uploaded as an image, or a simple checkbox.

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  2. Drawing: This method replicates the traditional pen-and-paper signing experience; you can create signature with your finger, stylus, or a computer mouse.
  3. 2

  4. Typing: This method allows you to insert your name/initials /date with just a few keystrokes, whether it’s your name or just a text box that says “I agree.” With PDF Guru, you can even choose font and color.
  5. 3

  6. Uploading your image: To add a signature that looks exactly like your handwritten one, uploading an image is the best option. This method allows you to use an existing image of your signature, maintaining its authentic look on digital documents.
  7. 4

  8. Checkbox: This method can be used as an alternative for a quick acknowledgment or consent. However, it’s only appropriate if the document you need to approve already has a checkbox for you to tick in an appropriate field.

How to sign PDF files with PDF Guru's e-Signature service?

sign document in pdf guru

Wondering how to sign PDF online? It’s never been easier.

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  2. Log in to your PDF Guru account and choose the Sign PDF tool.
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  4. Upload or drag & drop your file into the designated area.
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  6. Wait for your document to load in our editor.
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  8. From here on, you need to choose whether you want to Draw Signature, Type, or upload your signature as an Image. Select the appropriate tab in the pop-up window.

    Draw Signature
    Customize your signature and get down to drawing.
    Choose a custom font and type the preferred text in the Type Here section.
    Click Select Image File and make your choice.
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  10. Next, hit Create and Use and place your signature wherever you need. You might also encounter situations where a simple checkbox can suffice, especially for quick consents or agreements. In some cases, the document is formatted in such a way that you can just click on the checkbox, and the checkmark will appear. For other cases, you can find the Check tool in our editor menu and place the tick into the checkbox.

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  12. Finally, when you’re done editing and signing your file, go to Done and choose the preferred format for downloading. If you need more tools to work efficiently with your documents, PDF Guru has many to offer. Edit, merge, compress, and convert your files in mere seconds.

How to remove a signature from PDF?

how to delete signature from pdf

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  2. Log in to your PDF Guru account and find the Sign PDF tool.
  3. 2

  4. Upload or drag & drop your document into the designated area.
  5. 3

  6. Choose Edit Object from the toolbar and hit All.
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  8. Click on your signature and Delete.
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  10. Go to Done and choose the preferred format for downloading.

Ultimately, electronic signatures transform document handling by merging cost-efficiency, security, and eco-friendliness with the convenience of digital technology. Their widespread applicability across various industries underscores their role in modernizing business operations.

Here, at PDF Guru, we're always prepared to take action, whether it's upgrading a feature or creating a new one.