Today, many documents are exchanged in digital format – even official ones. You may need to have some documents signed before sending them on their way. The good news is that the popular text editor, Microsoft Word, offers options to add a signature. Learn how to use it to sign your documents digitally.
You can also convert a PDF to Word and make it editable before signing.
How to Add a Handwritten Signature in Word
It’s easy to add your handwritten signature to Word to make the document look more professional. You don’t even need an image of your signature beforehand, as you can create it on the spot.
Note: you can’t add a signature from the mobile Word app – only from your PC.
- Open the document in question and click where you want to add the signature.
- Select “Insert” from the ribbon at the top, then “Pictures.”
- Click “This device” or “Online Pictures.” Use the latter option to import from OneDrive or another online location, such as your website.
Tip: if OneDrive is experiencing syncing issues, learn how to troubleshoot it.
- If you don’t have the signature image at hand and use Word Office 2019 (or later), you can use the Draw tab (next to Insert) to draw the signature in Word. Alternatively, you can open Paint (so that you don’t have to install another program on your PC) to draw your signature.
- Select the kind of pen at the top that you want to write with, the color you wish to write in, and the thickness of the line.
- Click on “Drawing Canvas” to insert a box where you can write your signature, then use your mouse to write it by hand.
- It’s possible to resize the signature as a whole or enlarge or shrink certain parts of your signature.
- Open Word in your web browser.
- Select “Insert -> Picture” from the ribbon.
- Find a picture showing your signature, if you have one at hand.
- If not, click “Insert -> Drawing.”
- In the overlay that appears, switch to the “Draw” tab and select the type of pen you’d like to write with. Alternatively, select “Draw with touch” (the last icon in the menu bar) and draw your signature.
- Press “Save and Close” to insert the drawing into your document.
Working on a document after sundown? Turn Word dark mode on to give your eyes a break.
How to Save a Signature With Text for Later Use
If you wish to add a few more details to your signature, such as your email, address, or title, you can save the entire block of information for later use with the steps below.
- Type the information that you need underneath the image containing your signature.
- Select the text and image, then “Insert -> Quick Parts.”
- Select “Save selection to Quick Part Gallery” from the options that appear.
- Name your selection in the pop-up that appears and hit “OK.”
- Go back to “Quick Parts” to find your signature and additional information waiting for you. Click on the block to insert it anywhere in the document.
How to Add a Signature Line in Word
Another Word option will add a signature line to your document so that you can print the document and sign it (or get it signed) or digitally sign it using the options in Word.
- Open your document and click where you want the line to appear.
- Click on “Insert -> Signature Line.”
- In the pop-up window that appears, input additional details, such as “Suggested signer” and “Suggested signer’s title.”
- The signature line should appear in the spot indicated.
Tip: make your documents more interactive by adding videos in Word.
Obtain a Digital Certificate
You’ll need to create a digital certificate to add a digital signature to your document. Fortunately, Word has a tool for that.
- Navigate to the program’s installation folder and access the “root” subfolder. In our case, it’s “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\root\Office16.”
- Scroll down double-click the “Selfcert.exe” file to launch it.
- Name your certificate in the pop-up window that appears.
- Go back to your Word document and double-click the “X” in the signature line.
- A new pop-up window will appear.
- Type in the name of the signer. Alternatively, click on “Select image” and find the visual in question. You can either use an image or sign your document by typing in the signer’s name.
- Add additional info about the signer from the same pop-up, such as an address, ZIP code, and city of origin, by clicking on “Details.”
Once the digital signature has been added to the document, the receiver can’t edit the document, as the signature will be removed.
Another aspect that should be highlighted here is that the people you send the document to can’t verify the authenticity of your digital signature; their only option is to trust your self-signed certificate. Therefore, if the document you want to send is official in nature, you may have to purchase a digital certificate from a third-party certificate authority.
How to Export a Signed Document
Exporting a document that you’ve signed using a written signature or a signature line as a PDF is pretty simple.
- Open Word and select “File” from the ribbon.
- Select “Export” from the menu on the left.
- Select “Create PDF/XPS Document.”
- Give the document a name and select where you want to save it.
- If you’ve added the written signature from Word for the Web, you’ll need to go to “File -> Print” to export it to .pdf.
Ready for another Word tip? Learn how to insert the degree symbol in Microsoft Word.
Bonus: Add a Signature to Word With an Add-In
You can also opt for an add-in (similar to extensions in browsers) to add a handwritten signature.
- Go to “Insert -> Get Add-ins.”
- A new pop-up will appear. Use it to search for “Impression Add-in,” then press the “Add” button to bring the Impression Signatures add-in to Word.
- A new “Impression” option will appear in the ribbon. Tap it and select “Sign my documents” in the upper-left corner.
- A new window will show up on the right. Opt for the “Free Trial” option, sign in with an account, then proceed to “Sign your document” in a separate window.
- Once you’ve created and added the signature to the document, you’ll be able to save it to your PC.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is my handwritten electronic signature the same as a digital signature?
No. Unlike a handwritten signature – even one that’s inserted digitally – a digital (or invisible) signature will not add marks or text within the document and will only add metadata to the document file to protect the integrity of the document. The signature is used to ensure the document’s authenticity without altering its content. You can add an invisible signature in Word by going to “File -> Info -> Protect Document -> Add a Digital Signature.”
The background of my signature image is visible against the document background. How can I fix this?
You should remove the background of your signature to make the signature completely blend into the background of your Word document, assuming it has been set to white, which it should be by default. To remove an image background quickly and painlessly, use remove.bg. You can also use Photoshop to remove an image background.
Image credit: Unsplash. All screenshots by Alexandra Arici.
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