How To Create Digital Signature And Electronic Signature

Here's the difference between electronic signatures and digital signatures, how to create e-signatures with CocoSign, Adobe, and Word, and some frequently raised questions

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The world has woken up to the importance of electronic signatures and digital signatures. It has also led to a proliferation of e-signature tools. Worthy of mentioning are the new wave CocoSign, the giant Adobe Sign and the trusted work app Microsoft Word. In this guide we give step-by-step instructions on how you can use them to create e-signatures and digital signatures with zero stress.

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Let’s first start with defining what these two types of signatures are, because, you might be surprised, there’s a nuance between them. 

Digital Signatures VS Electronic Signatures

Electronic signatures and digital signatures are not interchangeable. Electronic signatures also named as online signatures are a broader concept than digital signatures. Put simply, eSignatures use digital symbols to give legal authorization or approval for online transactions and agreements, which are the virtual alternatives to ink-on-paper signatures.

Digital signatures are a kind of electronic signatures but harder to obtain. They follow a specific protocol, called Public Key Infrastructure(PKI) and require a certificate issued by Certificate Authority(CA) that can prove the identities of signers and validate the signatures. As a result, digital signatures hold higher levels of trustworthiness and authenticity than eSignatures. So they are often used for more significant transactions.

A multitude of eSignature laws like ESIGN Act and UETA have signified that a signature does not need to be an exclusively physical thing. Both electronic signatures and digital signatures are as legally sound as wet signatures. 

How to Create a Digital Signature with CocoSign?

CocoSign is an all-in-one e-signature solution that embraces ultimate simplicity. With it, creating a digital signature can be done in seconds by typing, drawing, or uploading. Designed with care, it’s simple interface and easy drag & drop functionality make CocoSign intuitive for all skill levels, and its customization options like font styles give additional flexibility - no wonder tens of thousands of SMBs and professionals use CocoSign every day.

Step1: Create a CocoSign Account

Go to the CocoSign Sign-up page. Type your name, email, and password in the required fields. 

Step 2: Upload the File You Need to Sign

Upload one or more files from your e-device or cloud storage services. You can also use the drag and drop option. CocoSign supports various file formats, PDF, PNG, JPG, DOC, and XLS. 

Step 3: Create a Digital Signature

Drag and drop the Signature field to your file and a pop-up window will appear for you to choose your favorite method to create a digital signature either by typing, drawing, or uploading. 

Typing: type your signature, and customize its font, color, slant, and slope to your liking.

Drawing: use your finger, stylus, or mouse to draw your signature and change its color and width.

Uploading: choose an image of your signature from your e-device.

Step 4: Complete Your Document

After appending your digital signature, click Complete to save the changes. You can have a copy of your signed document by clicking Download, or share it with others via Email.

Also Read: How to Create a Digital Signature

How to Create an Electronic Signature with Adobe Sign?

Adobe Sign is one of the most sought-after electronic signature software in the market. With it, document workflows and approval processes are easily automated. If you have been using the other services of Adobe family, then it is more suitable for you to create your e-signature with Adobe Sign.

Step 1: Sign in to Your Adobe Account

Log into your Adobe account. Navigate to Sign, and choose Add Signature.

Step 2: Create an Electronic Signature

Click Select a file to upload your PDF file. Click wherever you want the signature to be displayed and you're enabled to either type, draw your signature, or upload an image of your hand-written signature.

Step 3: Complete Your Signed Document

Hit Close to save all the changes you’ve made. You’re allowed to share a copy of your signed file to others or download it to your device.

Adobe Sign does not outperform CocoSign in this area. How? Let’s dig in.

  • CocoSign allows an easy switching between different fonts, colors, slants and slopes. But Adobe merely supports the default font and color. 
  • CocoSign saves your used signatures so they can be reutilized with a single click, but Adobe requires you to create a signature afresh each time you need one - a pretty big downside considering how often we sign a file each day.
  • Adobe Sign merely supports PDF format. You will need to make sure your Word, PNG, or XLS has been converted into a PDF file first before uploading it for signing purposes. What a hassle! 

How to Make an Electronic Signature in Word?

You might not know it, but Microsoft Word can be used to create an e-signature, which will work for you perfectly because most of your documents are created in this same program. 

The simplest method is to insert your handwritten signature into the file and crop, resize it as needed. But it’s laborious to repeat this step each time you sign a file, and usually, it messes up your text. Worse, your image can get copied and forged by unintended parties.

Fret not, there is another solution, i.e., a reusable signature line. Once created, the signature line is saved as a signature template. It can be embedded into your file anytime with a click. Here is how it works:

Step 1: Add a Signature Line

In the Word document, click where you want the signature line to be displayed. Navigate to Insert > Text > Signature Line > Microsoft Office Signature Line.

 

Step 2: Specify the Information

In the Signature Setup window, type the signer’s name, title into the corresponding fields. Click OK and the signature line will be displayed in the document.

 

Step 3: Sign the Signature Line

Right-click the signature line and choose Sign from the menu. Type your signature or insert an image of your signature. Verify your digital certificate. And it’s done.

Yes, the signature line can be used as many times as you need. But it has its limitation: you’re not allowed to sign the lines unless you have a digital ID from Microsoft Partner Services. This drives lots of potential users away.

Related: What Is a Digital Signature and How It Works

Is it Safe to Sign Documents Online?

Yes, it certainly is. People often claim that eSignatures aren't secure, but for years now electronic signatures have proved how safe they actually can be, thanks to their security measures.

E-signatures make signing actions traceable. 

  • E-signature software alerts you of the updates timely whenever each signer signs or rejects to sign. 
  • An audit trail records all the signing activities, including who viewed, signed, or rejected the file, signer’s IP address and email, and a timestamp. 

E-signatures promise platform security.

  • Authentication measures. For example, 2-Factor authentication that adds an extra layer of security for users’ accounts.
  • Cutting-edge encryption technologies, let’s say AES 128-bit or AES 256-bit encryption, HTTPS, and TLS connections. 

E-signatures comply with applicable regulations.

Many e-signature tools strictly adhere to specialized industry standards, such as HIPAA, PHIPA, and 21 CFR Part 11.

Who May Need to Use Electronic Signatures?

E-signatures are emerging as a promising solution for all walks of life. Below are some cases where you may want to rely on an electronic signature:

Freelancers

Freelancers need to deal with paperwork remotely and respond to it outside business hours, which includes independent contractor agreements, copyright license agreements and more. Signing these documents online without needing to go to the office brings them unrivaled convenience. 

Businesses

Large enterprises, SMEs and start-ups used to spend lots of time checking the availability of clients and planning meetings to gather them for wet-signatures. So long as they move towards e-signatures, they can sign, track, manage their documents electronically, boosting efficiency and chopping down turnaround time significantly. Also, e-signatures give a welcoming fillip to the brand-building of their services.

What Are the Advantages of Signing PDF Online? 

It's a sheer blessing to be able to sign a PDF online, which has started to gain currency in recent decades. How come? Let me break it down for you.

Enhance Mobility 

E-signatures are done on a variety of devices such as a computer, smartphone or tablet. For those who are constantly on the go, this is a huge perk.

Boost Efficiency

Electronically signing a file liberates you from strenuous and repetitive physical paperwork. You can email your signing requests in bulk online. No longer need to send the documents via courier or by hand separately.

Cut Overheads

Signing documents electronically reduces the cost of physical materials and infrastructure, like paper, toners, inks, folders, and paper shredders.

Improve Data Security

Electronic signatures nip fraud and theft in the bud with cutting-edge encryption techniques. It also eliminates any hassle or worry about losing or misplacing physical signatures.

Increase Brand Awareness

eSignatures help businesses and professionals develop a reputation of quickness, immediacy, and flexibility, establishing a sense of reliability among clients. 

Final Words

The growing popularity of eSignatures and digital signatures need no further elaboration. Businesses are finding them to be a cost-effective way to replace traditional paper-based variants. In this article we’ve introduced in detail how to create digital signatures with CocoSign, and e-signatures with Adobe Sign, and Microsoft Word. CocoSign goes the extra mile to provide customization and flexibility, which also gives it a slight edge over the others. No more waiting, it’s time to take advantage of your preferred solution to refresh your signature workflow.

Caroline Lee

Written By

Caroline Lee is the co-founder of CocoSign, a web-based electronic signature solution that helps SMBs and professionals get contracts signed right and 5x faster.