There aren’t a huge number of tools (desktop or web based) that enable quick and hassle-free creation of a digital or electronic signature for signing documents. Most of the good tools available come at a good price too.
I have faced a number of occasions in the past where I had to digitally sign a document and the lack of a good, free tool (or the lack of my awareness of its existence) to get that done forced me to take printouts, sign manually and scan them back to the computer. I recently came across SignNow which finally concluded my search for a useful and free/affordable e-signing tool.
Lets check out how this web based service works. We will also talk a bit about the legal and security implications of this service in the end.
Getting Started With Digitally Signing Documents With SignNow
Step 1. Visit the SignNow site. You’ll find that there’s a big Upload & Go button, and there’s no place to register. That’s because it doesn’t need you to register. It’s quick, easy and free!
Step 2. Upload the document that you need to get digitally signed. It works best with PDFs (and usually, PDF is the preferred format for documents that need electronic signatures) but you may upload other formats too.
I uploaded a sample document, and the screenshot below shows how it looks in the tool’s interface.
Step 3. Let us focus on some of the elements of SignNow’s user interface. At the top, there are tools that help you sign, type text or insert sticky notes in the document.
The sidebar has information on how to proceed after you are done with the signing. You need to enter your email, you may share it with someone else whose electronic signature is also needed on the same doc, and also add additional notes. Once you are done, you can hit Complete to have it send you the digitally signed document.
Now lets see how to use the sign and type tools to create a digital signature easily.
Creating Electronic (or Digital) Signature By Drawing or Typing
When you click on the Sign tool at the top, it gives you an option to either manually sketch the signature or type it. The first screenshot below shows an example of the manual drawing. The second image shows how it is likely to appear when you choose the type option.
There’s a Clear button available to help you clear the sign and type or draw again until you are satisfied by how it looks. When you hit Done, it inserts the sign in the document where you had originally pointed the mouse cursor.
The red box that you see above can be dragged and made bigger. It also makes the signature larger in size.
Typing Plain Text
You can also use SignNow to type plain text for fields like Date, Time etc. Just hit the Text tool at the top to get that done.
Putting a Sticky Note Where Others Need to Put Their Digital Signature
As you saw earlier, there’s a way to add sticky notes to the document. Now, this sticky note didn’t let me write anything on it. May be that’s because there’s the add notes option in the sidebar. This sticky note is primarily meant to point at the fields where the other person needs to sign on the document.
Final steps are what it shows on its sidebar. Enter your email, share it if you need to and hit complete. The email will arrive within seconds with the electronically signed document attached.
Legal and Security
SignNow uses 256-bit encryption on their entire site and says that it immediately get rids of the documents after it emails them to you. It also uses digital protection certificates issued by Symantec.
Electronic signatures are considered legal in most of the countries these days. You’ll have to check if it is valid in your country though. More information is available on SignNow’s legal and security page.
Overall, it’s a nicely built tool that definitely takes the pain out of creating an electronic signature. Try it out and let us know how it worked for you.