Add an Electronic Signature in Microsoft Office

This digital ID can add polish and security to your documents

Signatures in Microsoft Word
Signatures in Microsoft Word. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Microsoft

You can add a signature line that can incorporate visible or invisible digital signature to Microsoft Office documents. These tools help make collaboration with others more streamlined.

In addition to that convenience, document signatures can provide peace of mind, helping you add professional polish and security to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents.

Why Use Signatures in Microsoft Office Documents?

But does this really matter?

According to Microsoft's help site, these signatures offer authentication, ensuring that:

  • The digital signature is valid.

  • The certificate associated with the digital signature is current (not expired).

  • The signing person or organization, known as the publisher, is trusted.

  • The certificate associated with the digital signature is issued to the signing publisher by a reputable certificate authority (CA).

In this way, a document's digital signature helps preserve the integrity of your document, both for yourself and those you share documents with. So, while you probably don't need to sign every document you create in Microsoft Office, you can benefit from adding signatures to certain documents.

Here's How

  1. Click where you would like the signature then select Insert > Signature Line (Text group).
  2. The prompts will take you through the process of assigning a digital signature. A digital signature is a security layer. Under the same menu tool mentioned above, you will see an option to Add Signature Services, which you may decide you are interested in.
  1. You will next need to fill in details, in the Signature Setup dialog box. As you do, you will fill in information for the person who will sign the file, which may or may not be yourself. You will find fields for the party's name, title, and contact information.

  2. Usually, it's a good idea to show the signature date near the signature line. You can turn this feature on or off using the checkbox.

  1. Since the signer may not be you, it may be a good idea to leave signing instructions as well. You will see a field for custom text as well. Not only that, but you can allow signers to leave comments along with their signature. This can be a great way to avoid unnecessary back-and-forth since the person signing can simply stipulate any special terms their signature is conditional upon. This is done by checking the appropriate box.

Tips

  1. Note that you can add more than one signature line to a document, and in fact, it is common to do so since many files are a collaborative effort. Just repeat the steps above for each additional signature line.
  2. Keep in mind that you can add either a visual or invisible signature. The steps above describe how you can incorporate the visible version into one of your documents. If you would like to add an invisible signature that provides recipients with an assurance of the file's origin, select Office button - Prepare - Add a Digital Signature.
  3. Need to sign a document line someone else has provided in a Microsoft Office document? Do that by double-clicking the signature line. From there, you can specify a few preferences, such as using an image file of your signature if you already one saved and available; providing an inked or handwritten signature using your fingertip or stylus; or including a print version of your signature, for those of us with illegible signatures!
  1. Remove signatures by selecting the Office Button - Prepare - View Signatures. From there, you can specify whether you want to remove one, multiple, or all signatures.
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