How to insert a signature in a Word document

Microsoft Word is still the world’s leading word processing software. For many, it’s the software of choice for writing proposals, quotes, contracts, and other sales docs. Therefore it’s understandable that people want to quickly and easily add their signature at the end of these documents, without the hassle of printing, hand-signing, and scanning.

The good news is that adding a signature to a Word document is doable. There are also many features that make your life easier – like the option to automatically include more text beneath your signature (like your printed name and address).

How to add a digital signature to a Word document

Note: To use this method, you need to first obtain a digital certificate and create a digital signature.

You might be wondering, “Aren’t a digital signature and an electronic signature the same thing?

Unfortunately, no. Digital signatures are highly-secure, encrypted digital marks that require special software and a digital certificate from both the sender and the recipient. You have to purchase a certificate from an issuing company.

An electronic signature, on the other hand, is merely a virtual mark added to a document – most commonly in the form of a signature image or hand-typed text. Depending on the software in which the document is signed, electronic signatures can come with extra security features, such as certificates that include the time and date of the signature. Both electronic and digital signatures are legal, secure, and fully-enforceable.

If you want to add a digital signature to a word document, follow these steps:

  1. Move your cursor the area you want to sign in the Word document.
  2. Select the Insert tab.
  3. Select the Text group and open the Signature Line list.
  4. Click Microsoft Office Signature Line and the Signature Setup dialogue box should appear.
  5. Input the appropriate data – signer’s name, title, email address, and any further instructions – and tick the boxes if required (if you are signing these will be your details). Click OK.
  6. Right-click the signature field and type your name or upload an image of your signature.

How to add an electronic signature to Word documents

Most people will want to add electronic signatures (as opposed to digital signatures) to their documents. Fortunately, Microsoft Word makes this easy to do. Once you’re set up, it only takes a few clicks.

Follow the steps below to add an electronic signature to your Microsoft Word documents:

  1. Handwrite your signature in the middle of a blank piece of white paper.
  2. Scan the signature and save it on your computer in one of the following file formats: .bmp, .gif, .png, .jpg.
  3. Open the image file in Microsoft Word by clicking the Insert tab and selecting Pictures.
  4. Click on the image and edit it using the Picture Tools Format tab.
  5. When you have finished editing the image, right-click the image and select Save as Picture.
  6. Whenever you want to add an electronic signature to a document, select Insert and Pictures and locate the edited image file, drag-and-drop it to the appropriate place in the document.

How to add a signature line to a Word document

Microsoft Word also allows you to add signature lines to documents. This is helpful in showing where the recipient should sign.

To add a signature line to a document, follow these steps:

  1. Left-click the place in the document where you want the signature line to go.
  2. Select Signature Line from the Insert drop-down. A dialogue box should appear.
  3. Select the required options and click OK.

What about third-party apps?

While the functionality provided by Word is solid, it doesn’t offer as many options as other tools. Third-party apps like PandaDoc and DocuSign give a host of features that can make your life easier when it comes to sending or receiving documents.

Consider the following when choosing to use a signature app:

  • Compatible across devices

Microsoft Word has different signature functionality across devices and device platforms (like Apple and Android). Using an app allows you to use the same piece of software with the same features across all your devices.

  • Adds an extra layer of security

Apps explicitly designed to sign documents have an added layer of protection, like the instant creation of a certificate whenever a document is signed, which includes the time and date the signature was completed.

  • Transferable to other formats

If you want to send a signed document as a PDF, as opposed to Microsoft Word, then you can download and send it in your format of choice.

How to add a signature to a Word document with PandaDoc

Here’s how to add an electronic signature to a Microsoft Word document using PandaDoc electronic signature software:

  1. Log into PandaDoc and select the “New Document” button.
  2. Click the Upload tab and either drag-and-drop the Word file or select Choose A Local File.
  3. Select the Display As Is button. The document will appear in the PandaDoc editor.
  4. Click the Signature tab in the right-hand menu to drag-and-drop a signature field into the document.
  5. Select the signature box and assign yourself as a recipient or add a new contact.
  6. Make the signature by double-clicking on the box. You can upload an image, draw the signature, or enter it in manually.
  7. Select the Complete button and download the file in your preferred format.

In summary

Electronic signatures have changed the way that companies and individuals do business. The big question is whether or not the built-in tools available with Word are sufficient for your needs. If all you want to do is add simple images to the end of documents, or provide basic digital signature functionality, then these tools will likely work for you.

But if you need a more comprehensive set of features, then a “smart” signature app may be the way to go. Tools like PandaDoc allow you to track and store signatures, while also providing an added layer of security and integrates with your existing tech stack. If you haven’t tried smart apps yet, you’ll be surprised at how much easier your life is and how much time you’ve saved.