The majority of business people and organizations have moved away from paper-based contracts and embraced digital documents and digital signatures. These modern advances allow workflow automation, which improves efficiency, slashes business costs, promotes transparency, and reduces errors. Do you use MS Word? Of course, you do. However, do you know how to make a digital signature in a word doc?
In the past, if a document required a signature, someone had to physically carry or mail the document to the other party. If the document was sent via email, the signing party would print, sign, scan, and then email it back to the original sender. Even worse, getting a document that needed multiple signatures could take weeks, especially if the signing parties were in different locations.
Entered digital signature solutions like Foxit eSign, and that painstaking process was boiled down to mere minutes.
Before we dig deep on how to make an electronic signature using Foxit eSign, let us first take a closer look at what this technology entails.
Briefly, what is a digital signature?
A digital signature is an electronic stamp used to validate the integrity and authenticity of a digital document. It usually applies cryptographic measures to a document or message, to prove the following to the document’s recipient:
- Authentication- that the sender of the document/message is real
- Non-repudiation – the sender cannot refute or deny that they sent the document/message.
- Integrity – that the message/document has not been altered or tampered with since it was sent.
In other words, a digital signature is a vital part of the qualified and advanced e-signature, but not of the basic/simple e-signature. A simple e-sign would be, for example, clicking on “accept” on an electronic contract or entering a Personal Identification Number (PIN) at a cash machine. This form of e-signature (simple) cannot attribute the signature to a specific signatory; thus, it does not have similar features as a digital signature.
What’s more, a digital signature is legal. It can be used to sign a range of file types, like documents, videos, music, sound, etc., making it more flexible and versatile than the traditional wet-ink signature.
How digital signatures work
Digital signatures, like wet-ink signatures, are unique to each signatory. Digital signature solution providers, like Foxit eSign, follow a specific protocol, known as PKI. PKI usually requires the provider to employ a mathematical algorithm to generate two keys: a private key and a public key.
When a signer executes the document electronically, the signature is created via the signer’s private key. The mathematical algorithm creates data that matches the signed doc, called a hash, and encrypts the said data. The resulting encrypted data is what is usually called the digital signature.
Any alteration to the data will result in an incompatible or different value. This allows the other parties to authenticate the data’s integrity via the signatory’s public key to decode/decrypt the hash.
If the decrypted hash matches with the second hash, it shows that the data has not been altered, and it is valid. On the contrary, if the two hashes do not match, the data has been tampered with, hence considered invalid.
Digital Signature vs. Digital Certificate
We have already seen that a digital signature is used to verify integrity, authenticity, and non-repudiation. On the other hand, a digital certificate is issued by a trusted third party (Certificate Authority) to validate the user’s identity, possibly the sender or receiver. Thus, a digital certificate associates a public key with an identity and verifies that a public key belongs to a particular entity or person.
How to make a digital signature
Digital signature providers make it effortless to sign documents electronically. They provide a user-friendly interface for sending and signing documents electronically and partner with appropriate Certificate Authorities (CA) to offer trusted digital certificates.
Depending upon the CA you are using, you might be asked to give specific information. Also, there may be limitations and restrictions on whom to send documents to and the order or manner you send them. Foxit eSign’s interface walks you through the entire signing process and ensures you abide by all these requirements.
Sign Word Documents Digitally Using Foxit eSign
As paperless workflows see their popularity rise, knowing how to sign word documents digitally is a must. Follow these simple steps:
- Log into Foxit eSign – log into your Foxit eSign account. If you haven’t signed up for an account yet, create a free one here.
- Click the start signing button.
- Import your MS word document to the Foxit eSign platform. You can upload a saved Word doc from your gadget or cloud storage app.
- Add your signature – drag and drop a signature field into your imported document. You can also add other fields or texts you need to the word document, like name, initials, and date.
- Pick your recipients and click send.
- Recipients will receive an email notification linking them to a digital version of the MS Word document. They have to click the signature box/field to upload, type, or draw their signature.
The document is automatically updated as digital signatures are added. Also, document activity can be tracked, and follow-ups sent accordingly. Foxit eSign even creates a digital signature certificate that shows the digital ID and the signature date, hence proving the document’s legitimacy.
How to Digitally signed a Pdf using Foxit eSign?
The process is quite similar to that of making a digital signature in Word.
1- Create a free account with Foxit eSign
2- Upload you PDF doc to the Foxit eSign platform
3- Drag and drop your signature. Also, add signers and other fields for each signer.
4- Receive the digitally signed PDF copy from the recipients
Who can use a Digital Signature?
Like we mentioned earlier, many industries have already adopted eSignatures in their processes. For example, financial institutions use digital signatures to execute loan applications. Delivery companies like UPS and FedEx collect digital signatures to confirm deliveries. Retailers use digital signatures to speed up transaction processing times. Pharmaceutical companies use digital signatures to accelerate a wide range of regulatory approval processes, especially with the FDA. Today, Government agencies need to implement digital signatures in their digital platforms and website services in order to abide by IDEA legislation.
When you implement digital signatures by using signature maker in your organization, you can:
- Get approvals faster
- Reduce paper use
- Retain sensitive documents—and keep them secure
- Free up employee time
Foxit eSign’s digital signature solution verifies and ensures the following:
- The document is authentic and originates from a verified source
- The document has not been tampered with since it was digitally executed
- Its identity has been established and verified by a trusted Certificate Authority
Try signing documents digitally using Foxit eSign for free!