- You can add a signature to a Google Doc with the built-in drawing tool.
- You can also use an add-on to add signatures to your document, or request them.
- Add-ons can be safer if they use encryption and have authentication standards.
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Google Docs can be a useful tool when you need to share documents with other people. And it has a built-in feature you can use to add your signature to documents. But you’ll find more security if you use an add-on that has encryption and authentication measures.
With that in mind, here’s what you need to know to add your signature to Google Docs using either the built-in feature or an add-on.
Electronic signature vs. digital signature
Although they sound similar, there is a significant difference between an electronic signature, or e-signature, and a digital one.
Digital signatures are required to use certain algorithms to generate signatures and can be used as evidence for third parties. So they’re secure, due to encryption and authentication standards, and legally enforceable.
Electronic signatures, on the other hand, don’t look like actual signatures but are still used to signify an intent to sign. They can be anything that is supposed to represent the person signing, including a symbol or an electronic sound. Electronic signatures are legally binding, but because they lack the encryption required for digital signatures, they are less secure and can be more easily forged.
How to add electronic signature in Google Docs using drawing tool
Be aware that this method creates an electronic signature, not a digital one.
1. Open the Google Doc and place the cursor in the area that requires a signature.
2. Click Insert in the top toolbar.
3. Choose Drawing and then + New. The drawing tool will then pop up over the Google Doc.
4. Click the down-caret next to the line tool, which looks like a line with two points at each end.
5. Choose Scribble.
6. Create your signature by clicking into the draw box and dragging the cursor.
7. Click Save and Close to add your signature to the Google Doc.
How to add digital signature in Google Docs using third-party add-ons
You can also add a digital signature to your Google Doc with a third-party add-on, like:
- DocuSign: This creates a digital signature for your documents, meaning it uses encryption and is legally binding. For free accounts, you can request up to three signatures before a paid account would become necessary.
- HelloSign: This works similar to the draw tool in Google Docs, but with the benefit of the authentication and encryption of a digital signature. You can get up to three signature requests per month through the free plan, but those wanting a plan suited to multiple users can opt for a paid version.
- PandaDoc: Signatures through this add-on are encrypted and legally compliant, and PandaDoc offers HIPPA and GDPR compliance options. The free version of this add-on offers unlimited signatures, though there are paid options to access features like templates, document analytics, and custom branding tools.
Here’s how to install an add-on and insert a signature from it:
1. Go into your Google Doc’s top toolbar and select Add-ons, followed by Get Add-ons.
2. Use the search bar in the pop-up to find your desired add-on and click to select it.
3. Select Install.
4. You may be asked to link your Google account, and give permission to the add-on to access your Google account — if so, connect it and give the add-on permission to access your account.
5. Once installed, you’ll see a confirmation message. Hit Done and close out the add-on pop-up window.
6. The add-on should appear in the right sidebar. If not, refresh the page. Then click to open the signature add-on in the sidebar.
7. Sign into your account associated with your add-on of choice, or create one, as directed.
8. Follow the prompts to sign your document and add other signer or recipient information.