With all the information and working online now, documents and signatures are also interchanged digitally. 

Some documents or application forms may require verification or need to be protected via signature. The old school way in back days was to simply print a document, sign it and then scan it back to send it electronically via email. 

Nowadays, fortunately, we don’t have to do all that as simply electronically signing a Word document or adding a signature block is much more convenient.

Whether you need to cryptographically protect your word document or just need to create a digital signature to verify the contents of the document, you can now do it without having to physically print and sign the document

Physically signing a document is a lot of hassle and a waste of time, paper, and ink.

Below, we’ll show a better way to do this electronically. Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • Digital Signatures VS Electronic And Wet Signatures: What’s The Difference?
  • 5 Different Ways To Electronically Sign Word Or PDF Documents

Digital Signatures VS Electronic And Wet Signatures: What’s The Difference?

First things first, when it comes to electronically signing a document, there are a few different options.

You can leave a wet signature, an electronic one, or a digital one.

What’s the difference?

Here’s a quick overview:

  • A wet signature is simply the normal signature that you leave on a printed or written document that may be uploaded or scanned on a computer. This signature digitally holds no importance and won't be required to verify or authorize an online document.
  • Electronic signatures are your initials typed in the signature box on the document, your signature image overlaid on the document. They may also include your signature entered on the document via stylus, touchpad, or any other electronic input device. 

This type of signature is used to verify your word or PDF documents. Electronic signatures are accepted as authorization by parties, vendors, etc., and are as good as your original signature on a physical document. Electronic signatures need to be registered beforehand to verify when used for accessing the document.

  • Digital signatures are notarized signatures or cryptographic protection for your documents that need high protection. Credentials and specific login details of the person are required to open such documents.  These signatures are regulated by certification authorities and are often used in financial transaction documents or company quotations etc.

With that said, there are a few different ways to electronically sign Word or PDF documents. Fortunately, the steps we’re about to cover below work regardless if you’re on Mac, Windows, iPhone, or some other device.

Let’s take a look!

5 Different Ways To Electronically Sign Word Or PDF Documents

There are a few different ways you can sign a document.

Whether you want to sign a Word document, or a work-related PDF contract, or something else, you should be able to do so with the steps covered below.

You can sign a document online, with Adobe’s software, do it online, or through a 3rd-party browser extension.

Let’s take a look at the steps and examples.

1. How to electronically sign a Word document offline with Adobe Sign

If you want to sign your Word document as a PDF you can simply add the signature using the Adobe Sign on Adobe Acrobat Reader

First import the file in your Adobe reader from Word.

Now when the file has opened in Adobe Reader, choose the Fill & Sign option from the given options below

adobe sign home page

Now in the Fill & Sign menu select Add signature option from the table

add signature to the data base

Now a signature menu will open. You can add your signature using 3 methods, either type it choosing from various available fonts, insert the signature by drawing it on a mousepad or stylus or upload an image of your signature.

typing in a signature into adobe sign

Finally, apply the signature and simply place it where you want to add the signature in your document. 

You can also resize or edit your signature field as needed. 

2. Electronically sign a Word document with added software

Another convenient way to electronically sign a Word document is to do it with an extension.

There are many different ways and tools to do this. But one simple way to sign a Word document on the go is with DocuSign. For this, you’ll need to register and download the 3rd-party app.

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Then, click on the Get Add-Ins option in the insert menu on your MS word interface and download the DocuSign add-in from your Office store or Apple store.

Once your Add-in is installed a DocuSign option will be visible on the menu bar.

Click on the DocuSign option and select the Sign Document option

docusign interface options

A pop-up box will open and you will be required to create an account to access the free version for 30 days.

Sign up and in the opened menu select the Signature option.

options on how to sign the document

Now place the cursor where you want to add the signature in your document and select the ‘Adopt and Sign’ option and click on’ Finish’. Now your document is signed.

If you wish to draw or create your signature electronically, log in to your DocuSign account and select signatures from the menu.

docusign esignature home page for adding signatures

Select the Edit option and then choose how you want to add your new e-signature.

drawing pad for a signature

Once you have inserted your signature via stylus or touchpad, click on the 'create' option to save it.

3. Add an electronic signature to your Word document with PandaDoc

Another MS word add-in you can install from your Office store in Windows or Apple store in Mac OS is PandaDoc.

After installing the PandaDoc add-in go to the PandaDoc option on the menu bar and select the desired option to apply signature in your document.

pandadoc tab on word interfase

Another way is to install and open the PandaDoc app on your device and drag and drop your file to be signed.

select a signature from your data base

Then in the editor menu click on the add-on signature field.

You can then simply fill out a Word document form and sign it yourself, ask other people to sign it, and track the document status.

choosing a way of signing a form

When adding a signature, you can do so via typing, drawing, or uploading.

choosing to type, draw or upload a signature

Once it’s all said and done, you can track and check the document status or share it with colleagues as needed.

Document status page on pandadoc

4. Add a digital signature using MS word signature line

You can also add digital signatures to your Word document using the signature line option in your MS Word.

Note: For this, you’ll need a digital ID from Microsoft Partner.

  • Click Insert.
  • Select Signature Line.
  • A signature pop-up window will appear.
  • Fill it in as needed.
Signature setup line for the microsoft interface

Then, you can double-click on the signature line and type or edit your signature accordingly.

You can add a digital signature, add a signature image, and more.

signing pop-up

Finally, the document will be marked as final to discourage editing.

5. Electronically sign a PDF document online with Adobe

Last but not least, you can also electronically sign a document online with Adobe’s Fill and Sign.

Though, for this, you’ll want to convert Word to PDF.

To do that, simply go to your Word document and then:

  • Click File.
  • Save as.
  • Select a location.
  • Select Save as type PDF.
selecting page for type of file

Then, once you’ve got the PDF file, go to Adobe’s Fill and Sign page.

 Adobe’s Fill and Sign page
  • Upload a PDF file you want to sign electronically.
  • Add your signature or insert it accordingly.


So, to recap, electronic signatures are simple. You can sign documents regardless of your device (whether you’re on Windows, Mac, iPhone, or other mobile devices) and you have a lot of different options on ways to do so.

Additionally, this is a great way to protect your important documents from any kind of misuse and safely verify your letters or applications to different sites. 

Hopefully, the above steps helped and you have a better understanding of how to sign documents now, whether they’re Word, PDF, or some other format.

Now, if you’re looking for more ways to manage or edit electronic signatures in your documents, be sure to also read:

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