Microsoft Word is one of the more commonly-used word processors. Chances are you have used the program to create or edit a document. The beauty of Word is that its design is driven by the need to generate text documents with ease and scalability. Quite simply, Word is the best way to input and manipulate text, but it does have its disadvantages. Because it is so geared towards text, creating and editing dynamic documents with non-Microsoft elements can be somewhat of a hassle. Thankfully Microsoft’s more recent installments help users add image files, vectors, and even videos to their Word documents. The software does lack, however, a tool for adding handwritten digital signatures. So now that you have finally finished typing up that 20 page contract, how do you add a signature?
At its core the program is not designed to input digital signatures, but Word does allow for various forms of consent to be added to a file. There are a few different methods to add a signature to a Word document, and while some involve using the program itself, the best solution is to take advantage of what Word does best (creating documents) and use a third-party application to handle the signature. The traditional method for adding a signature to a Word document is to print out a paper copy of the document, sign it by hand, and then scan the document to have an electronic version of the signed copy. This approach is inherently time-intensive and requires the user to have access to a scanner. Another potential downfall is the variance in the scanned file formats, most of which will not work in Word.
An alternative solution is to scan an image of a signature and then apply the image to individual Word documents. This helps reduce the need for paper but still presents some issues with varying image formats. Starting with Word 2003, Microsoft began to incorporate digital certificates into the product. These digital certificates act like invisible markers that lock documents. Any changes made to the word document after the digital signature has been applied nullify the signature. The problem with these signatures is that they don’t add a visible marker to the document, meaning the completed Word document will look exactly like the original.
Digital signature software is the easiest way to add your digital signature to a Word document. Cloud-based software solutions like RightSignature provide the security of digital certificates and the look and feel of traditional handwritten signatures. Another advantage is that users can upload any Word document, regardless of the size of the file or the version of Word that was used to create the document. External electronic signature programs like RightSignature also apply digital signatures to Word documents without affecting the format of the document. Finalized signatures are added to any location in the Word document and look as if they have been drawn by hand. Plus the e-signature software is designed to lead you through the entire signature process and ensures you add the perfect digital signature to your Word document.