With the internet, the world is truly a global village. As collaborations around the world increase, everyone needs to authorize documents now and then, whether for business or academic reasons.
If you are scratching your head wondering how to digitally sign a document without printing it, do not worry! This is where digital signatures come in. A digital signature refers to an encoded electronic stamp. This signifies verifies information in electronic documents, e-mails and so on is authentic.
A signature establishes that the data came from you, the person who signed it, and did not undergo alteration. You can create a digital signature and then digitally sign a document whether in MS Excel, MS PowerPoint, or MS Word 2019.
Why Do I Need a Signing Certificate?
To create a digital signature, a signing certificate is necessary. This verifies your identity and who you are. Moreover, when you mail someone a digitally-signed document, your signing certificate also goes with it. An authority on certification gives out certificates that can get revoked – just like a driver’s license! Usually, a signing certificate’s validity lasts a year. After it expires, you need to renew it or get another one to confirm your identity and digitally sign a document again.
Why create a digital signature?
- You establish your identity as authentic.
- The document you sign attains legitimacy i.e. your digital sign attests that there are no changes or tampering.
- Proves the origin of the signed document to all persons involved.
- As the signatures possess time stamps, they have the soundness of an official notarization.
Making a Signing Certificate
You can purchase a signing certificate to create a digital signature with from a certification authority, but for personal use, you can make one yourself. The following method is for Windows 10.
- Go to the drive where you installed MS Office. Navigate to Program Files (x86) > Microsoft Office > root. If you have a 64-bit MS Office, then the folder organization differs, e.g. Program Files > Microsoft Office > root > Office16.
- Find the “SelfCert.exe” file and open it. The “Create Digital Certificate” window pops up. Type in the details, and click OK.
How to create a Digital Signature in MS Word 2019
A signature line acts as the characteristic placeholder for a signature in a document. Here, the signer can type out their signature or insert an image of an inked signature. If you have a touch-screen tablet/PC, you can use the inking tool to digitally sign a document. Follow the steps below to create a digital signature to digitally sign a document!
- First, you must make a signature line in MS Word 2019. Place the cursor where you want the signature line to appear in the document.
- Go to the Insert tab. Then in the Text section, click the arrow next to the Signature Line icon, and select “Microsoft Office Signature Line”. A dialog box titled Signature setup will appear.
- In this box, enter the information that will go with the signature line, such as name, title, email address, and any instructions necessary to digitally sign a document. There are two checkboxes below, which you can select if you require comments in the sign box, or if you want the date of the signing to be visible. Click OK.
- A line with an X on it appears, along with the details of the digital signature you just specified in the dialog box.
Now you can type or ink your signature on the line next to the X in MS Word 2019. As you write the signature, a digital version goes along to authenticate your identity. Right-click on the line and select “Sign” from the menu. A dialog box appears, where you type your name. If you do not have a signing certificate, you cannot digitally sign a document.
- After entering your name, click on “Sign”. To add an image of your written signature, click on Select Image. Locate the file of your signature image file, and select it.
There you go – you just digitally signed your document! From now on, you cannot edit the document. A yellow bar appears warning you that “an author has marked the file as final to discourage editing”.
To make changes, click the “Edit Anyway” button on the yellow bar. MS Word 2019 removes the digital sign so if you edit something then you must digitally sign a document again. We recommend adding the digital signature last so that you do not face any inconvenience.
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