Signing and scanning electronic documents without a Printer?
March 19, 2014 3:22 AM   Subscribe

I have no printer. I have some documents to be signed and scanned, preferably in the next few hours. How can I accomplish this?

I have a couple of netbooks (with webcams), and an crappy android phone with a camera.
posted by Elysum to Work & Money (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Kinkos/fedex office?
posted by needlegrrl at 3:24 AM on March 19, 2014

A camera is ok to grab your signature, and any image manipulation software is ok to paste it into place. But if the forms are on paper they won't come across very well by camera.

If you have a USB stick, you can go to an electronics store and use one of the printer/scanners on display to scan to the stick.
posted by Phssthpok at 3:26 AM on March 19, 2014

Your best bet is to look local. Print shops, neighbours, hotel lobbies. Maybe the old fax method might be best for you. Surely there's a shop nearby with a fax machine in the back?
posted by 0bvious at 3:46 AM on March 19, 2014

I use the TurboScan app on my iPhone. Check if that one or another scanner app is available for Android.
posted by amro at 3:46 AM on March 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Back in the day, I knew people who would make an image out of the document (with print-to-pdf followed by a pdf-to-image converter, although maybe you could just take a photo of your screen?), open it in MSPaint, and then "sign" it using a tablet and the free form pencil tool. When no tablet was available, they faked it using a mouse.
posted by ceribus peribus at 3:57 AM on March 19, 2014

There's also an app called "Genius Scan" for android... works well for me... sign, photo, converts to pdf...
posted by HuronBob at 4:06 AM on March 19, 2014

I've done this by signing the doc, taking a picture of it with my phone and sending it off via mail. Also seconding a hotel lobby - look around for the business center.
posted by jquinby at 4:20 AM on March 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

I believe the local libraries usually have scanners.
posted by Jaelma24 at 4:50 AM on March 19, 2014

I have camscan on my android. It's pretty decent.
posted by jpe at 4:57 AM on March 19, 2014

Best answer: I also use camscanner. It's free & works well enough for my expense reports.
posted by bzn at 5:18 AM on March 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Office supply stores like Warehouse Stationery usually have these services.
posted by gudrun at 6:03 AM on March 19, 2014

If you were in the US, I'd say you should go to Staples/Office Depot/OfficeMax, basically any of the big-box office supply places. I don't know what the equivalents are outside the US. Barring that, most hotels have business centers that they'd probably let you use if you asked nicely enough.
posted by valkyryn at 6:48 AM on March 19, 2014

Best answer: I had this problem a few years ago. My solution was:

sign a white peace of paper

photograph it in good lighting

cut down to just the signature

paste into the document

save as PDF
posted by rebent at 6:59 AM on March 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: 1. Find someone with a Mac
2. Use Preview > insert signature.
posted by gregglind at 7:12 AM on March 19, 2014

It's one thing if you don't have a scanner, but not having a printer is going to be a problem. Find your closest FedEx Office (aka Kinko's).
posted by radioamy at 7:17 AM on March 19, 2014

A scanning app and the SignNow app.
posted by Dansaman at 8:15 AM on March 19, 2014

No printer? Good luck with FedEx-Kinkos. I had to print a boarding pass recently and though they'd be fine, but alas, once I got everything up on their PC and tried to print, "Sorry. the printer's not working, and the guy who can make it go won't be in for a few hours."

My suggestion for casual printing is to rely on your local library.
posted by Rash at 8:26 AM on March 19, 2014

Are the documents currently electronic? It wasn't clear from your question. Download a free trial of Adobe Acrobat Pro, convert the files to PDF (if they aren't already) and insert an electronic signature. It's really straightforward and you can even use a password-secured signature for extra officialness.
posted by like_a_friend at 8:29 AM on March 19, 2014

Have you looked at any online services like

I've been using their faxing service for about a year and am happy with it but haven't used their signing features. I haven't needed a printer once but did use my Genius Scan on iphone to "scan" a few docs.
posted by eatcake at 9:06 AM on March 19, 2014

Kinkos or FedEx Office as they call it now, or a UPS store, or a library.
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:58 AM on March 19, 2014

Response by poster: So, it was an electronic document, that needed to be printed, signed, scanned, and emailed back.

It was also evening, and so all possible printing places were shut.

What I considered:

I figured my best shot of actually doing it at home, was to download something like Adobe Photoshop, convert the documents to images, take a photo of my signature, and then magic-tool paste it in, and then try and send that as something that looked kind of scanned.
And hope they accepted that format.

There seemed like a lot of failure points in that, so I gave up, went to sleep, printed (from a Warehouse Stationery even) and scanned it (using Camscanner!) in the morning.
It was a day late, but luckily everything went through in time.

The 'insert signature' feature, but for a PC, is basically what I was looking for. I will try out HelloSign if I have to do anything like this again.

Thanks all!
posted by Elysum at 3:54 AM on March 29, 2014

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