Best way to create a handwritten signature file to place in Word doc?
March 19, 2021 4:49 PM   Subscribe

I need to add the handwritten signature of someone at work to a Word doc. The recommendations I see online for this is to have the person do a big signature with a sharpie on a piece of white paper, and then scan that and create an image file from it. Surely there must be a better way this day and age??

I’d like this to be as low maintenance as possible for the person whose signature I need. Is there an app (not sure if she has iPhone or Android) where she could just draw her signature on her phone, and it would save as an image file that she could then send me? Ideally it would be a png with a transparent background, but I could try to remove the background myself if I have to (I don’t currently have any image editing software).
posted by imalaowai to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Picture with phone and import into Word?
posted by kate4914 at 4:53 PM on March 19, 2021

Create a PDF and sign it there in Adobe Reader or Acrobat. You make a signature the first time with your finger, save it, and then use it for all future documents.
posted by Melismata at 4:53 PM on March 19, 2021 [1 favorite]

Surely there must be a better way this day and age??

As someone who has been in charge of the digital signature files at work before... not really. Because even if the person uses a stylus instead of their finger, it won’t really look like their actual signature. It will look like it was done on a screen, and unless this is someone who uses a stylus to write on a screen all the time, it will at best be an awkward approximation of their real signature, and at worst look totally different.
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:01 PM on March 19, 2021 [10 favorites]

Best answer: Honestly, drawing it on paper and taking a picture is basically the easiest way. Assuming they know how to take a picture with their phone, it's the least friction way of doing it, since you dont have to download an app, figure out that app, figure out how to send the image, etc. Now, for your end, to make a transparent PNG, I have found to be a remarkably helpful tool for way more complicated tasks.
posted by General Malaise at 5:11 PM on March 19, 2021 [10 favorites]

I agree with showbiz_liz. The most natural signature that looks the best both in soft copy and when printed is a bold black signature on white paper, scanned to an image and inserted behind the text in the Word document. You can leave the white background, or do a transparent .png.

If you want something quick and dirty, try using the screenshot app on their phone, adding a white rectangle background in the screenshot, then drawing the signature with a stylus on the blank image. It might take many tries and some trial and error with marker type/size to make it look natural, but it should work.
posted by gemmy at 5:14 PM on March 19, 2021

I’ve done this. Write normal size and use the Microsoft lens app on your phone. It can correct for the parallelogram and also turn it to black and white and bump up the contrast in a couple taps. Takes no time.
posted by just.good.enough at 5:38 PM on March 19, 2021

As above with mouse, finger or stylus it will look weird. Well lit thick paper on a flat background with a dark pen (ensure no shadows but no need for a scanner). Then use levels to remove background and improve contrast and save as a transparent png. Should take them a minute and you a minute max.
posted by turkeyphant at 5:44 PM on March 19, 2021

If you want the sig to be black, use a red Sharpie. Red will reproduce blacker than a black Sharpie. I've done this for an exec's sig on his newsletter column, and it looked great!
posted by jgirl at 6:16 PM on March 19, 2021

The person who is signing should be aware that by sending out a Word file with her signature on it -- or a png, etc. -- it can conceivably be re-used by others. Even sending it out as a Word file -- a .docx -- well, change the extension to ZIP and unzip it, and the image is tidily in there as a separate image file, ready to be used by whomever has that file.

Something like DocuSign may be a better alternative if such safety is a concern.
posted by metabaroque at 6:18 PM on March 19, 2021 [1 favorite]

If you have a Mac laptop, the signature feature in preview let’s you sign on the touchpad with a finger and it looks great!,the%20trackpad%20to%20save%20and%20add%20the%20signature.
posted by advicepig at 7:42 PM on March 19, 2021

The person who is signing should be aware that by sending out a Word file with her signature on it -- or a png, etc. -- it can conceivably be re-used by others.

Any time you sign anything and give it to someone else your signature can trivially be reused by others. We’re all carrying high resolution cameras and image editing suites in our pockets. You can use the most sophisticated encryption ever and I can still just take a screenshot.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:03 PM on March 19, 2021 [7 favorites]

Not a black signature? I wrote in blue, scanned and trimmed it as a jpg/png. It looks more authentico. If it's to be used a lot, consider reducing the quality to save bandwidth - but that's just me.
posted by BobTheScientist at 3:09 AM on March 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

Upload to google docs, insert > drawing > new > scribble
posted by mikek at 8:08 AM on March 20, 2021

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