Office documents are sometimes used as legal documents and often require a signature. Or, at times, you may want to add an invisible signature to protect the integrity of the document. You can do both in some Office apps.
Add a signature visible in Word and Excel
Microsoft Word and Excel both have a built-in feature that lets you insert a row and signature into your document or spreadsheet. You will also need a digital signature to put on the signature line. Here’s all you need to do.
Insert a signature line
First, go ahead and open the Word document or Excel spreadsheet you want to add the signature line to, then place your cursor where you want to insert it. Then, click on “Signature Line”, which is located in the “Text” group of the “Insert” tab.
The Signature Configuration window will appear. You will need to fill in these fields:
- Suggested Signer: The name of the person signing the document.
- Title of the signatory suggested: the title of the signatory.
- Suggested Signer Email Address: The signer’s email.
- Instructions for the signer: You can add any special instructions you want the signer to know before signing here.
You will also need to check / uncheck these options:
- Allow Signer to Add Comments in Signing Dialog – The document signer can also add the purpose of their signature.
- Show signature date in signature line – Once the document is signed, the date it was signed will be displayed.
Once everything is filled in, click the “OK” button at the bottom of the window.
The signature line will then appear.
Send the file to the person who needs to sign the document. Or, if you’re the one signing the document, read on.
Sign your Word or Excel file with your digital signature
If you don’t already have a digital signature, you’ll get a request from Office letting you know you’ll need it to sign the document every time you double-click the signature line. Office will also ask you if you want to get one from a Microsoft partner in the prompt.
If you select “Yes”, you will be directed to official support site , where he explains the benefits of a digital ID, along with a couple of recommended certified authorities that are qualified to issue digital certificates. In the documentation there are GlobalSign And IdenTrust but there are many others to choose from.
A digital ID from a certified authority differs from a handwritten signature because it adds a code to the document that shows that it was actually you, not someone pretending to be you, who signed the document.
Note: you can create your own digital certificate by running SELFCERT.EXE in the Office installation folder. However, this doesn’t verify your identity like a signature from a certified authority would, as scammers can also create this type of certificate using your name. As a form of security, if you use a digital certificate that you created yourself, a warning banner will be added to the document.
To insert this digital signature, double-click the signature line. A pop-up dialog will appear. Here, click “Sign”.
The document is now signed.
To remove that signature, simply edit the document. Once the document has been edited, the signature is automatically removed. This is to protect the authenticity of the document and also to protect the person who signed the original document.
If you want to insert a drawn or typed signature, you are free to do so too. While it doesn’t prove the authenticity of the signature, there are several sites that allow you to draw or type a signature and then download it as an image. From there, would you insert simply the image in the document with Insert> Image, then click and drag it to the signature line.
For this to work correctly, be sure to click the Format Options icon to the right of the image, then click the “In front of text” text wrapping option.
To remove this signature, simply select the signature by clicking the mouse and then pressing the Delete key.
Add an invisible signature in Word, Excel and PowerPoint
You can also add an invisible signature to your document. This protects the authenticity of the content within the document. And unlike the feature to insert a signature line, you can add an invisible signature to your PowerPoint presentations.
To do this, you need to have one digital signature of a certified authority .
First, open the Word document, Excel spreadsheet, or PowerPoint presentation you want to add the invisible signature to, then click the “File” tab.
Then, click “Info” in the left pane.
The text will differ for the next step depending on the app you are using. If you are working in Excel, click “Protect Workbook”. If you are using PowerPoint, click “Protect Presentation”. Or, if you’re using Word, click “Protect Document”.
Now click “Add a digital signature” in the drop-down menu that appears.
From there, you will need to use the digital signature you acquired from the certified authority. If you already have your digital signature, all you need to do now is click “Sign”.
Once signed, a banner will appear at the top of the document saying it contains a signature.
To remove this signature, all you need to do is edit the document. Once the document is modified, the signature becomes invalid. A message will appear informing you that the signature has been removed after making a change.
This protects both the signer and the integrity of the content.
That’s all there is to it. While signing a document isn’t necessarily difficult, there are a couple of levels of validity here. To remove any doubts about the authenticity of the signature, request your digital signature from a certified authority.