Paperless Office: How To Sign PDF Forms
The paperless office truly is a reality: I live in it every day. One of the strange realities of our modern age, however, is that many forms, documents, and letters require a real signature — a “digital signature” isn’t good enough. This is particularly a challenge if you work in an industry where you sign a lot of things, like I do.
So, how do I pull this off? There are probably dozens of effective ways of doing this, ranging from signing things with a stylus input device to just drawing your signature carefully with your mouse. Here’s what I do. Your mileage may vary.
First, you need a scanned copy of your signature. My signature is pretty distinct (and some would say weird). So, I simply did one that was really big, in thick, blue ink, with my full flair. Then I scanned it. You can do this at Kinko’s if you don’t have a scanner.
Then, I routinely use three very important tools. Yes, there is probably ONE tool that does all this (on a Mac, I’d be doing it all in Graphic Converter, but alas, there is no such program for Windows).
Since I work with a lot of PDF files, I need to be able to extract pages for signature, then reinsert them. For this, I use Foxit Phantom, which is the single best PDF editor I have yet to find out of half a dozen I’ve tested (I’m kinda cheap when it comes to software — I refuse to spend the money on Adobe Acrobat Professional).
After extracting a page to sign, I have to convert it to an image. For this, I use Office Convert PDF to JPEG Free, which is also the best of several I tested.
Then, I open the converted image into MS Paint, which comes with Windows. I’ve tested other graphics programs, including IrfanView, GIMP, and other big names in the shareware Windows world, and I’ve found Paint to be sufficient. I shrink my signature to fit, then copy and paste it into the document. Since Paint can’t handle transparencies, I fit the signature into a block, then literally use the line tool to re-draw the lines in the form that my signature block may have overwritten.
Then, save the image, and use Phantom’s “Insert Page” command to insert the JPEG image back into the PDF it came out of.
Yep, it’s kind of a pain in the rear, but it’s a cheap and simple process that’s there when I need it. If I had to sign things anymore than I already do, I’d look for a better all-in-one solution, but for me, this system works just fine!
Leave a Comment
You must be logged in to post a comment.