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In this series on productivity, author Jess Stratton takes you through the latest tools that will help you run your business and life more efficiently. Each installment covers a particular feature or technique in a different online tool, such as Google Apps, Skype, YouTube, Mint.com, Etsy, and more. Check back every Monday for tips on topics from recording and publishing video chats to managing your finances online.
I'm Jess Stratton, and welcome to Monday Productivity Pointers. Today, I'm talking about getting a signature onto a PDF document. Now, there's a few different types of signatures. The first type of signature is called a digital certificate signature. There's ways to validate the integrity of the document. To verify that the contents haven't been altered in any way before signing. And there's also ways to purchase or acquire your own digital identify from Adobe itself. In order to digitally sign these PDF documents.
But in this video, we're all about productivity, so I'm about finding ways to make a long process faster. So today, I'm going to talk about the approval type of signature. Specifically, the kind that looks like a good, old-fashioned ink signature. Which, I believe, is arguably the biggest cause of slowdown in a business process, like a back and forth document. You'll see that I've got my vacation request form up here. Right, it's a standard form. You put in the data requested.
The hours you want off. Who your supervisor is. And these are things that you can fill out on your computer. Whether they give you a blank request, that's fine, but normally, even if it's a Word document, You can edit it to put in your dates and hours, and you should be able to be done or just email it back to the other person. But no, inevitably you have to sign the document first. And this is where the slow-down begins, right? We've all been there. You now have to do the old fashion process of printing it out, signing it with a pen and either faxing it back to them or re-scanning it in and then emailing it. That's still a pretty big slow-down.
So many processes do have paperless systems in place and you find yourself humming along, filling out these forms. But inevitably, we get stopped at the same place and efficiency comes to a grinding halt. So I'm going to show you a way today. Using the free Adobe Reader that you can download from Adobe.com, a few ways to get that signature on the paper without having to print it out. So I've got my form here, and even in Microsoft Word, you can simply do a File>Save As and save it as a PDF file, and get it to this point.
Or maybe your company's vacation request form already is in PDF format. From whatever way you got to, though, we're here, and I've got it open with the free Adobe Reader software. From here, on the right-hand side, click the Sign button. Now, if you don't see that, you can simply select View from the top menu and choose Sign. It's going to bring up the sidebar here, and here's where we need to sign the document. So, there's a few ways that we can do it. Right now, I'm interested in the Place Signature area.
So I click Place Signature, this is going to bring up a dialog box, in which you have a few options. Because we haven't purchased or created a certificate, that option is grayed out. But remember, we're talking about an ink signature now. So instead of typing out, select Draw my Signature. And now, you simply have to use the mouse to draw your signature into the box. Now, I'm going to make my best attempt right now. I will tell you, I'm left handed, so we'll see what I come up with.
I have a few T's I have to cross here. When you're happy with it, you can either click the blue Accept button or Clear Signature to start all over again, if you really mess things up. I'm going to stick with that, though, so I'll click the blue Accept button. Now I can simply move my mouse to wherever I want to place that signature. I can put it right above the line, click the mouse and it's now inserted my signature. Now from here, all I have to do is on the right-hand side of the screen select Signed.
And then proceed to Send. So now I can send it via email and I've gone completely paperless. I didn't have to print this out to sign it. The really neat thing, I'm going to click the Back to Fill and Sign button, is the next time I need to sign a document, I can simply click Place Signature And it's going to remember my signature. So I can click on it anywhere I need to in that document. So take a few minutes and get a good signature stored in Adobe Reader.
So that whenever it's time for that ink signature, you don't have to slow down your work or print it out and fax it back. You can simply stamp your real signature and be on your way.
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