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Digital signatures mark a document as final, and sign them to ensure that no other user has altered the document since it was signed. We've just created an Employee Verification form that we're going to use when we roll out the new version of the Employee Handbook. We want every single current employee to read it, and to verify in a way that we can save in their file that they actually are responsible for the contents of the current version of the handbook.
It would be nice if we could save these electronically. So we're going to send them out for digital signatures here in our organization. Let's begin by clicking where we want to place a block where an employee can sign this document. On the Insert tab, we'll choose Signature Line. There's some information about how one can obtain digital signatures. You can click here to go to Microsoft Office Marketplace and look for a vendor. But we already have a digital signature to apply as do the other folks in our organization.
So I'm going to simply click OK, and the Suggested signer could be a name. But I'm simply going to put Employee, and I'm going to say Before signing this document, verify that you have read and understand the employee manual. It's what the document says but doesn't hurt. I'm going to add the date to the signature line, in case someone wants to put a date there. I don't really want any comments back. I want someone to sign or not sign this document.
So I'm going to say OK. I've just added a signature line to this document. Now I can save my document and send it to lots of people throughout the organization so that they can read the employee manual and send their signatures back to me electronically. Let me show you now what the user experience is going to be when someone opens this document. They'll see that their signature is an affirmation, and I would want to put some text here that says, "Double- click signature line to sign." We're going to double-click, this dialog box will open, the user clicks OK, and they have the ability now to sign it.
Several different things they could do. They could type their name in here, if they wish. They could select an image file of their signature. I'm going to go get one so you can see what that looks like. There is an image file of my signature. I can change the certificate that I'm using, but the digital certificate on my computer has my identity in it. I'm going to click Sign to sign this document, just like that. Notice that it is dated.
It has my signature typed, this came from my digital signature certificate, and then it has my image of my signature that I pasted in here. Notice also in the Status Bar that this document says it contains signatures. It has been marked as Final. Even though I can click Edit Anyway, I can't preserve this signature if I do. So the employees read the handbook. They digitally sign this. They attach a signature of image of a signature or not. There are some people who will put their picture there or some other icon that they know is them, will be their identity.
So it's all signed. If I turn off Mark as Final, I click Edit Anyway, it says if you do, the signatures will be gone. I'll say Yes. Notice the whole signature is gone. The signature indicator is gone. So now, if I go in and alter the document, if, for example, someone decided that rather than having me sign again, they would simply edit this and say handbooks dated April 15th and November 15th. They can't do that while my signature is on this document.
Now, I don't have to have a signature line to digitally sign a document. Let's remove the signature block. Simply delete it. If I want to digitally sign this document without the signature block that is a place that allows me to mimic the paper- based signatures that I would have used in the past, I can simply say File > Protect Document > Add a Digital Signature. It's going to be exactly the same process. My purpose for signing this document is I can type in anything I want, assure my identity, or I can leave it blank.
It says it's been saved in a document. It's been signed, Marked as Final, and here down below is the signature. Now there's no place that you see something that looks like a signature. However, if I click Anyway, it will remove this signature and if a user clicks on the Status Bar, it shows this signature here: Gini Courter signed this. I like adding the signature block in the design because it makes people feel like they really signed something, whether they put in their signature as an image or not.
I'm going to close the Signature pane, and I'm going to say Edit Anyway, which will remove this signature. Before I leave here, I want to note that you don't want to attach a file that includes your real signature, something where you've actually signed in a way like you would a check, and send that around your organization or any place else that somebody could print that or could go get it offline. It compromises your identity to do so. So again, many times people will have a printed version of their signature or when they use the signature block, they'll type their name in, or they'll insert some kind of an icon that proves that they were there.
When you're creating a document to be digitally signed, don't forget to insert a signature line. When you are signing a document, you can insert a Signature Line too, if you would rather do that, then simply apply a digital certificate.
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