How to electronically sign documents – A comprehensive guide

How do you e sign

Electronic signing, also known as e-signing, has become a popular way of signing documents in today’s digital world. It offers a convenient and efficient way for individuals and businesses to sign important papers without the need for hand-written signatures.

When you e-sign a document, you are essentially using a digital image of your signature that is created using advanced encryption techniques. These digital signatures are typically hosted online and can be accessed and used whenever needed. This means that you don’t have to physically sign each document, making the process much faster and more convenient.

So how does e-signing work? The process is usually simple and requires just a few steps. First, the signer needs to select a suitable e-signature service that offers the required levels of security and meets their specific needs. Once selected, the signer will usually need to create an account and provide some basic information.

After signing up, the signer can then upload the documents that need to be signed. The e-signature service will typically provide easy-to-follow instructions on how to fill out and sign each document, either by typing or by using a mouse to create an electronic signature. Some services even offer the option to upload an image of your hand-written signature, if that is required.

Once the documents have been filled out and signed, the signer can then review and make any necessary changes or edits. This step is important, as any errors or invalid signatures can render the document legally binding. After everything has been checked and verified, the signer can then click ‘sign’ to finalize the process.

Upon clicking ‘sign’, the e-signature service will use advanced encryption techniques to digitally sign the document. This ensures that the document cannot be tampered with or changed after it has been signed. The digitally signed document will then be available for download, typically in the AES or DigiDoc format.

It’s important to note that e-signatures are legally binding in most countries, including Estonia. However, some documents may still require hand-written signatures or additional layers of security. It’s always a good idea to check the requirements for each document before using e-signatures.

Digital signing and electronic signatures

In today’s digital world, there are various methods available for electronic signing. These methods vary depending on the level of security and authenticity required. Here, we will discuss three levels of electronic signatures to cater to different needs and backgrounds.

  • Level 1: The most basic type of electronic signature, this level is simple and easy to create. It typically involves a user electronically signing a document by clicking a button or following instructions.
  • Level 2: Moving up from level 1, this type of electronic signature may require additional authentication, such as typing in a unique code or password. This adds an extra layer of security to the process.
  • Level 3: The highest level of electronic signatures, level 3 involves advanced technology and requires biometric authentication. This means the signer’s identity is verified using unique physical characteristics, like a fingerprint or facial recognition.

Electronic signatures have revolutionized the way we sign documents. In the past, signing a document meant physically printing, signing, and scanning it back into a computer. Now, with digital signing, you can sign documents electronically without the need for any physical papers or ink.

There are multiple ways to create e-signatures. Some examples include using a digital certificate or AES encryption. These methods ensure the validity and security of the electronic signatures.

For most electronically signed documents, a simple click or typing of the signer’s initials is enough to meet the requirements for a valid electronic signature. However, in some cases, such as legal documents, more advanced electronic signatures may be required.

Earlier, we mentioned the term “digidoc.” Digidoc is a technology that hosts electronic signatures and ensures their authenticity and validity. The Digidoc server validates the signatures and protects against any tampering or invalidation of the document.

When you sign a document electronically, it will be saved in a digital format, such as a Word document or PDF. To open and read the document, you may need to download the appropriate software or use an online document viewer. These software or services will allow you to view and access the contents of the digitally signed document.

A visually distinguishable electronic signature often carries a green tick mark or a seal to indicate its validity. This ensures that the recipient can easily identify the document as electronically signed and trustworthy.

To sum it up, digital signing and electronic signatures have changed the way we sign documents. With different levels of security, individuals from various backgrounds can afford to sign electronically. Whether it’s a simple click or a more advanced biometric authentication, electronic signatures provide a secure means of signing documents without the need for physical papers or ink.

eSign your document or send for signatures

eSign your document or send for signatures

Electronic signatures, also known as eSignatures, are a convenient and secure way to sign your documents without the need for pen and paper. Whether you need to sign a simple agreement or send a document to multiple recipients for their signatures, eSigning offers a straightforward and efficient solution.

There are various platforms and software available that allow you to create and manage digitally signed documents. For example, you can start by selecting a suitable eSign platform such as AES, Digital Signatures, or RSign. These platforms offer different levels of security and functionality, so choose the one that meets your specific needs.

To sign a document electronically, you might need to create an account or register with the eSign platform. Once you’re set up, you can upload your document (such as a Word file or PDF) and proceed with the signing process. Most eSign platforms will guide you through each step, allowing you to add your signature, initials, or even create a digital signature using your mouse or touchpad.

Before signing, it’s essential to read the document carefully and make any necessary edits or changes. Some eSign platforms allow you to make annotations or comments directly on the document, ensuring that all parties are on the same page before signing.

eSigning offers several advantages over traditional pen-and-paper signatures. Firstly, it saves time, as you can sign documents from anywhere, anytime, without the need for physical meetings. Secondly, it is cost-effective, as you don’t need to print, scan, or mail documents. Thirdly, eSignatures are legally valid and secure, thanks to the use of encryption and technical safeguards.

When you eSign a document, it typically involves three levels of security. Firstly, the eSign platform uses advanced encryption algorithms to protect the document during transmission and storage. Secondly, your signature or digital signature is unique to you and verifies the authenticity of the document. Finally, the eSign platform will provide a digital certificate that attests to the integrity and validity of the document.

It’s important to note that the legal validity of electronic signatures may vary by country or jurisdiction. However, most countries, including Estonia, have established legal frameworks for eSignatures that ensure their legality and enforceability.

Whether you need to sign a contract, agreement, or any other document, eSigning offers a simple and efficient solution. It allows you to send documents for signatures, track their progress, and receive notifications once the document has been signed by all parties involved.

So, next time you need to sign or send a document, consider eSigning. It’s free, secure, and convenient, making it suitable for individuals and businesses of all backgrounds. With just a few clicks, you can sign your documents electronically and save time and effort in the process.

Step-by-step instructions

To create an e-signature, follow the step-by-step instructions below:

Step 1: Select an e-signature service
Step 2: Open the document that needs to be signed
Step 3: Click on the “Create Signature” button or a similar option
Step 4: If available, choose the type of signature you want to use (e.g., hand-written, initials)
Step 5: Enter your user information, such as name and email
Step 6: If prompted, select a certificate or other means of authentication
Step 7: Read and accept any terms, conditions, or warnings
Step 8: Just sign the document using the provided tools
Step 9: Once signed, the document can be saved and sent to the recipient

Note: Depending on the e-signature service used, the steps may vary slightly. Some services may offer additional features like biometric technology or multiple types of signatures.

In Estonia, the most commonly used e-signature standards are X-Road and DigiDoc. These standards ensure that e-signatures are legally binding and meet the security requirements.

Remember that e-signatures are legally equal to hand-written signatures and have been widely adopted for their convenience and security. However, it is important to choose a trusted e-signature service to ensure the validity of the signed documents.

1 Upload a document

One of the first steps to e-signing a document is uploading it. Typically, this is done by selecting the “upload” option on the electronic signature service you are using.

When you upload a document, you need to make sure it is in a format that is compatible with the e-signature service. Most e-signature services will have a list of supported file types, so you can check if your document meets the requirements.

Once you have selected the document you want to sign, just follow the step-by-step instructions provided by the e-signature service. In most cases, you can simply drag and drop the document into the designated area, or click on a button to browse your computer for the file.

When the document is uploaded, you may need to review and confirm any background information or settings that the e-signature service requires. These settings can vary depending on the situation and the level of security needed for the document.

Once the document is uploaded and any necessary settings are applied, you can begin the signing process. This typically involves selecting the “sign” option, either by clicking a button or using a mouse to draw your signature. Some e-signature services also offer the option to type your signature or choose from pre-designed hand-written variants.

After you have applied your signature, the document will be ready for electronic signing. At this point, you can also add any additional information or edits that may be required. Some e-signature services allow you to open the document for review and make changes before finalizing the signature.

Before finalizing the signature, it is important to read any instructions or warnings provided by the e-signature service. This can include information about the legal validity of the signature and any additional steps that may be required.

Once you are ready to finalize the signature, you can do so by clicking a button or selecting the appropriate option. This will typically generate a timestamped certificate or confirmation of the e-signature.

In summary, uploading a document is the first step of the e-signature process. It allows you to electronically sign a document without the need for paper or physical signatures. By using the AES technology and hosted SES services, which are commonly used for e-signatures, you can ensure that your document is secure and legally valid.

2 Apply your edits

Once you have reviewed the document and made the necessary changes, it’s time to apply your edits and finalize the document.

When it comes to electronic signatures, there are different methods and tools that can be used. Some services require a handwritten signature, which can be digitized using a scanner or a specialized device. However, the most common and advanced method is to use digital signatures.

A digital signature is a type of electronic signature that is created using a digital certificate. It is more secure and suitable for most situations. It provides a higher level of validity and authentication, as it is based on a unique digital identifier.

Applying your edits using a digital signature is simple. Just select the “Apply” or “Sign” button on the document, usually located at the top or bottom of the page. By clicking this button, you will initiate the process of applying your changes and creating your electronic signature.

Some services might require you to create an account or sign in before you can apply your edits. Others might allow you to open the document and apply your edits without any additional steps.

Once you have clicked the “Apply” button, a new window or pop-up will open, giving you options for creating your electronic signature. Depending on the service or software you are using, you may be able to choose from different types of e-signatures, such as typed, biometric, or even hand-written signatures.

If you are using a hosted service, like Adobe Sign or DocuSign, you will have access to more advanced options. These services often provide additional features, such as the ability to add a background image or change the font and color of your signature.

Keep in mind that the level of technology and features available may vary depending on the service you are using. Some services may require you to purchase a digital certificate or subscribe to a higher-level plan in order to access more advanced signature options.

Once you have selected your desired signature type and made any additional changes, you can proceed with applying your edits. The software or service will guide you through the process, ensuring that your signature is correctly applied to the document.

It’s important to note that digitally signed documents meet the same legal standards as hand-written signatures. They are considered legally valid and binding in most countries without the need for additional steps or certifications.

However, it’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the specific laws and requirements regarding electronic signatures in your country or region. Some countries may have their own standards and regulations that need to be followed.

Now that you know how to apply your edits and create your electronic signature, you can start using e-signature services with confidence and efficiency. They offer a convenient and secure way to sign documents, allowing you to digitize and streamline your workflow.

3 Create an eSignature

When it comes to creating an eSignature, there are several options available. Each option has its own advantages and is suitable for different situations. Below, we will go through three different ways to create an eSignature.

1. Hand-written eSignature: This is the simplest and most common method. It allows you to sign a document by using your mouse or finger to draw your signature directly on the screen. This type of eSignature only requires a simple image of your signature, without any technical background checks or authentication.

Pros: Easy to create and use
Cons: Can be easily copied or forged

2. Typed eSignature: This method involves typing your name or initials as your eSignature. It is typically used for less important documents that do not require a high level of authentication. Typed eSignatures can be downloaded or copy-pasted into documents.

Pros: Quick and convenient
Cons: Less secure and easily replicable

3. Digital eSignature: This is the most advanced and secure type of eSignature. It is created using technology known as digital signatures. Digital eSignatures are binding and have legal validity. They require a higher level of authentication through a hosted server. Digital eSignatures are typically used for important documents that require a higher level of security and authentication.

Pros: Highly secure and legally binding
Cons: May require additional technical setup

In Estonia, for example, their national digital identification system (e-Residency) allows users to create digitally signed documents and electronically sign them using a Qualified Electronic Signature (QES). This technology ensures the authenticity and integrity of the signed documents.

4 Fill out the document

Once you have digitally signed the document according to the standards and instructions provided in step 3, you may now proceed to fill out the document. E-signatures allow you to fill in the necessary information electronically, without the need for hand-written signatures. This makes the process much simpler and faster.

Depending on the type of document you’re signing, the fields that need to be filled out may vary. Some documents might require you to enter personal information, such as your name, address, and contact details, while others may require you to select certain options from given choices. You will also find that some documents have background information or instructions provided to help you fill them out correctly.

When filling out the document, make sure to follow the prompts and provide the required information accurately. Some fields might be pre-filled or auto-populated, which can make the process faster and more convenient. However, if any information appears to be incorrect or invalid, double-check and make the necessary corrections.

Once you have filled out all the required fields, carefully review the document to ensure everything is complete and accurate. Check for any warnings or messages that might indicate missing or incorrect information. If everything looks good, you can proceed to the next step.

It’s important to note that the level of information required may vary depending on the e-signature service or platform you’re using. Some platforms may only require basic information, while others might have additional security measures, such as biometric authentication or qualified electronic signatures (QES), which require more advanced identification methods.

In situations where you need to sign multiple documents, you may have to repeat this step for each document. However, if the documents are hosted on a platform or service that allows batch signing, you can select multiple documents to sign all at once.

Once you have filled out the document and reviewed it for accuracy, you can proceed to sign it digitally. This will mark the document as signed and ready to be sent or downloaded, depending on your specific needs.

5 Download your document for free

Once your document has been signed electronically and all necessary edits and approvals have been completed, you can easily download the final document for free.

Most electronic signature services offer a simple and user-friendly interface that allows you to download the signed document with just a few clicks.

Here’s how you can download your document:

  1. Select the document you need to download
  2. Click on the “Download” button or icon
  3. Choose the format in which you want to download the document (such as PDF or DOC)
  4. Save the document to your computer or device

It’s important to note that the downloaded document will have the same legal and technical validity as the electronically signed version. The digital signature ensures the integrity and authenticity of the document, so you can confidently use it for any business or legal purposes.

Downloading the document also gives you the flexibility to print a hard copy if needed or keep an electronic copy for your records.

With e-signatures, you no longer need to wait for physical documents to be signed, sent, and received. The digital process saves time and offers a higher level of security with various levels of encryption and biometric means. Additionally, it eliminates the need for hand-written signatures, making it suitable for every situation.

By using electronic signature services, you can fill and sign documents online from anywhere, at any time, and give other parties access to sign them electronically following the provided instructions. E-signatures allow for different variants, such as typing your name, selecting an image, or using a code sent to your email.

In summary, e-signatures offer a simple, secure, and free way to sign documents electronically. Whether you’re a business owner, an individual, or working in a professional setting, e-signatures provide a convenient and efficient solution for signing documents of all types. Try e-signature services like AES, DigiDoc, or SES to experience the benefits of digital signatures yourself.

Electronic Signature Examples and Types

An electronic signature, or e-signature, is a digital signature that is used to sign documents electronically. These signatures are just like traditional signatures, but they are created using digital technology instead of pen and paper.

There are different types of electronic signatures, each with their own level of security and suitability for different situations. Here are some examples:

  1. Simple Electronic Signatures (SES): This is the most basic type of e-signature. It allows you to create a signature by typing your name, initials, or any other identifying information. SES does not require any additional standards or certificates.
  2. Advanced Electronic Signatures (AES): AES offers a higher level of security than SES. It uses a qualified certificate to create a digital signature that is unique to the signer. AES is typically used for important documents that require a higher level of security.
  3. Qualified Electronic Signatures (QES): QES is the highest level of electronic signature. It is created using a qualified certificate and meets all legal standards. QES is often used for legal and financial documents.

One example of a country that has embraced electronic signatures is Estonia. In Estonia, they have developed the DigiDoc technology, which allows citizens to sign documents electronically. DigiDoc offers three different levels of signatures: Level 1 for simple signing, Level 2 for advanced signing, and Level 3 for qualified signing.

When using an online e-signature service, like RSign, the process is simple and straightforward. Below are the steps to create and send an e-signature:

  1. Open the document you want to sign.
  2. Fill in the required information.
  3. Click on the “Sign” button.
  4. Follow the instructions to create your e-signature.
  5. Review the document and make any necessary edits.
  6. Click on the “Send” button to send the signed document.

It’s important to note that not every situation requires an electronic signature. Some documents may have specific requirements or restrictions that do not apply to e-signatures. Always read the instructions and warnings given with the document to determine if an electronic signature is suitable.

Electronic signatures are a convenient and secure way to sign documents without the need for printing or scanning. They can be used for a wide range of purposes, from signing contracts to approving business transactions. By using e-signatures, you can save time, reduce paper waste, and streamline your document signing process.

Simple Electronic Signature SES

A Simple Electronic Signature (SES) is a type of e-signature that allows users to sign digital documents without the need for a pen and paper. Unlike handwritten signatures, SES do not require physical contact with a document. Instead, they use different technical means to create a valid and secure signature.

SES can come in various forms, such as a typed name, initials, a scanned image of a signature, or even a digital fingerprint. Each variant has its own level of security and validity, making SES suitable for different levels of authentication.

The simplest form of SES is a typed name or initials. Users can simply type their name or initials into a document, and the software will automatically convert it into a digital signature. This type of SES is the least secure and can easily be changed or copied, making it suitable for low-risk or internal documents.

A more secure SES option is a scanned image of a handwritten signature. Users can scan their signature and save it as an image file. They can then insert the image into a document by clicking on the appropriate location. This type of SES provides a higher level of security, as it is difficult to forge or tamper with an image without leaving visible traces. However, it still lacks the same level of authenticity as a hand-written signature.

In more formal or regulated environments, SES can be created using specialized software or online services. These services typically require users to follow specific instructions to create a digital signature. The software or service will then create a unique digital code that represents the signature. This code can be embedded directly into the document or stored separately. It allows for a higher level of security and meets the requirements of qualified electronic signatures (QES).

An SES can be as simple as typing a name or as complex as using biometric information for authentication. The choice of SES depends on the level of security and authenticity required for each specific document or business transaction.

In summary, SES offers a simple and convenient way to sign digital documents without the need for physical signatures. It allows for different levels of security and authenticity, depending on the chosen method. SES options can range from a basic typed name to more advanced techniques that require specialized software and biometric data. With SES, users can sign documents digitally and securely, making it a valuable tool for modern businesses.

Advanced Electronic Signature AES

An Advanced Electronic Signature (AES) is a type of electronic signature that offers a higher level of security and validity compared to other types of e-signatures. AES ensures that the signed document cannot be tampered with or altered without detection.

There are different levels of electronic signatures, and AES is considered the highest level. It provides a higher level of assurance and authentication, making it suitable for situations where the security and integrity of the signed document are crucial.

An AES uses advanced technology such as biometric authentication, hand-written signatures, or other secure methods to ensure the identity of the user. This means that the signature cannot be easily forged or duplicated, providing a higher level of security compared to other types of e-signatures.

To create and use an AES, you will typically need to use specialized software or online services that offer AES functionality. These services may require you to download and install software on your computer or provide an online platform where you can upload the document and sign it digitally.

When signing a document with an AES, you may be given instructions on how to create your signature. This could involve using a mouse to draw your signature or typing it out using a specific font or style. Some AES options may allow you to upload an image of your signature to use as an electronic signature.

It is important to note that in some countries, AES has specific legal requirements and qualifications to ensure its validity. For example, in Estonia, only qualified AES certificates are considered legally binding. Therefore, it is vital to research and follow the regulations that apply to the specific jurisdiction you are in.

When using an AES, it is always recommended to keep the signing process secure. This includes ensuring that the document is not modified after signing, keeping the signing server secure, and using secure communication channels when transmitting the signed document.

Examples of AES variants include Qualified Electronic Signatures (QES), which have been authenticated by a qualified trust service provider. QES signatures have a higher level of legality and are often used for legally binding documents.

Overall, AES is an advanced electronic signature technology that provides a high level of security and validity for your online documents. By using an AES, you can ensure that your electronic signatures are legally binding and cannot be easily tampered with or invalidated.

Qualified Electronic Signature QES

A Qualified Electronic Signature (QES) is a type of electronic signing that is widely used in Estonia. Users usually rely on QES for most of their electronic document signing needs. QES is based on the open technology called Secure Electronic Signature (SES), which ensures that every signing is technically hosted securely.

This type of electronic signature is often used in situations where a higher level of security is required, such as in business transactions or legal documents. QES provides different variants of electronic signatures, from simple to more advanced types. They’re even suitable for filling out forms or contracts.

When creating a QES, you typically need to go through a series of steps without any warning. It involves downloading a software that will act as a server for your electronic signature. This server is used to authenticate and verify the validity of your signature.

QES is more secure than other types of electronic signatures. It gives your document a green light, ensuring that it has not been tampered with or altered in any way. Unlike handwritten signatures, QES provides a higher level of security through biometric and digitally equal verification. This makes it nearly impossible for the signature to be changed through any means.

Each QES is unique and suitable for a specific situation. It provides a high level of security and validity to your document, giving it the same weight as a hand-written signature.

Examples of QES can be seen in various fields, such as e-identification, e-Government services, e-healthcare, and more. QES is a reliable method of signing electronically and is widely used for its security, convenience, and trustworthiness.

Is Electronic Signature for You

In today’s digital age, electronic signatures have become an integral part of many businesses and industries. But is it the right solution for you? Let’s take a closer look at what electronic signatures are and how they can benefit you.

Electronic signatures, or e-signatures, are a technology that allows you to sign documents online without the need for hand-written signatures. They come in various variants like digital signatures, eSignatures, and others. E-signatures will typically require you to upload the documents you need to sign and then guide you through a series of simple steps to select the type of e-signature that best suits your situation. Some services, like RSign from Crème de la Crème, even offer additional security levels that meet the most stringent business or legal requirements.

One of the biggest advantages of electronic signatures is their convenience. Instead of printing out documents, signing them by hand, and then scanning or faxing them back, you can simply sign them electronically with just a few clicks. This not only saves you time and effort but also allows you to easily send signed documents to multiple recipients without the need for printing or postage. Additionally, electronic signatures are legally binding and provide the same level of authenticity as hand-written signatures.

The technology behind electronic signatures ensures that the signed documents cannot be changed or tampered with after they have been signed. Each document is assigned a unique digital code or certificate, which validates the authenticity of the signature and ensures its integrity. This means that once a document has been signed electronically, any edits or modifications made to it will be immediately detectable. Furthermore, electronic signatures provide a clear audit trail, allowing you to track who signed the document and when.

There are different types of electronic signatures that you can choose from, depending on your specific needs and requirements. The three most common types are simple electronic signatures, advanced electronic signatures, and qualified electronic signatures. Simple electronic signatures are the most basic type and are widely used for everyday documents and situations. They do not require any specific technical background or the use of a qualified certificate. Advanced electronic signatures provide a higher level of security and typically use a qualified certificate issued by a trusted authority. Finally, qualified electronic signatures are the most secure and are usually used in situations that require the highest level of assurance and trust.

So, is electronic signature for you? If you’re looking for a faster, more efficient, and secure way to sign and send documents, then electronic signatures might just be the solution you’ve been waiting for. Whether you’re a business owner, a freelancer, a legal professional, or simply someone who frequently deals with paperwork, e-signatures can streamline your document signing process and save you valuable time and resources.

In conclusion, electronic signatures offer numerous benefits that make them a compelling choice for individuals and businesses alike. From convenience and security to cost savings and improved efficiency, e-signatures have become a critical tool in the modern digital world.


There are several types of electronic signatures that you can use to sign documents digitally. Each type offers different levels of security and is suitable for different needs. Here are some examples:

  1. Hand-written signatures: This is the most basic and widely used type of e-signature. It requires you to physically sign on a document using a mouse or a touchpad. However, these signatures may be harder to read and can be easily invalidated.

  2. Typed signatures: This type of e-signature allows you to type your name or initials into a document. It is simple and easy to use, but it may not have the same level of legal validity as hand-written signatures.

  3. Image signatures: With this type of e-signature, you can upload an image of your signature to the document. It offers a more visually appealing signature but requires an additional step of uploading the image.

  4. Biometric signatures: These advanced e-signatures use biometric data, such as fingerprints or facial recognition, to verify your identity. They provide a high level of security but may require specialized hardware or software.

  5. Digital signatures: This is the most secure type of e-signature. It utilizes encryption technology to ensure the authenticity and integrity of the document. Digital signatures are usually used in a business or legal context and require a digital certificate from a trusted certificate authority.

These are just a few examples of the different types of electronic signatures available. Depending on your needs, you might find some of these options more suitable than others. It’s important to choose a type of e-signature that offers the level of security and simplicity that you require.

In Estonia, for example, there’s a widely used e-signature technology called DigiDoc. It allows individuals and businesses to sign documents online using their national ID card or mobile ID. It offers different variants, such as mobile-ID, ID-card, and e-resident digital signatures. DigiDoc is widely accepted and legally binding.

One popular e-signature service is RSign, which offers a free version that allows you to sign up to 3 documents per month. It’s a simple and user-friendly platform that lets you sign documents digitally by simply clicking to apply your signature.

It’s worth noting that not every country has the same legal framework for e-signatures. Make sure to do your research and follow the regulations in your jurisdiction before relying on e-signatures.

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