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How to add an electronic signature to Google Docs

From liquid wax seals to online signatures on PDFs, technology has come a long way. Signatures via google docs should ideally have been the next logical step in automating workflow since a lot of teams use Google Docs for cross-team collaboration. Unfortunately, this technological progress slowed down with the invention of the PDF 31 years ago. 

Even today, both independent contractors and CEOs continue to download PDF documents and add signatures to them manually. 

In an age where the global digital signature market is projected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 31.0%, it appears hazardous to not ride this tide and automate e-signing in your company. 

But with many companies using Google Docs to collaborate across teams and processes, the question raised is, “how can I add signatures to a google doc?” and “are they legally binding?” 

This guide will answer all of these questions and more. Here’s what you will learn:

  • How to add an electronic signature to Google Docs?
  • Can I add a signature directly to a document in Google Docs?
  • Method 1: Using the Google Docs Drawing Tool to draw a signature
  • Method 2: Using a Google Doc Signature Add-on
  • Method 3: Inserting an Image as a Google Doc signature
  • Method 4: Using a cursive font to add a Google Doc signature
  • Will signatures turn Google Docs into contracts?
  • How does this work in Oneflow?

Can I add a signature directly to a document in google docs? 

To put it simply—yes. It is similar to adding a signature to a PDF. And it is encouraged. Research shows that companies that go paperless reduce 90% of their processing errors on average.

But keep in mind: while you as an organization may send an invitation to a signer’s email account requesting signatures on a google doc, these signatures vary in legal binding and verification. Their legality depends on the country’s policies on e-signing. 

To get started, there are four ways to add signatures to Google Docs:

Method 1: Using the Google Docs drawing tool to draw a signature

Step 1: Go to the top left corner of google docs and click on “Insert > Drawing > New.”

Step 2: Google docs opens up a blank canvas where you can scribble using the options your signature using the “Scribble” option in the “Line” drop-down menu.

Step 3: Select “Save and Close”, and your signature appears in place of your cursor. 

Method 2: Using a Google Doc signature add-on 

Step 1: In the top left corner, go to Extensions > Add-ons > Get add-ons

Step 2: Search for “esign” or “esignature” in the search bar and you’ll be presented with a host of options. Pick whichever ones work best. 

Pro tip: Searching for “esign” or “esignature” gives you more relevant results than “signature.”

Electronic signature options with google doc extensions

Step 3: Install whichever extension works best for your needs by going through reviews and recommendations.

Step 4: Once you’ve installed the extension by following the instructions that pop up on your screen, access the extension by going to “Extensions” on the top left. 

Step 5: Add your name and choose one of the styles offered by the extension, or draw your signature manually. (You can also upload your signature).

Step 6: Click the “Insert” signature button and add it to your document. 

Step 7: You can drag and readjust the signature “image” that appears in your doc. 

Method 3: Inserting an image as a Google Doc signature

This method is simple—and a tad makeshift. 

Step 1: Sign a blank paper and take a picture of it.

Step 2: Upload this picture to your computer.

Step 3: Go to Insert > Image in the Google Docs menu bar and add the image where you need the signature. 

Pro tip: Avoid this method if you want to seem professional. Because of pixelation or yellow/warm white ambient lighting, the makeshift quality of this signature can be an eyesore. 

scanned scribbled signature to add to google doc as an image
Image source: https://www.instructables.com/How-to-Create-a-Digital-Signature/

Method 4: Using a cursive font to add a google doc signature

Use a cursive font to write your name or initials to make them stand out. 

While this might not be your actual signature, it acts as a good placeholder for the real one. The method is especially quick if you’re not looking for high-level security in your documents. 

Here’s a list of cursive fonts that google docs offers by default:

  • Caveat
  • Lobster 
  • Pacifico 

To add more fonts, click on “More fonts” from the font drop-down menu and pick one that suits your aesthetic or branding. Click “OK.”

Google Docs addition cursive font alternatives

Now that you’ve successfully added the signature to your google doc, the question becomes, “is it legally binding?”

Will an e-signature turn google docs into contracts? 

It depends on the terms laid out in the contract, unless it’s a valid electronic signature service integrated with google docs such as Oneflow.

How does this work in Oneflow? 

While all of these options to add a signature to google docs work, you may need a more easily verifiable and legally sound solution. 

This is where extensions like Oneflow can help. When you sign a document with Oneflow, it automatically creates an online certificate with the date and time of signing. 

To test this out, you can sign up for a free Oneflow account here. 

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A handy guide to online signatures

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Sell the smart way: with digital contracts

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