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Friday, September 10, 2021

How to Add Digital Signatures to Documents with ONLYOFFICE

We live in an era where there is a rising tide of demand for electronic document workflows. With everything becoming more and more digitalized, it’s vitally important to protect your information and stick to the advanced security norms. That’s why today digital signatures have become a must-have in all spheres of business, as they are considered equivalent to physical signatures. In this article, you will learn how to digitally sign your documents and find out what you need for that. 

What is a digital signature?

A digital signature can be defined as a cryptographic mechanism, which allows the recipient of a digitally signed document to determine the issuer and confirm that the document has not been altered since it was signed. The application of cryptographic algorithms, which modify the document data and make it unintelligible to an unauthorized recipient, is what defines such important security characteristics as authentication, integrity, and non-repudiation.

Digital signatures are based on public-key systems, and a key pair is used for sending the document. One of the keys is private and it is the key held by the sender of the document (owner). The second key (also known as the public key) is given to the recipient to allow them to access the document.

Digital signatures are widely accepted and considered legal in many spheres. To be able to sign your documents digitally, you need to have a certificate issued by a Certificate Authority (CA).

How to add an invisible digital signature using ONLYOFFICE Desktop Editors

If you have a valid certificate issued by a Certificate Authority (CA), you need some suitable software to sign your documents. One of the best tools that can be used for this purpose is ONLYOFFICE Desktop Editors. It’s an open-source office suite that runs on Windows, Linux, and macOS and is completely compatible with Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. It’s available for free, so you don’t have to pay anything. 

The application allows you to add two types of digital signatures. A visible digital signature holds a visible marker showing that the document has been already signed. An invisible digital signature has no visible marks.

To add an invisible signature, follow these simple steps:

  1. Open the required document with ONLYOFFICE Desktop Editors. 
  2. Go to the Protection tab on the top toolbar.
  3. Click Signature.
  4. Choose to “Add a digital signature” (if you have made some changes, you’ll be offered to save the document).
  5. Fill in Purpose for signing this document.

Digital Signatures

6. Select a digital certificate by clicking the Select button.

Digital Signatures

7. Click OK.

Now there is an invisible digital signature in your document. The document is now protected from being edited by others. A pop-up window on the right sidebar will show that there is a digital signature in the document.

Digital Signatures

How to add a visible digital signature using ONLYOFFICE Desktop Editors

Using ONLYOFFICE Desktop Editors, you can also add visible digital signatures indicating your name. The procedure is very similar to the one described above but you need to add a signature line first. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Open the required file with ONLYOFFICE Desktop Editors. 
  2. Click where you want to add a signature line.
  3. Go to the Protection tab on the top toolbar.
  4. Click Signature.
  5. Choose Add signature line (save the document if you have made some changes to it).
  6. Fill in all the required fields (Name, Signer Title, E-mail, Instructions for Signer).

Digital Signatures

7. Check Show sign date in signature line if necessary.

8. Click OK.

Now you can add a visible digital signature:

  1. Double-click the signature line you have just added.
  2. Click Sign.
  3. Choose if you want to input your name or upload an image.
  4. Fill in the corresponding fields – Signer name, Font, and size.

Digital Signatures

5. Select a digital certificate by clicking the Select button

6. Click OK.

With the digital signature added, you can save the document locally and send it by email. The recipients will be aware of the authenticity and integrity of your document.

If you want to delete the signature for some reason, click Edit anyway in the pop-up window on the right sidebar, and it will be removed automatically.

Alternatively, you can watch this YouTube video to learn how to add and remove digital signatures using ONLYOFFICE Desktop Editors:

Digital Signatures

We hope that you find this guide helpful. Now you know how to easily protect your confidential information with digital signatures, no matter which types of documents you deal with: legal contracts, employment agreements, business reports, balance sheets, etc.

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Daniyel Carlson
Daniyel Carlson is a Young Researcher in the field of Data Science & Analytics having research experience of more than 8 years. He has a Masters in Computer Engineering and currently serves as an Editorial Assistant in IGI Global, United States of America. Daniyel also holds honorary positions in the Associate Member of Institute of Research Engineers and Doctors, International Association of Computer Science and Information Technology, International Association of Engineers, Society of Digital Information and Wireless Communications.

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