Picture of Make a digital signature, use less paper
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There are lots of applications out there for editing PDF files, one really handy tool is adding the ability to sign forms without printing them and scanning them just to email them away again. 

However not everyone knows how to make the image, it's really easy though. 

As a suggestion I wouldn't save this image anywhere but a personal flash drive or in a password protected folder, since it could be used to help falsify your identity. You could sign it differently from your written signature and keep track of when you used it, you'll always know which is which and if you signed the document that way, plus if anyone gets the file they'll not be able to hand forge your signature with it.

You'll need:
 - A scanner or camera with macro
 - A pen and paper
 - Photoshop or Gimp (instructions for both included)
 - A PDF editor
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Step 1: Write and scan

Picture of Write and scan
Write you signature a few times on a piece of paper with space around each one, use a black or very dark blue pen. 

Now if you're scanning, use black and white mode, I used photo preset but document will likely work fine too. 

Save the file somewhere. 

If you're taking a photo of the signature make sure it is in focus, evenly lit and from a perpendicular angle to the paper. 

For the photo takers, use black and white. 

Step 2: Open and crop

Picture of Open and crop
Open the file in your chosen program and crop it down to just the signature. 

Clean up any dirt marks with a white brush. 

For photoshop use the crop tool (c) and pull the box down around the signature you want, rotate as needed. 

For gimp use the selection tool then go to image>crop to selection
awonderland8 months ago

Thanks for sharing! From my point of view, using an electronic signature application would be a better choice because your identity could be authenticated and you won't be worried about your signature image being stolen.

I used Signority ( free plan to sign some agreements. It is pretty intuitive and easy to use. You can also upgrade your account if you are a heavy user. I like the application so far.

BrittLiv4 years ago
Hi, very interesting I would vectorize it though, than it can be scaled better and doesn't look so rough.

Just open it in inkscape, hit shift+alt+b and then ok. This is how my turned out without any further changes (there is of course room for optimisation):
killerjackalope (author)  BrittLiv4 years ago
Illustrator has the same function aswell, I didn't want to add any other layers of complexity to something simple but it's a great tip.

A vector version would be handy, for scaling as needed but it does need to be a PNG or a GIF file with a transparent background to work with every PDF editor I've come across. Unless you just live with the white box thing...
philip424 years ago
One extreme caution when doing this is it's relatively easy to copy a graphic from a PDF file. Even if the file is locked a simple screen capture can make a copy of the signature. That copy can easily be put into other documents as digital forgeries.
killerjackalope (author)  philip424 years ago
True, I mentioned that issue in the introduction and ways to help guard against this issue, though if it happens it'll only help after the fact. Though this method is handy for in-house and trusted form sending.
Ninzerbean4 years ago
I have done the same thing with a Wacom tablet, but how many people have one - great idea, thanks for sharing.
killerjackalope (author)  Ninzerbean4 years ago

I miss having a tablet handy, more for artistic stuff but being able to write on the computer as well as type is really nice.

Some scanners come with software that lets you choose handwriting, it supposed to be for text recognition but you could probably make it do it with out the imaging stuff here.