The signature has always been considered an official endorsement of a document. Even with email and other forms of electronic communication, there has still been a large reliance of the old pen signature to endorse it. The incorporation with electronic systems involved downloading the document, printing it off, picking up a pen with either black or blue ink and signing off at the appropriate places, scanning the document once signed, uploading it, attaching the paperwork to an email, and then finally sending off that email back in reply with your signature.
There have been some workarounds, personally I use NitroPDF which allows me to embed a digital image of my scanned signature to any PDFs. Digital signature goes further as it can ensure that the document content has not been tampered with after it was signed. In addition, the document version history can let recipients see when a document was signed and see when any changes were made to it. This revision history is encrypted and stored inside the PDF and can be viewed at anytime via the Signatures pane.
More recently, attempting to revolutionise the digital signature is HelloSign, an electronic signature app that is now available as a Gmail plug-in. As a plug-in, HelloSign’s new plug-in enables Gmail users to open and sign their attachments with legally binding (depending on which countries, for now it’s the United States and Europe) signatures in Gmail without needing to download and upload to another site. You don’t even need to leave your Gmail inbox – emails that arrive with PDF attachments included come with signature options which you can upload a saved signature on or draw a new one on the app, paste it in, add any other additional information, and send the PDF back immediately with the new signature saved to use for future documents. This makes it even easier than Nitro in certain aspects, eliminating the need to download and re-attach the file. However, NitroPDF has the added advantage of being able to annotate on PDF so I could fill out a blank PDF form on Nitro, sign it, then send it off.
An added feature is the ability to request for signature and to link users to HelloSign. For further eSignature functionality, such as sending a signature request or creating a template to be signed, users are encouraged to go to http://www.hellosign.com.
Also, the creator of Gmail Paul Buchheit who has given the company his blessing by saying, “HelloSign for Gmail is awesome!”. That’s quite a good source of validation and credits to the company.