Electronically Sign Forms/Documents


Electronic and digital signatures, SignNow (Sign Now), Adobe Acrobat, Google


How can I sign a document electronically? 

How can I sign a form that was sent to me to sign?


A "digital signature" is an electronic signature that is authorized, verified, and secure and meets compliance standards for most procurement, purchasing, and legal document needs. However, not all signatures need to be official "digital signatures" and many times you can sign with just an electronic signature.  

Electronic Signature

The following options will work for an electronic signature. Depending on your specific need, you can decide which one best suits your needs. 

  • Adobe Acrobat DC: Fill & Sign functionality offers a way to sign documents/forms sent to U-M faculty, staff, and students for information and signatures
    • This tool does not provide an official digital signature, and does not meet the compliance standards for most procurement, purchasing, and legal document needs
    • However, it is a good option for some business practices, and it is available for active faculty, staff, and students at no cost
    • Here are the general instructions on how to use Adobe Acrobat Fill & Sign functionality: https://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/using/fill-and-sign.html
  • Google Docs: Insert Drawing using a Scribble line also offers a way to sign documents/forms sent to U-M faculty, staff, and students for signature
    • Similar to Adobe Acrobat DC Fill & Sign functionality, this tool does not provide a digital signature, but for some business practices, it may be sufficient for your needs
    • Google Docs is used widely throughout the university, and the built-in functionality to retain edit history on the document offers a means to know when the signature is applied
    • In addition, once signed, you can always save the document in a pdf format
  1. Place cursor where you want to sign
  2. Select Insert -> Drawing-> + New
  3. Select Line -> Scribble
  4. Draw Signature, then Save and Close

When using either of these options, please remember if your documents/forms contain sensitive data, make sure to store them appropriately according to the Sensitive Data Guide to IT Services: https://safecomputing.umich.edu/dataguide/.

Digital Signature

If you need to use an official digital signature, you can use the University’s e-signature service, SignNow. This service enables users to electronically prepare and send university business documents for the purpose of requesting and obtaining digital signatures and other information on those documents.

Additional Information

Note: Adobe has removed the Adobe Sign e-signature feature (which is different from Adobe Fill & Sign) licensed through U-M’s campus agreement. You will see an error to contact an administrator if you try to request a signature using Adobe Sign.

Need additional information or assistance? Contact the ITS Service Center.

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Article ID: 6980
Tue 1/11/22 1:46 PM
Tue 5/30/23 10:45 AM