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How to digitally sign a word document - need a solution that's simple and inexpensive

Posted on 2007-03-22
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Last Modified: 2012-06-21
My managers want to receive documents that they can sign digitally, so they don't have to print and sign it.  They also want it to be simple and inexpensive (preferably free!)...   what are my options?  Everyone in the office has Office 2003.

We're a small business running Small Business Server 2003 if it makes any difference.  
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Question by:swiftny
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LVL 6

Accepted Solution

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NeilParbrook earned 150 total points
ID: 18770952
Have look at this...

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/920627

Might give you a good start
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by:PC_Rob
PC_Rob earned 100 total points
ID: 18770981
Hello,

You can have the person sign a blank paper, scan it, then bring the scan into Word to use whenever needed.  We used this a couple of years ago for one of our doctors.

This article explains one way to do it.
http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_zdpcm/is_200308/ai_ziff45404

Regards,

Rob
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LVL 21

Expert Comment

by:Eric Fletcher
ID: 18771972
If you use the method of inserting a picture of a signature (per the link Rob provided), you can make it more realistic and avoid the spacing issues related to placing an image. Save the scanned signature as a GIF and specify that the white (from the paper) be transparent. Then, when you insert the image into your Word document, double-click it to open the Format Picture dialog and in the Layout tab, choose "In front of text". Now the image will lay "on top" of the text so if you position it to overlap the typed closing, it will look more realistic.

This is even more realistic if you can use a coloured scan and a colour printer.
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by:Eric Fletcher
Eric Fletcher earned 100 total points
ID: 18772144
One other thing to consider... Be aware that if you use this method, anyone receiving the letter can copy the image out and use it. This will happen if the signature is part of the document. However, if you use the "Link to File" option of the Insert Picture dialog (the pulldown on the Insert button), it puts in a field code that fetches the signature. Use Alt-F9 to see the effect: you'll see that the INCLUDEPICTURE field displays the path to the image. If the file is moved so the relative link is no longer valid, the signature won't display.

If your letters stay local (i.e. are being printed for distribution), this won't be an issue. For my own correspondence, I've saved my GIF signature within my Letters folder and have an autotext button to insert the formatted field code.

You can get even fancier with this approach: I move sent letters periodically to a subfolder that contains a different version of my signature (my initials with hand-printed "file") saved with the identical name. If I later open and print the Sent version, it uses my alternate signature automatically.
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LVL 22

Assisted Solution

by:dan_blagut
dan_blagut earned 150 total points
ID: 18772918
Hi
You have a server. So you have a certificate provider in the network. If the documents must be signed for internal use is enough to activate your certificate server and distribute the certificate to all your user. They can use this certificate to digitally sign all the documents.
And that is free.
If the documents must be used outside of your network then you need certificate from a external authority and that means money.

And be carefoull, digitally sign is not to print a scanned picture on documents...

Dan
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