The handwritten signature was once the key ingredient for confirming document approval, ensuring that agreements could be finalised so projects could proceed — but it is quickly becoming outdated in an era of paperless operation and remote working.
Those doing business online need a modern alternative, and that’s what an electronic signature offers. It’s convenient, easy to provide, and produces legally-binding results on all devices. When you need something signed, you can share it as a PDF online and get full approval within minutes.
If you're wondering how to create an electronic signature, GetBusy can handle this process for you. We’re going to offer a step-by-step guide to using our task management software to request an electronic signature (which is actually distinct from a digital signature — see our ‘what is a digital signature’ guide for more). Let’s get started.
When you need to get a digital document signed, you must create the task through GetBusy, identify the person who needs to sign it, and submit the task. Here’s the process for this:
1. Open your GetBusy account (or create one). If you haven’t already started using GetBusy, you’ll need to create your account. You can use the 14 day free trial if you’re not ready to make a commitment, or open a subscription. It’s up to you.
2. Start (and name) a new signature thread. At the top-right of the left-hand navigation bar, there’s an icon that looks like a pencil on a piece of paper. Click on that icon to bring up the “New thread” window. You’ll see a drop-down menu at the top saying “To-do”: open that menu and select the “Signature” type. Fill out the “What’s being signed?” field.
3. Set the required participants. The participants are listed at the top of the window, just below the drop-down type menu. Click on the plus symbol to add a participant: you can choose from linked GetBusy users, or invite participants via email. Once you’ve selected at least one participant, click the “Add [x]” button at the bottom-right. Note that only one of the participants can be assigned as the signer — the others are just kept in the loop.
4. Add the document that needs a signature. You can now click on the “+ Add a document (required)” option. You can add the required file via drag-and-drop, copy-and-paste, local browsing (when the file is on your computer), or online importing (when you have it stored in Google Drive or Dropbox). The maximum file size is 25mb.
4. Configure the document arrangement. Once you’ve uploaded the document, click the “Configure…” option on the right of the document listing. This will open the document in a view allowing you to add signature and text fields wherever you want them to go, dragging and dropping them from the navigation bar on the left. Insert an electronic signature field where appropriate. Note that you can click on the name appearing above the field to change the person signing, and it can be the sender (i.e. you). When you’re done, click the “Save & close” option at the top left.
5. Provide any additional information and create thread. Clicking on “+ Extra information” opens up an additional text field for further details. “+ Due date” allows you to set a deadline. “+ Team project” lets you link the signature request to a specific project. “+ Private tags” makes it simple to set a request as urgent (or use whatever other tags have been defined). With everything decided, you can click on “Create” at the bottom-right to complete the request. The selected participants (most importantly the person signing) will be notified via email and through the GetBusy dashboard.
In short, electronic signatures confer all the advantages of traditional signatures while removing the inconvenience of having to physically ship or deliver documents. They’re perfectly adequate for legal purposes, so there’s no need to view them as inferior in any way. And in the event that there’s a lot of back-and-forth about the exact wording of a contract, with both parties trying to get as much as they can before committing, signing a digital document makes much more sense.
Think about the drawn-out process of ironing out last-minute wrinkles. You can be confident that everything’s been agreed, send over the paperwork, then find that the recipient is unwilling to sign because they’ve decided that there’s one small element to be changed. When you’re using a physical document, this will cause a significant delay: even if you have the recipient print the paperwork, they’ll still need to mail it back to you for confirmation.
And if you’re inclined to consider using digital files but make manual edits, there’s really no reason not to use electronic signatures instead. They remove the need to mess around with files, tie in neatly to general task management, and offer superior speed and consistency.
In addition to being a powerful all-purpose task management system, GetBusy is an exceptional choice for anyone needing to request or provide electronic signatures. It can store the relevant documents for as long as needed, circumventing the need to securely share them elsewhere.
It also provides useful messaging options for tricky negotiations. And then there’s the simplicity of its participant-chasing system, allowing users to automate their vital reminders and ensure that they’re notified in the event that deadlines start to be pushed. Whether you’re arranging the occasional project or issuing legal contracts on a daily basis, GetBusy has what you need.