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Everything You Need To Know About Contract Signatures

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2024-02-22 15:36:30 • Filed to: Signature Tips • Proven solutions

Agreement signatures are critical components of contractual processes, representing the formal and binding commitment of one or more parties to the terms and conditions outlined in a legal agreement or contract. Regardless of the medium, signing an agreement carries legal weight and is crucial in establishing and enforcing contractual relationships in business, law, and numerous other fields.

In this article, topics including the importance of contract signatures, will be discussed, as well as the difference between wet and digital signatures. Moreover, with the rise of digital contract signing, the article will guide how safe and convenient digital contract signing is.

Part 1: Traditional Wet Signatures vs. Digital Signatures for Contract Sign-off

When it comes to contract sign-off, there are two types of signatures that can be used. These are digital and wet signatures. How do they differ from each other? Find it out below.

What Is a Wet Signature?

Wet signature refers to an actual signature created with a pen or other writing instrument on a paper document. It is called a "wet" signature to distinguish it from an electronic or digital signature, which is created electronically without the use of physical ink on the paper. Wet signatures are commonly used in a variety of situations for legal and practical reasons.

When and Where You Should Use Wet Signature?

It is important to note that although wet signatures play a role in many legal and official contexts, electronic and digital signatures are increasingly recognized and accepted in a variety of jurisdictions. Here are some commonly used wet signature cases.

  • Legal documents
  • Forms of government
  • Financial Activities
  • Witness Requirements
  • Specific legal requirements
  • Preference or Tradition

What Is a Digital Signature?

A digital contract signature, also known as an electronic signature or an Esign, is a form of signature used to sign and authenticate digital contracts and agreements. These signatures are generated electronically, often using specialized software or platforms, and are designed to provide a secure and legally recognized means of expressing consent and consent to the terms of the contract.

Legality of Digitally Signed Contracts

The legality of digital and electronic signatures varies from country to country and is subject to specific laws and regulations. Many countries have specific laws or regulations governing electronic signatures. For example, the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Trade Act (ESIGN) and the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) provide the legal framework for electronic signatures in the United States.

In some industries, such as healthcare (HIPAA in the US) and financial services (for example, the E-SIGN Act and UETA in the US), specific regulations may govern the use of digital signatures to ensure data privacy. Similarly, several international agreements, such as the United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts (UNCITRAL), promote the use of electronic signatures and recognize legal validity in cross-border sales.

Part 2: Benefits of Digital Contract Signatures

Although both wet and digital contract signatures serve the same purpose, digital signatures are increasingly becoming the standard for contact signing for several reasons. One of which is the evolving needs and compliance of modern-day organizations. Below are some benefits that e-signatures provide users.

Efficiency

Digital contract signing greatly reduces the time to sign and finalize contracts. With electronic signatures, contracts can be signed, executed, and accomplished in minutes or hours instead of weeks, as physical signatures require. This kind of efficiency is crucial for companies or any organizations that want to close projects and deals quickly. 

Cost Savings

The adoption of electronic signatures can save money by reducing the costs of printing, mailing, and storing physical documents. Organizations save money on paper, ink, postage, and physical storage space. Over time, these cost savings can be substantial.

Integration With Business Processes

Digital signature contract often integrates seamlessly with other business software and systems, allowing organizations to integrate digital signatures into their existing processes and workflows.

Compliance

Many Esign contracts are designed to meet industry-specific regulations and compliance standards, ensuring that agreements are executed as required by law.

Security

Leading digital contract signature solutions incorporate robust security measures, including encryption and anti-forgery technologies, to ensure the integrity of the contract signed.

Environmental Considerations

Businesses and individuals are increasingly conscious of their environmental impact. Using digital signatures reduces paper consumption, contributing to sustainability efforts.

That said, searching for an application or tool to provide you with a seamless digital signature can be off-putting. If you’re currently searching for one, why not try PDFelement?

Part 3: PDFelement: Best Signing Tool for Contract Signature

PDFelement is a powerful and versatile software application designed for working with PDF (Portable Document Format) files. PDFelement provides a variety of tools and features that enable users to efficiently create, edit, convert, annotate, and manage PDF documents.

PDFelement's Request eSign feature allows you to send PDF documents to multiple parties securely and electronically while adhering to various legal and regulatory compliance standards. PDFelement eSign aligns with industry standards (ISO 27001, HIPAA), data protection regulations (GDPR), and other internet security-related standards (PDS2, Swift, CMMC, and NITES).

How To Send PDF for eSignatures to Multiple Parties Securely?

When initiating a digital agreement signing, it is crucial to have a safe yet steadfast way of accomplishing it. PDFelement’s platform has the necessary tools to send contracts to multiple parties. Here’s a step-by-step guide.

Step 1: Collect Signatures from Others

  • Launch PDFelement and open the agreement that requires signatures. Click on the "Request eSign" button, conveniently located under the "Protect" tab.

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Step 2: Add Your Recipients

  • In the popup window, locate the "Add recipients" field. Add recipient email addresses in the desired signing order. Easily adjust the signing sequence using the intuitive drag-and-drop method. Optionally, employ the "Add CC" button to include email addresses for informational purposes.
  • Opt to sign the document either first or last using the "Add me the first" or "Add me the last" option.
  • Navigate to the settings section and decide on the desired email sending order. Set the frequency of reminders to ensure timely and effective completion of signatures.
  • Click the "Next" button to move forward after configuring the settings.
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Step 3: Add Fields and Assign Recipients

  • Enhance the agreement by adding essential fillable fields. Incorporate fields such as Signature/Initial, Date, Title, and Company. Easily drag and drop these fields to appropriate locations within the agreement. Assign each field to the respective recipients as needed.
  • After adding the required fields, ensure all elements are in place. Click the "Send" button to dispatch the agreement to recipients for signatures.
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Step 4: Keep Track of The Agreement

Keep a close watch on the progress of signatures by following these steps:

  • Upon sending the agreement for signatures, locate and click "Go to Agreement List."
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  • To update the signing status, simply click the "Update" button
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  • Stay informed about signer activities through notification emails. Receive updates when signers view or complete their signatures on the agreement.
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  • After the signing process is finalized, locate and access your document within the "Agreement" panel.
  • In the right-hand panel, you'll find a comprehensive display of all activities associated with the agreement. This provides a clear overview of the entire signing journey.
  • Download both the agreement itself and the comprehensive audit report. The audit report presents all signing activities for your review.
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Step 5: Validating Agreement Signatures

Ensure the validity of collected signatures with the following actions:

  • Access the PDF agreement through the "Agreement" panel.
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  • Once the agreement is opened, observe a notification indicating "Signed and all signatures are valid."
  • Click on "Manage Signatures" found under the "Protect" tab. Choose the "Validate All Signatures" option to proceed.
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  • In the "Validate All Signatures" window, check the digital signatures' information. Access the change history of the document since the signature was applied.
  • To examine the certificate, select "Certificate Details…" within the window.
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How To Sign PDF Contract Agreements Using PDFelement eSign Feature?

On the contrary, if you are on the receiving end of a digital contract PDF, here are the steps you can take using PDFelement’s eSign feature.

Step 1: Open PDFelement and Navigate to Agreements

Launch PDFelement on your computer and simply navigate to the Agreement panel. Double-click on the agreement labeled "Waiting for me" to initiate the signing process.

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Step 2: Initiate Filling Up Process

Click the "Sign" tag to direct you to the signature fields and the other fields that require you to enter any requested information.

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Step 3: Selecting Preferred Signature Method

Select the signature field, then choose your preferred signature method:

  • Upload: Import an image of your signature.
  • Draw: Draw your signature in the field.
  • Type: Input your name, with options for font color and style.

Click "OK" to apply your signature.

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Step 4: Execute Contract Agreement Process

At the bottom of the interface, a notification will confirm your agreement to its terms and the Customer Disclosure to do business electronically with the sender. Click the "Click to Sign" button and "Next" to complete the process.

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How To Use PDFelement eSign Feature for Agreement Signing Through an Email Link?

In some instances, you might receive an agreement signing with an attached email link. That said, here’s a quick guide on accessing and downloading the contract using the PDFelement software.

Step 1: Accessing the Agreement

Access the agreement from the notification email and click the "Sign the Document" button.

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Step 2: Agree With Privacy Terms

Check "I agree with EULA and Privacy to use electronic records and signature," and click "Continue."

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Step 3: Fill Up Signature Fields

Click the "Signature/Initial" field.

For first-time users, create a signature using one of three methods:

  • Type: Type your name in the field with signature color options.
  • Upload: Browse and select an image of your signature.
  • Draw: Draw your signature in the field.
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Step 4: Save Your E-Signature

Click "Save." The signature will be applied to the agreement, and the added signature is saved securely in Wondershare Document Cloud for further use.

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Step 5: Download the Agreement

Click "Download" and select an option:

  • Only PDF: Download the agreement;
  • Download PDF and Audit Report package: Download both the agreement and the audit report in a zipped file;
  • Download PDF and Audit Report combined file: Download the agreement and the audit report as a combined PDF file.
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Step 6: Receive Fully Signed Document

Upon all parties signing the agreement, you will receive an email with access to the fully signed document.

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Conclusion

Digital contracting signing is a fast and efficient way to approve agreements without compromising the secured details of any important document. Using PDFelement’s versatile and feature-rich PDF editing tools, such as the eSign contract feature, offers a user-friendly interface that makes it easy for anyone to sign PDF agreement contracts. In addition to signatures, PDFelement provides a wide range of annotation and markup tools, enabling you to add comments, highlights, stamps, and notes to agreement contracts, making it easier to collaborate and provide feedback.

If you’re looking for a quick yet efficient way to execute unsigned contracts digitally, then PDFelement is a great app to pick. Not only is the software designed to make digital contract signing a breeze, but it also helps you with other PDF-related editing with ease.

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Audrey Goodwin

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