Awesome hack: Use Google Docs to sign documents

Forget using a third-party service to digitally sign a document -- Google Docs to the rescue!

Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani
2 min read

Google Docs is a well-rounded word processor that makes it easy to collaborate on work with fellow classmates or coworkers. Docs also keeps your work backed up, safely stored in your Google account.

And as Engadget's Cherlynn Low recently tweeted, you can even use it to sign documents.

This is more of a workaround than an officially supported feature in Google Docs, so it takes a few extra steps to make it happen. But yes, this is a real signature, and not just you typing your name, and yes, it saves you from having to connect a third-party service to your Google account or -- for shame -- having to print out a document to sign, then take a photo of it and reattach to an email.

1. To sign a document, start by importing it (usually an attachment) into Google Docs and opening it... as a Google Doc.


The trick is to create a drawing of your signature. 

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

2. With the document open, click on Insert > Drawing > New.


Use the Scribble tool to make it look like you scribbled your signature. 

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

3. Click on the down arrow next to the line tool and select Scribble.

4. Draw your signature and click Save and Close when you're done.


Move and resize your signature. 

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

5. Your signature will show up in the document as an image, which you can resize to fit on the line and drag to the right location.

I tried recreating this process using the Google Docs mobile app, but couldn't find the option to insert a drawing. So, for right now at least, you'll need to use a computer to add your John Hancock to a Google Doc.

Watch this: Google's AI tools bring grammar suggestions to Google Docs