Switching from print to digital formats can make things a lot easier, but there are certain tasks that are a lot more difficult to do without pen & paper. Tons of documents – résumés, official letters, legal agreements, and personal statements – need your personal signature, for example, but there’s no way to create & add your signature in Word or Google Docs.

If you need to add a realistic personal signature digitally, you can make it look like you signed any document yourself using only your phone’s camera and a free multimedia web app – all it takes is a couple minutes. Here’s what to do:

  1. Write your signature on white paper
  2. Take a picture of your signature
  3. Remove the background in Kapwing
  4. Add your signature to Word or Google Docs

Step 1: Write your signature on white paper

This step should be perfectly familiar: just sign your name! Try to use white paper, but anything will do. However, it will be easier to remove the background from your signature if you have a plain white background and use a black pen – an ultra-fine Sharpie on white printer paper is ideal.

Step 2: Take a picture of your signature

This step is just as easy as the first. Using any camera, take a picture of your signature, with sufficient lighting. Using your phone is probably the easiest way to take your picture, since you can use the same device to edit your image in Kapwing or send it quickly to your computer.

Here's the autograph of one Mr. Sample S. Signature, for an example. 

In addition to keeping your background clear and using adequate lighting, try to eliminate unnecessary blank space around your signature – the larger your signature is in your picture, the higher quality it will have on your documents. And if you can, try to include only the paper in frame. This will eliminate a step from your editing process.

Step 3: Remove the background in Kapwing

Once you’ve taken a clear picture of your signature, head over to Kapwing.com on any device and click “Start Editing” to enter the Kapwing Studio. Here, click “Upload” to import your photo from your file browser or camera roll. When it’s fully uploaded to the Studio, select your photo layer and choose “Erase” in the editing options. Here, start with the Magic Wand option by clicking on your image’s background and clicking "Remove Pixels," then raise your sensitivity if the background isn’t fully removed after the first click.

Once you’ve erased your background, hit the “Crop” option to cut down on your signature’s blank space. Try to crop out as much as possible – Google Docs and Word don’t let anything overlap with images, even if they’re transparent, so try to include only your signature in frame. If you'd like, you can also click "Adjust" to reduce your image's brightness and ensure that your signature will stand out on a white background. Once everything is ready, click the red “Export” button, give Kapwing a second to process your image, and click “Download” to save your signature to your device.

Step 4: Add your signature to Word or Google Docs

When you’ve downloaded your signature, open the document you want to sign digitally. The easiest way to add your signature is simply to find the file in your file browser or browser downloads and drag it directly into your Word or Google doc. Once you’ve added it, you can select your image to resize it by dragging the corners. Then, drag the image itself to reposition it on your document – you'll probably want to choose "break text" in the text wrapping options. Now your document is signed and ready to send as a résumé, letter, agreement, or personal statement.

I hope you enjoy creating high-quality digital documents on any device, without sacrificing the personal look of a handwritten signature. For more content tips, product updates, and editing tutorials, subscribe to Kapwing App on YouTube or follow us on Twitter @KapwingApp. In the meantime, check out these related articles on professional image editing tools:

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