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How to digitally sign documents

Having to work remotely because of Covid19 introduces one issue for most of us: We cannot print documents anymore for signing.

There are various tools, to help you out with this, and we’ll describe a few.

(The document is mainly directed to you private signing needs, as the institute is currently testing a signing-solution for internal use.)

Non-official signing

Unfortunately the easier ways of signing a document, are not really “officially”, so in particular for private signatures (e.g. to cancel your internet contract with A1) should only be done “officially”. In that case, your electronic/digital signature has to be accepted.

For internal use, or other contracts this kind of signature might not be needed.

Provide your signature as .png image (optional)

This optional step provides you with an image (.png) which you can use for signing a bit more convenient.

What you need

Piece of paper & black pen

Your mobile phone or a scanner

The idea is, to scan/take a photo of your signature at the highest contrast possible (black pen!) so it can be extracted in an image editor.

One very easy way is using IrfanView (Freeware on Windows).

Just take a photo/scan your signature, and rotate/crop properly, this will look probably look similar to:

As you can see, even though the resolution is quite high, the background is quite “greyish”. We need to get rid of this, and ensure the signature stands “alone”.

By using the “Color corrections” options, decreasing the brightness a bit, increasing the contrast a lot (~80%) and playing a bit with the Gamma correction, we already achieve a much better result.

“Replacing the color” works even better:

(You see the importance of using a dark-black pen and not a pencil, as I did.)

When saving the file, select the format .png, and select both “Save Transparent Color” and “Save Transparency as Alpha channel”. You will then have the possibility to select the transparent color. Just click into the “white” and your image is properly saved.

The image will no be black – and needs a bight background.

This file can now be used in Office already, so put a signature into an form, and will (e.g. in OnlyOffice) look like:

You just drag’n’drop your file into your document, adjust the size, and move it where you want. Ensure the Wrapping Style is set similar to mine. As you can see, it overlaps (naturally) the signature-line.

Signing with Adobe Acrobat Pro

What you need

Internet access or on campus network

Web browser (Chrome, Firefox,…)

Just connect to WT10 (Remote Desktop connection), the easiest way is just using https://wt10.ist.ac.at in your browser. Login with your ISTUsername & IST Password.

You can now open Adobe Acrobat and your file, or just double-click your document, which should look like:

Now just select “Fill & Sign” on the right, which will change the view a bit:

When clicking “Sign” and “add your initials, you have 3 options:

Type – which allows you to type your signature, and a cursive font will be displayed. This is not suggested, as apparently every signature will look similar.

Draw – if you’ve a pen/touchscreen attached to your PC, just sign with your pen. (Fairly good results can also be achieved by drawing with a pencil on the touch pad of your laptop.)

Image – just upload the image created already

If you tick “Save initials” your preferred signature will be available the next time you open the Adobe.

You can now move your signature wherever you need it, and use the Text-Tool to add text. (e.g. your name, the date, ….)

If you now save the document, it has been signed.

Officially signing documents

The official signing (for private persons in Austria) works via the https://www.handy-signatur.at/hs2/.

What you need

Internet Access & a Browser

A mobile phone (Android or Apple are preferred, but any phone which can receive a SMS is fine.)

An Austrian social-security number (If you are employed by IST Austria, you’ll have one.)

If you haven’t registered for you personal account, please do so by following the instructions at https://it.pages.ist.ac.at/handy-signatur/.

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