Occasionally it can be pretty handy to have a digital copy of your signature, it can save you from needing to print out a form just to sign it. A digital signature is especially handy if you need to scan a document back in after signing it (possibly for records or an email attachment). Today we’ll look at how to create one. All you need is: your signature on a piece of paper, a scanner and a web browser.

The first step is to autograph a piece of paper.

Once you are happy with how your signature looks on paper, you convert it to an image by scanning it. You can do this at any of the floor printers. Send the resulting scan as an email to yourself rather than printing it out. The settings I used for the example are 600 x 600 Color/Black and White, Format: .jpeg (If you need help using the floor scanners you can always let us know with an email to helpdesk @ uua.org)

Now you should have an email in your inbox with your signature attached. Save that attachment somewhere you can find it,  such as your desktop. Here is an example I created:

Next, make the background of the signature image transparent. There are several ways to do that but the easiest I’ve found is to head over to LunaPic (an online image editor) and upload your image directly to the transparency tool.

Once you click the transparency tool link, click on the Choose File button, find the signature image you saved before, and click the Upload Now button. After a couple seconds your signature image will appear. Set Fuzz to 40% (Fuzz is how aggressive it is removing the color you click on, try a higher number if you want to remove more of the background) and click on the white space in your image.
The background will turn checkered to indicate that you’ve removed the background.Next you’ll probably want to crop the image to just your signature.  Edit >> AutoCrop Image worked beautifully for me.To save click File >> Save Image and then Save as PNG. Your browser should begin downloading your edited signature. Important: I’ve tried saving in other formats and ended up downloading broken images, I’d stick with PNG. Once its downloaded I recommend renaming it to something like signature.png so it is easier to keep track of.Now you have a digitized version of your John Hancock that can be inserted into documents or PDFs (I’ve been using NitroPDF Reader for stamping signatures into PDFs) when you need to fill out forms.

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James Curran

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