If you’re like a lot of people, you work through Google Docs. You use these documents to plan with different teams. To write up new contracts. To draft company memos. To write up key business documents. So why does it seem like the online software that has everything to offer comes up short when it’s time to add an electronic signature?
The good news: adding an electronic signature on Google Docs is much easier than you might have imagined. You just need the right know-how and a few key steps to help you along.
Why bother? There are a few reasons to add an electronic signature in Google Docs:
- Easy collaboration. Google Docs are great at bringing a lot of people into the umbrella of a single document. If you need to collaborate on (and sign) a document, doing it through Google Docs can make it easy. It can also help you avoid interrupting your usual workflow.
- Working remotely. Many of us access Google Docs on our phone. We like web-based, cloud-based services like Google because they make it easy for us to work within one app and then close out the app without having to download anything. Adding an electronic signature within Google Docs makes it easier to check out a contract or business document when you’re on the go.
- You may already be used to Google Docs. Have you ever downloaded software that felt frustrating because it required you to learn an entirely new program? What if you’ve been using Google Docs for years? You’re probably comfortable with it. You’re happy to draw up contracts in it. You’re happy with how you use Google Drive to organize everything, and you love having cloud storage. If you use it the right way, you don’t have to compromise much of what you’re already doing.
Once you already know why, next comes the what. Here’s everything you’ll need to get started adding electronic signatures in Google Docs.
Working with Google Docs within Nitro Sign
If you learn how to eSign a document with Nitro, you’ll see some familiar steps. Here are the basics to get Nitro working with your Google Drive files:
- Make sure you have a Google Doc of a completed contract (along with blank lines for signatures) within your Google Drive account. Then log into Nitro.
- In the Home dashboard, click on Tools in the left-hand menu.
- Select Sign.
- This will bring up a popup. Now you can choose. Do you want to upload a document from your local files? If you’re working on a smartphone, you may want to simply select the file from Google Drive.
- Once you have the document open, you can go to the Signers panel and click on your name and email. This will reveal a list of form field options.
- Drag and drop your required fields into the document. For example, you might add both “Signatures” and “Date.
- Save the document. It will now appear under My Documents. You’ll be free to add your own signature (by clicking and dragging from your predetermined signatures), or you can send out the document to request the signatures of others.
This way, you can go from a Google Doc to a contract that’s ready to be used in your contact management system. That means you can do all of the editing and formatting in Google Docs. If you prefer to do it that way because you’re familiar with the system, there’s no need to change it suddenly. You only need to know the basic steps for adding signature fields from a stored Google document. From there, Nitro can handle the rest.
Adding an Electronic Signature on Google Docs
Let’s say you’re using G Suite and want to put in an electronic signature directly. How do you create a fresh Google Doc that you can actually sign? This isn’t exactly a contract-signing program you’re using. If you use one method, the steps can be simple:
- This will bring up the Drawing dialog.
- Click the Line icon to bring up the drawing tool.
- Under “Line,” select “Scribble.”
- Click “Save and Close.” This will bring the image you just scribbled into the document. You’re now free to add that to a line under a contract, for example.
The problem? If you’re trying to manage your contracts well, you’re going to need a few things:
- Software that reminds you of who’s signed and who hasn’t. Ideally, your contract management software should be able to remind you automatically. It can also send out email reminders on your behalf if someone has yet to sign the document.
- Software that makes it easy to move from Google Docs to PDFs and vice versa. Ideally, you can create centralized documents that are easy to save.
- Separation between your contracts and the rest of your Google Docs. Why? If you do everything within Google Docs, it can be hard to organize your contracts (signed and unsigned) from everything else: company memos, for example.
To enhance the way you handle contract management, we recommend using a service like Nitro.
Tips for Using Google Docs for Contracts
Let’s get back to one of the original questions. Why bother with Google Docs? You can certainly use Nitro for more than contract management, but many people enjoy working within Google Docs. If that sounds like you, then you’re likely already familiar with some of the features that make Google so easy to work with. But if you’re not, let’s focus on some key tips you can use to make life easier as you draw these contracts up:
- Use the Google Docs Explore tool to make it easier to work within Google’s software. This is especially important if you’re working on a mobile device or a tablet. But it can also help if you’re on desktop. The Explore feature helps you look up essential information without constantly referring back and forth with other tabs and browsers.
- Install the Docs app on your mobile/tablet device. You can then edit your contracts on the go. Because Nitro is web-based, you won’t lose anything when you switch to mobile. That means you’ll be able to change contracts within Google docs, before sending them out and saving them using Nitro. And you can do so from anywhere, provided you have an internet connection.
- Set up offline access in Google Drive so you can work offline before uploading new content. This lets you work while traveling.
Think it’s difficult to manage contracts with Google Docs? It doesn’t have to be. But it always helps to have great software in your corner. If you’re interested in exploring more, you can use a free trial of Nitro Sign to find out just how much you can accomplish with contracts using Google Docs.