How to Add an E-Signature to Google Docs for Free [3 Ways]

If you want to add a signature to a Google Doc, you have a few different options.

You could use Google Drawing, try Google’s new e-signature tool, or upload a photo of your signature to your document. All of these methods are free and easy.

But they don’t provide an ideal experience for you or your client (which is why we’ve included a bonus method!). For a more professional look and full visibility into the signing process, you might want to consider proposal software.

Keep reading for tutorials and pros and cons on each method

e signature for google docs

Method 1: Add a Google Drawing inside of Google Docs

Google Workspace offers a tool you might not know about: Google Drawing. You can use this to doodle anything, including your electronic signature.

Pros and cons of this method

This is a popular e-signature method because everything you need is inside of Google Docs. You don’t need to use another tool. After you create your email signature, you can then store it inside Google Drawing and use it again and again.

However, this method isn’t recommended for professionals. It can work fine for signing a digital contract in a pinch, but it has two major flaws. It doesn’t look professional and it probably isn’t legally binding. Google Docs can be edited by anyone, and it might be hard to prove that the signature was provided by the correct person, should arbitration occur.

How to add an e-signature

Follow these steps to sign a document using Google Drawing:

Step 1. Create a contract inside of Google Docs or upload a Microsoft Word document and open it as a Google Doc.

Add a line for the e-signature, and type the signer’s name and title.

Google docs contract e signature

Step 2. Move the cursor to the space above the signing line. Next, select Insert > Drawing > New.

Screenshot of google docs e signature tool

Step 3. Select the line tool and change to scribble.

Draw e signature in google docs

Step 4. Draw your signature.

You can use as many strokes as you need. If you have a touchscreen device, your signature will look more natural, but you can make do with a mouse.

Drawing e signature in google docs

Step 5. Resize your signature and type the date next to it, if desired.

The drawing will insert large, so make sure to select it and drag it until it appears small enough to look like a realistic signature.

Resizing e signature in google docs

Method 2: Use Google Docs’ e-signature tool

Google Docs has developed a feature for requesting signatures inside of documents.

Pros and cons of this method

Currently, this method has some major cons. Google Docs’ e-signature tool is still in Beta mode, meaning it’s only available to a small subset of users, so you might not be able to use it.

What’s more, this signature request tool also only works if your signers have a Google Drive account, whether through a personal Gmail address or a business email address using Google Workspace.

As for the pros, if you do have this feature available, it is a very easy way to request signatures, and anyone searching for online job, remote job, or work-from-home opportunities will likely encounter the need to sign documents in the cloud. The user experience is good for all parties involved.

How to add an e-signature

Follow these steps for using the e-signature tool inside of Google Docs:

Step 1. Create a Google Doc contract, or upload a Microsoft Word document and open it as a Google Doc.

Note that if you need to sign the document yourself, you’ll need to use Method 1 above, as this method only works for collecting signatures from recipients. Our research shows that contracts are more likely to close if you sign before you send, so go ahead and add your signature before moving onto the next step.

Step 2. Select File > eSignature.

Selecting e signature file in google docs

Step 3. Using the eSignature tools in the right side pane, add an eSignature box to your document.

The date signed will auto-generate.

e signature panel in google docs

Step 4. After you’ve added all the necessary fields for your signer, click “Request signature,” enter the recipient’s email address and click “Send.”

After you send the signature request, the document will be locked, preventing you from making any changes. If you need to edit the document, you’ll need to unlock it, cancel the request, make your changes, and then send a new signature request.

You can also watch the steps in this short YouTube tutorial.

Method 3: Upload a photo of your signature

You can also simply upload an image of a signature into any Google Doc.

Pros and cons of this method

With this method, you can use a digital signature already stored on your computer and upload it to the signature line in your contract document. You’ll need to have a signature to upload, of course. You can create one in Paint, Canva, or any other simple drawing program that offers a pencil tool.

While this method is simple enough, it doesn’t offer a professional look. If you’re sending a contract to a client, you should use electronic signature software that makes it easy for them to sign. If you require a potential client to put a lot of effort into signing your document (having to create a signature, save it, crop it, and upload it), they might decide that you’re going to be too difficult to work with and not sign the contract.

Worse still, this method probably won’t hold up in a court of law in the event of arbitration.

How to add an e-signature

Use these steps to add an e-signature to your Google Doc by uploading a photo:

Step 1. Create a contract inside of Google Docs or upload a Microsoft Word document and open it as a Google Doc.

Make sure you have a line for the e-signature, as well as the person’s name and title.

Upload e signature from computer in google docs

Step 2. Move the cursor to the space above the signing line. Next, select Insert > Image > Upload from computer.

Upload e signature from computer in google docs

Step 3. Resize the image and type in the date if desired.

When you upload an image, it usually takes up the full width available in Google docs, so make sure you resize the image so it looks more like a real signature.

Resize e signature and set a date in google docs

[Bonus Method] Use proposal software for a better client experience

As you can see from the options above, Google Docs isn’t really the best solution for collecting e-signatures. No matter how you slice it, you have to use some annoying workarounds.

If you want to provide a more professional look, use proposal software with proposal templates, e-signatures, and email reminders.

Pros and cons of this method

Proposal software is superior compared to Google Docs for a few key reasons:

  • More attractive - Instead of just sending basic contracts, you can send proposals designed to close, with all of the project or service details that prospects care about.

  • Easy to sign - The client experience is super important. With this method, your prospective clients can easily sign without having to upload their signature or use different tools. Everything is in one place. You can even require a payment or deposit in the same workflow too.

  • Legally binding - Proposal software offers complete peace of mind. You’ll have an audit trail to prove that the proposal was signed by the recipient’s email address.

  • Visibility into signer activity - You can track opens, views, and signatures on a contract basis and for your entire account.

  • Control over team proposal process - If you’re sending contracts and proposals as a team, you can set up a content library with on-brand content to create consistency.

How to send for an e-signature

Follow these steps to request an e-signature using proposal software:

Step 1. Create a contract or proposal using a template.

Make your life easier by not starting from scratch. Choose from over 75 proposal templates for proposals and contracts of all kinds. Pick one with the design and/or content that best suits your needs.

Proposify contract and proposal templates

Step 2. Customize the proposal to your business.

Next, customize the template. You’ll need to add your unique branding and company details.

Depending on the template, there will be other information to update too. If you use our advertising template, for example, you might also want to update the statistics to match your company’s reach, followers, or average client results.

Customize your proposal to your business using Proposify

Step 3. Add recipient information and signature fields.

Now that your proposal is perfect, add the finishing touches. Add your client’s or signer’s name, business name, and signature fields.

Signature fields and recipient information in Proposify

Step 4. Send the document for signature, and set up automated email reminders (or follow up manually).

When you send your proposal with Proposify, you’ll be able to track the clients’ activity. Use this to send customized follow-ups based on how often they’ve reviewed your proposal.

Or, use our email templates to automate your follow-ups so you don’t have to remember to check in.

Send a document for e signature with Proposify

If collecting e-signatures is a big part of your day-to-day life, you need better features than what Google Docs can provide. Opt for high-quality contracts and proposals, simplified signing, and client activity tracking.

How to Add an E-Signature to Google Docs for Free [3 Ways]

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