Sign Contracts Online: The Ultimate How-to Guide

January 15, 2024

This ultimate guide explores the whole process of how to sign contracts online, and signing documents using electronic signatures, so you can simplify and automate your online contract signing process.

James Fyfe
Co-founder - CEO

Through the last couple of years, the digital age has become more prominent than ever, with many companies switching to remote working. As a result, an important aspect, such as signing contracts online using electronic signatures, has become the norm, providing a smooth and efficient experience for businesses and individuals. 

In this detailed guide, we'll explore the ins and outs of online contract signing, electronic signatures, and the step-by-step process to sign contracts online, all while emphasizing the importance of legally binding eSignatures and the potential cost savings for your business.

What is Online Contract Signing?

Online contract signing refers to creating, sharing, and executing contracts and agreements in a digital format. This innovative approach offers many benefits, from saving time to reducing costs.

Why Sign Contracts Online?

  1. Speed and Efficiency: Significantly faster than traditional paper contracts, online contract signing accelerates the signing process with just a few clicks.

  2. Legally Binding: Electronic signatures in most countries are legally binding, ensuring the validity of your agreements.

  3. Cost Savings: The transition from paper to digital contracts eliminates the expenses associated with printing, postage, and storage, making it a cost-effective choice.

  4. Secure Storage: Digital contracts are securely stored, protected from damage or loss, and easily accessible whenever needed.

What is an Electronic Signature?

Creating an E-Signature with Portant's Online Contract Signing Workflow

Electronic signatures, often called eSignatures, are the digital equivalent of handwritten signatures. They serve as legitimate proof of agreement, making contracts legally binding without needing physical paper documents.

The Role of Online Contract Signing Platforms

Online contract signing platforms like Portant have revolutionized the way contracts are handled. These platforms simplify the entire signing process, from creating agreements to collecting signatures and even organizing and storing the documents.

How to Sign Contracts Online Using Portant

Portant is a user-friendly platform that streamlines the process of signing contracts online. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to use Portant o automate agreements and create electronic signatures:

Step 1 - Sign Up for a Free Portant Account

To get started with Portant, the first step is to sign up for a free account

Portant's Account Sign Up Pop-Up Window

Step 2 - Choose Your Agreement

Once you've signed up for a free account, you can select the type of agreement you want to create. Portant offers a wide range of templates, including individual contracts, business agreements, and more.

Portant's Library of Template that You Can Automate

Step 3 - Customize Your Template

After choosing your agreement type, you can customize the template to meet your specific needs. Portant allows you to add or remove clauses, insert signature fields, and modify the content to align with your agreement.

Portant's Non-Disclosure Agreement Template

Step 4 - Add Signature Fields

In this step, you can easily add signature fields to the document. Signature fields are the designated areas where each party involved in the contract will sign electronically. Portant makes this process straightforward, and you can add as many signature fields to your digital contract as needed.

How to Add Signatures to Portant's Online Contract Signing Automation Process

Step 5 - Invite Signatories

With your agreement template prepared and signature request fields in place, you can invite signatories to the document. Portant provides an efficient system for sending signature requests to all relevant parties. To invite other parties to sign your document, you either need to add a {{tag}} that contains their email address from your source or just type the emails manually.

How to Invite Signatories to the Contract Creation Process

Step 6 - Sign Documents

Once the signature requests have been sent, the signatories can access the document and sign electronically. The process is as simple as drawing it, typing their name or uploading an image of their handwritten signature. Portant ensures the security and integrity of the signed document.

Step 7 - Save and Store

After all parties have signed the contract, Portant saves the document and stores it securely in your Google Drive. You can access the signed contract online anytime, making it easy to refer back to when needed.

Get started signing contracts online with Portant’s contract management automation workflow. 

Legal Aspects of Electronic Signatures

It's essential to understand the legal validity of electronic signatures, as they form the foundation of online contract signing. In many countries, including the United States, electronic signatures are considered legally binding. 

The U.S. Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN) provides a legal framework for electronic signatures, ensuring their enforceability.

How to Sign Documents Using Electronic Signatures?

While online contract signing is typically associated with Google Docs, it's worth noting that Portant allows for the signing of PDF contracts. The process of signing PDFs is similar, with the advantage of working with a widely recognized file format in business.

Here is a step-by-step breakdown of creating electronic signatures for your PDF documents:

Step 1 - Upload Your PDF Document

If you have a PDF contract that needs to be signed, you can easily upload it to Portant’s online contract signing platform. To do this follow these steps:

  1. Open the PDF in your Google Drive (or upload it to your Google Drive first), 
  2. Then open the PDF in Google Drive,  
  3. Click “Open With”, 
  4. Click on “Google Docs”.
Uploading Your PDF Document to Portant's Online Contract Signing Platform

This converts the PDF into a Google Doc so you can edit it and add the signature fields

Step 2 - Add Signature Fields

When your PDF document is converted , you can add signature fields to the contract, like in the previous step-by-step guide. These fields indicate where each party should sign. You have full control over the placement of these fields.

Step 3 - Send Signature Requests

After customizing the PDF contract with signature fields, you can send signature requests to the relevant parties. The process to request signatures is similar to signing Google Docs contracts, with signatories receiving an invitation to sign electronically.

Step 4 - Sign and Store

Once the signatories have completed the process by providing their electronic signatures, the signed PDF contract is saved and securely stored. You can access it whenever needed.

The Future of Online Contracts and Electronic Signatures

As technology advances, online contracts, and electronic signatures become even more prevalent. These methods offer a convenient and efficient way to handle agreements, whether for personal or business purposes.

With the rise of online contracts, the use of traditional paper contracts is gradually declining. The convenience, speed, and cost reduction associated with online contract signing are causing a significant shift in how agreements are executed.

Conclusion

Signing contracts online with electronic signatures is the way forward in today's digital age. The process is legally binding but also efficient, cost-effective, and secure. Platforms like Portant make it easy for individuals and businesses to create, sign, and store contracts with just a few clicks.

By embracing online contract signing, you can save time, reduce costs, and simplify the signing process. Additionally, the legal recognition of electronic signatures ensures that your agreements are enforceable. So, take the plunge into the fascinating world of online contract signing and experience the benefits for yourself. 

Sign contracts online and embark on a journey into the future of agreement management. Sign up for a free account, get started, and see how online contracts can revolutionize how you deal with contracts and agreements without breaking the bank.

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