An electronic signature allows a person filling out an online form to sign it just as they would on paper.

What Is an Electronic Signature?

Like a conventional signature, an e-signature is a way to establish that a person intends to sign a form or document, i.e. provide an agreement. It does not in itself provide any means to verify or guarantee the identity of the signer.

An electronic signature on a FormSmarts online form.

In the United States, the E-Sign act passed into law in 2000 defines electronic signatures and makes them legally binding.

Although electronic signatures are not legally required to replicate graphical signatures on paper, FormSmarts supports graphical electronic signatures because they allow a user to sign a form in the most easy and intuitive way, and the e-signature on the form appears as it would on a paper.

Benefits: Time & Cost Savings and Paperwork Reduction

Both the person signing a form online and its recipient benefit from e-signatures and the paperwork reduction they allow — not to mention the environmental benefit:

  • The signer benefits from no longer having to print the form, put it in a envelope, stamp it and mail it to the form recipient.
  • The form recipient benefits form being able to considerably streamline application processing. No more pending applications awaiting receipt of a signed paper document. Signed form responses can be viewed online and downloaded in PDF format as soon as they've been submitted. Signatures are even visible in FormSmarts email notifications 1.

How Does a Person Sign a Form?

Signing a Form on Touchscreen Devices

Our primary goal when designing FormSmarts electronic signatures was usability. To cover for the wide range of capabilities offered by browsers and computing devices, FormSmarts provides three different ways for a person to sign a form.

On touchscreen devices, the user signs on the screen, exactly as they would write their signature on a paper document.

Capturing an E-Signature on Desktop Computers

Drawing a signature with the mouse on devices without a touchscreen (typically desktop computers) is awkward (less so with a trackpad), so FormSmarts allows the user to write their signature on paper then capture it with the computer's camera. If the computer doesn’t have a camera or the browser doesn’t support this 2, the user can sign with the mouse or trackpad instead.

Users with an obsolete browser write their name in a text box. The name entered must match the one entered elsewhere on the form.

Try an E-Signature Demo

Please try our electronic signature demo.
  1. For security purposes, signatures are no longer displayed in the email notification after 3 days. Customer can sign in to FormSmarts via the View Online & Add Notes link at the bottom of the message to view the complete form entry (including any signature).
  2. As of April 2018, all major desktop browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Edge and Safari) allow FormSmarts to access to the device's camera.