First there was Buzzword, an online word processor that Adobe created for all of us to use for FREE. Then there was Presentations (think PowerPoint... only online and free). Next came Tables, an online spreadsheet.
Adobe seems to be assembling a cloud-based suite of useful programs. The anchor to all these 'modules' is the free acrobat.com service. The only things required to use all of these services are a user name and a password. Simply visit www.acrobat.com to sign up.
Adobe has continually improved and added to this online suite of tools. The latest addition (still in beta, but is available to all, and it's really cool) is Adobe eSignatures.
eSignatures is an incredibly easy way to get your documents digitally signed. No more printing, faxing or overnighting documents. Just upload your documents to this service and get them signed quickly.
You can use your existing Adobe ID (that you use for Acrobat.com), or create one when you visit https://esign.adobe.com/.
Once logged in, you will get to upload the PDF file you wish to have signed. You can add a description of the document if you wish. You will then have the opportunity to input the email addresses of the people to receive the doc(s). You will then designate a date by which all recipients must have signed the document. You can write a custom note that will be the body of the email that the service will send out for you. This email will have a link to the document, which is housed online for you.
Your recipients will have to log into the service, and if they don't yet have an Adobe ID, they can create one by following the prompts. Recipients log in and can preview or download the file. The magic happens when the recipient presses the Sign button. A digital signature is applied to the document (yes, you can customize its appearance, believe it or not!), and the initiator is notified via email that the doc has been signed. Once all recipients of the file have signed, the doc can be downloaded. It will have an additional page added to the end, containing all the signatures, and the PDF will no longer be editable. Nice.
Did I mention the cost of all this stuff? FREE!! I have tried to get clients and coworkers to use digital signatures for years, and am sometimes successful. This is a tool that I will use constantly. It makes digital signature technology readily available and a snap to setup and use. Stay tuned--the cloud is getting better and better.
Looking to learn Acrobat quickly? Sign up for my next online Acrobat class where you'll learn a whole bunch more.