How to Insert a Digital Signature in Excel
– 3 Methods (2024)

You can add a signature to sign off an Excel document, indicating it should not be edited further.

There’s a variety of ways to do this, and the right one for you depends on how legit you want the signature to be – and whether you want to pay or not.

Follow along as I show you the 3 best options out there👍

Method 1: Digital signature with certificate authority

The most legitimate way to digitally sign a Microsoft Excel document (file) is with an official digital certificate.

What is a digital signature in Excel?

A digital signature, also known as a digital ID signature, or an e-signature, is an encrypted stamp of authentication. It confirms that the document and its contents come from the signer and haven’t been altered by someone else.

Digital signature in Excel example

As you can see from the example above, after the Excel file has been digitally signed, editing is discouraged (although not entirely impossible).

This electronic signature helps validate the identity of the signer and the validity of the content.

With Excel, you can insert a signature line and sign it as well for free. But if you want to make it even more legit and authentic, you must obtain a signing certificate from a certificate authority.

Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist

Two certificate authorities that Microsoft recommends are:

Take note that digital certificates from these companies aren’t free.

Step 1: Insert a Microsoft Office signature line

To insert a Microsoft Office signature line in Excel, click on a cell where you want to place the signature line and head over to the ‘Insert’ tab.

Excel insert tab

Then, click the ‘Signature Line’ icon found on the ‘Text’ group.

Insert a signature line in Excel

Excel will then open a window for you to set up the signature line.

Step 2: Digital signature setup

Here, all you have to do is supply the information needed such as the signer’s name, suggested signer’s title, and email address.

You can also enter an instruction for the signer and allow the signer to add a comment in the signature setup dialog box.

Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist

Lastly, you could also show the sign date in the signature line.

Digital signature setup

Once you’re satisfied with the setup, click on the ‘OK’ button to insert the signature line.

Here’s how the signature line looks now:

Signature line example

Pretty cool, right?😎

Digitally sign the document

To sign the signature line, ensure first that the data on the spreadsheet is ready and there’s nothing you or the signer has to change.

1. Once you confirm that there’s nothing you have to edit, double-click on the signature line until an Excel ‘Sign’ window will show up.

2. Here, you can either type your name on the signature line (if you’re the signer of course) or insert a picture to use as the signature.

Sign the digital signature line

3. You can also add additional details by clicking on the ‘Details…’ box.

Additional signing information

4. Once you’re satisfied, click on the ‘Sign’ box.

Here’s how it looks now:

Digital signature example in Excel

Wasn’t that hard, eh?😉

Remove certificate signature lines

If you don’t want your signature line there anymore, you just left-click it and delete it like any other object – if it’s not signed, that is.

If it is signed, you need to right-click it and click ‘Remove signature’.

Invisible digital signature

If you have your Microsoft Office signature certificate you can add invisible digital signatures quite easily.

1. Go to the ‘File’ tab.

2. Click on ‘Info.

3. Click on the ‘Protect workbook’ drop-down list

4. Choose ‘Add a Digital Signature’.

Add invisible digital signature

This “invisible” signature isn’t visible within a specific sheet like the previous one.

And it does require a signing certificate like the visible ones.

Method 2: Handwritten digital signature

You can also insert a signature in Excel by creating a digital version of your own handwritten digital.

1. Go to the ‘Draw’ tab.

2. Toggle on the ‘Draw’ button on the left side of the ribbon.

3. Draw your electronic signature.

If you have a touch monitor (e.g. on a laptop or from Excel on your smartphone) you can draw a good-looking signature with your finger. If you don’t, you can use the mouse – it’s not as easy as you might think, though. It’ll probably take a few tries.

Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist

4. Toggle off the ‘Draw’ button.

Add handwritten signature

5. Now the signature is considered a normal Excel shape that you can move and modify as much as you want.

If you don’t see the ‘Draw’ tab on your Excel version, follow this guide to find it.

Method 3: Electronic signature from image

You can add a signature by printing the document, writing your signature on it, and then scanning it.

For many people around the globe, this is the preferred way to sign any document/file.

But this is better:

When you have an electronic version of your signature you can sign documents very easily (and quickly).

Trust me, you’ll wish you did this long ago.

1. Take a pen and write your signature on a white piece of paper.

2. Either do a scan of the page or take a picture with your smartphone (scanning is preferred).

3. Copy the scanned image into Excel.

4. In ‘Picture Format’, crop the image so it fits better to the signature (that’s now becoming an electronic signature).

Change the image size of the scan

Now, you can copy this scanned image of your signature and use it whenever you need it.

I’ve personally saved SO much time using this before I figured out to do it a smarter way⏱️

Wrapping things up…

1 paid method and 2 free ones for inserting digital signatures in Excel. Which one fits your need?

Typically, the core users for digital signatures with certificate authentication are bigger companies that have some very important documents to sign.

If that’s overkill for you, use the free, and simple, options for adding your handwritten electronic signatures✍️

But authentication and validity don’t make a good spreadsheet on their own.

You need something else to actually elevate it. Something like IF, SUMIF, pivot tables, and VLOOKUP.

And that’s exactly what you learn in my 30-minute free course.

Click here to read more and enroll for free.

Already know IF, SUMIF, pivot tables, and VLOOKUP? No worries, we ask about your skill level before sending the course. Just let us know what you want to learn and we’ll send what you need.

Other resources

There are other ways of (attempting to) assuring validity and authenticity in your files than creating digital signatures.

An obvious method for doing so is to protect your work by locking cells, sheets, or the entire workbook. Read all about protecting Excel files here.

Also, if you’re tired of other people opening your file and making typos, you definitely need to check out data validation and especially drop-down lists.

Thanks for reading👋