Don’t forget to share this post

Microsoft Excel is becoming the go-to productivity tool for an increasing number of reasons. Although we usually associate it with a data collection and transformation tool, it also offers features that help secure it or add another level of professionalism to your dataset.

One way to secure the contents in an Excel document is to add an electronic signature; it is an excellent way to establish data ownership and confidentiality by guaranteeing that a third party has not been involved in altering it.

In this article, we will describe different tools that allow you to sign your Excel document electronically. We will then focus on the “Signature Line” built-in feature and illustrate how to insert and remove the digital signature in Excel.

How to insert a signature in Excel?

In case you are working on an Excel version other than 2019 or 365, below we list two certificate authorities recommended by Microsoft and two signature platforms that are less official but more user-friendly.

Official certificate authorities

  • GlobalSign is a Microsoft-recommended company that provides identity services, among others.
  • IdenTrust is also a certificate authority recommended by Microsoft, which provides downloadable root certificates.

Electronic signing platforms

  • AdobeSign integrates with most business apps, including Microsoft Excel. It allows you to insert a signature line as well as collect digital signatures in multiple documents.
  • HelloSign can also be used for legally binding electronic signatures but is more intuitive for most users than the previous two options.

In all cases, you will need to pay an amount to be able to use the electronic signature in your Excel document. Luckily, Excel 2019 and 365 versions offer a native feature, “Signature Line”, whereby you can quickly and easily sign your document. If you work on a Mac, you cannot access this feature, so it’s recommended that you use one of the tools above to insert signatures into your Excel.

We will first explain how to insert the signature box using the Subject Line feature in Excel and then how to digitally sign with a visible or non-visible signature.

How to Password Protect an Excel File
How to Password-Protect an Excel File?

If you work with important data in Excel, you probably want an extra layer of protection. Here's how to password protect an Excel file

READ MORE

How to insert a signature in Excel using the Subject Line feature?

  1. 1. Click on the cell you will insert your signature in and click Insert > Signature Line.
How to sign an Excel document Insert Signature Line
How to sign an Excel document - Insert Signature Line
  1. 2. Enter the information corresponding to the signer, such as the name, job title, and email address. If you tick the last box, the signature line will include the signature date.
How to sign an Excel document Edit Signature Line
How to sign an Excel document - Edit Signature Line
  1. 3. In case you are not the signer, you can also opt to add instructions. Once you’ve added the instructions, click “OK”.
How to sign an Excel document Edit instructions for signer
How to sign an Excel document - Edit instructions for signer
  1. 4. You should now be able to see your signature line in the corresponding cell.
How to sign an Excel document Signature Line
How to sign an Excel document - Signature Line

We have inserted or created a signature box with the signer’s corresponding data. If you are not the signer, then share the Excel document with the corresponding recipient, so they can sign. In case you want to know more about sharing options, read How to Share an Excel File for Multiple Users.

How to sign an Excel document using the Subject Line feature?

  1. 1. Right-click or double-click on the newly created signature line.
How to sign an Excel document Sign Signature Line
How to sign an Excel document - Sign Signature Line
  1. 2. Select “Sign” and type your name next to the “X” to add a printed version of your signature.
How to sign an Excel document Sign with name
How to sign an Excel document - Sign with name
  1. 3. If you have a scan of your signature, click on “Select Image”, select the location of your signature image and click “Select” on the image file.
How to sign an Excel document Sign with handwritten image
How to sign an Excel document - Sign with handwritten image

Note: In case you are using a tablet or tactile device, you can add a handwritten signature. You can sign your name directly in the box next to the X using an inking feature.

  1. 4. Once you insert your handwritten signature successfully, click “Sign”.
How to sign an Excel document Sign with handwritten image 2
How to sign an Excel document - Sign with handwritten image

Excel will automatically inform you about the current status of your Excel document. “MARKED AS FINAL” means that this file should no longer be editable by anyone else other than the signer.

Now that you know how to successfully insert a signature line in Excel, let’s explore how to digitally sign an Excel document to choose between a visible or non-visible signature.

How to digitally sign an Excel document?

In case you don’t want the signature to show in the Excel document, you can always secure your data without showing the signature. This is how you can digitally sign using an invisible signature while maintaining the integrity and authenticity of the file.

  1. 1. Go to File > Info > Protect Workbook > Add a Digital Signature.
How to sign an Excel document Add a Digital Signature
How to sign an Excel document - Add a Digital Signature
  1. 2. In “Purpose for signing this document”, include the reason this document needs digital signing. Here, I will simply include “Invigilation”. Then, click “Sign”.
How to sign an Excel document Purpose of signing
How to sign an Excel document - Purpose of signing

The “Signatures” button should now appear as well as the “Read-only” status.

How to sign an Excel document Read only status
How to sign an Excel document - Read-only status

Now that you know the multiple ways to add a signature to your spreadsheet, let’s see how to remove digital signatures from Excel.

How to Share an Excel File for Multiple Users?

There are different ways to share an Excel file. Here's how to share an Excel file with multiple users for easy collaboration

READ MORE
How to Share an Excel File for Multiple Users

How to remove a digital signature from Excel?

If you want to remove the “Read-only” status or take ownership of the Excel away from the signer, learning how to remove a digital signature is essential.

  1. 1. Open your Excel document and go to File > Info > View Signatures. This will showcase both the visible and invisible digital signatures.
How to sign an Excel document View Signatures
How to sign an Excel document - View Signatures
  1. 2. Once you find the signature you want to remove, double-click on the arrow next to it, then “Remove Signature”. Click “Yes” in the warning message dialog box.
How to sign an Excel document Remove Signature
How to sign an Excel document - Remove Signature

And that’s it! You have now removed the signature from your Excel document.

How to automate data collection in Google Sheets?

Layer is an add-on that equips finance teams with the tools to increase efficiency and data quality in their FP&A processes on top of Google Sheets. Share parts of your Google Sheets, monitor, review and approve changes, and sync data from different sources – all within seconds.

Using Layer, you can:

  • Share & Collaborate: Automate your data collection and validation through user controls.
  • Automate & Schedule: Schedule recurring data collection and distribution tasks.
  • Integrate & Sync: Connect to your tech stack and sync all your data in one place.
  • Visualize & Report: Generate and share reports with real-time data and actionable decisions.

Limited Time Offer: Sign up today and get free access to Layer, including all the paid features, so you can start managing, automating, and scaling your FP&A processes on top of Google Sheets!

Conclusion

Adding signatures to an Excel file can be extremely vital in many data management processes, whether it’s signing for an official document, protecting the authenticity of a document, or preventing future edits. Luckily, Excel offers a fantastic set of signature tools that help to fulfill all of these needs directly within your file.

This article has shown you how to add and remove signatures in an Excel document by offering a range of third-party tools and a step-by-step illustration of the “Signature Line” Excel native feature. You should also know how to sign a document without showing the signature itself, through the digital signing option, as well as removing signatures altogether.

If you would like to learn advanced levels of protecting your data in Excel, read our blog article on How to Password-protect and Excel File.

Hady ElHady
Hady is Content Lead at Layer.

Hady has a passion for tech, marketing, and spreadsheets. Besides his Computer Science degree, he has vast experience in developing, launching, and scaling content marketing processes at SaaS startups.

Originally published Apr 1 2022, Updated Sep 23 2022