How to add an electronic signature in Google Forms

Online forms have a lot of uses. They’re an easy way for companies, nonprofits, and even individuals to collect data and sign people up for different events.

Healthcare organizations, childcare providers, and entertainment venues are just three examples of companies that can collect data prior to an event by sending participants a link to a form.

This can replace paper methods like intake forms or waivers, as long as there’s a spot for an electronic signature. It’s a time-saving, money-saving, and lately, potentially life-saving, mechanism.

E-signatures make it easier for people to sign contracts and documents and get started on projects right away. When companies adopt e-signatures, they see a significant improvement in getting approvals and in document costs.

For companies that need a simple form signed, it makes sense to embed the e-signature into an electronic form, then send the form link to the person who needs to sign it. Since Gmail boasts more than 1.5 billion global active users, it makes sense to add an electronic signature in Google Forms since users can easily access the platform from their Google accounts.

What’s the best Google Forms Alternative?

If you’re looking for the best alternative to Google Forms, look no further. Jotform’s full-featured form-building solution is mobile-friendly and has the most integrations in the industry. Contact the Jotform Enterprise sales team to start your journey today.

Can you add an e-signature in Google Forms?

One look at Google support forums shows that some people have found it difficult to add an electronic signature in Google Forms.

Google Forms hasn’t had an electronic signature feature or an add-on that could be used. Instead, Google Forms users devise workarounds, like including a field for users to type in their initials to indicate they accept that as an e-signature alternative.

The problem with using a field for people to type in initials or their name, or adding a checkbox, is that there is no real electronic signature, just the honor system. It doesn’t confirm the identity of the person signing the document in any meaningful way.

E-signature software like DocuSign and Adobe Sign generates a security certificate that includes traceable information — who signed the document, when they signed it, and where they signed it — which typically includes the IP address of the signer. This software is intended to comply with the U.S. ESIGN Act and Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) so that, if there’s any question about or dispute over the document, the signature can be verified.

With the wrong solution, important elements of ESIGN and UETA aren’t met and issues can arise. For example, you may not have a record that specifies how the signature was created, or text or a graphic added to the signed record to prove it was signed with an electronic signature. This can leave a lot of wiggle room for people to back out of contracts or claim they didn’t understand a contract.

Pro Tip

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How to ensure your e-signature is valid

For those who want to make sure the e-signatures on their forms are enforceable, Google Forms may not be the best choice. Since there’s no way to add an e-signature field, it’s worth looking elsewhere for forms that require a signature — ideally, choosing a form provider that can integrate with the e-signature platform of your choice.

There are a lot of e-signature widgets that can be embedded into forms; it’s a matter of company or personal preference as to which one you use. The following programs all provide an audit trail, which is required under  applicable laws for electronic signatures:

Pro Tip

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Adding e-signatures to forms

Creating online forms with e-signatures is a fairly easy process. Look for a form provider that lets you drag and drop fields into your forms. The form builder should also have templates that help you create online forms, which will save you time and let you send documents to customers and prospects much faster.

Make sure it’s easy to add e-signatures to your forms. As you examine e-signature solutions and form providers, pay attention to the ones that will make this a simple process. Ideally, you should be able to add the e-signature as quickly as you would any other form element, like a checkbox.

While there is no easy way to add an e-signature field to Google Forms, you can still get your electronic forms signed. You just need to choose a provider that has a widget for e-signatures or that lets you integrate a widget from the e-signature provider you want to use.


This article is originally published on Sep 09, 2020, and updated on Dec 02, 2022.

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