Signed, sealed, and delivered...electronically

Everything you need to know about McGill's eSignature solutions

There is no doubt that the global pandemic has accelerated countless digital transformations, and McGill’s business processes are no exception. With institutions rapidly moving to the cloud and a dramatic increase in hybrid and remote work, electronic signatures (or eSignatures) have quickly become an essential tool in the new digital workspace.

We’re in the midst of an eSignature boom, so let’s learn more about their benefits and how you can incorporate them into your workflow at McGill.

What is an eSignature?

An eSignature is a digital version of a handwritten signature and is a legal way of recording consent or approval on electronic documents and forms.

Which eSignature solutions are available at McGill?

Adobe Acrobat Reader - This can be used to create a basic eSignature on a low-sensitivity document. It is free, easy to use, and available to everyone in the McGill community. This eSignature becomes trusted when one additional factor of authentication is used, such as sending the signed document via your McGill email address, which is recommended.

DocuSign - This provides trusted eSignatures for internal and external agreements and medium-sensitivity documents. It is available upon request for approved pilot users and is best for documents that require signatures from multiple people. 

Not sure what type of eSignature you need?  Consult the decision chart to help you determine which solution is best suited for your situation.

How you'll benefit

Security - Having concerns about how secure your information is should always be top of mind when we talk about digital solutions, especially those that house or manage sensitive data.  The truth is, most eSignatures are actually more secure than traditional signatures on paper, which can easily be tampered with.

Better user experience - Signees can sign quickly, easily, and securely from anywhere, on any device.

Sustainable - There is no doubt that paperless workflows are significantly more sustainable than traditional paper-based processes. According to a recent McGill Reporter article, this is one area in which McGill’s Office of Sustainability has identified an opportunity: ""...There exists the opportunity to expand upon the sustainable habits that have been adopted throughout the pandemic, such as a focus on paperless processes and reduced air travel".

Saves time - Electronic signatures speed up transactions and can prevent unnecessary delays in getting time sensitive documents signed (e.g., HR and vendor contracts). You’ll also save loads of time filling out documents manually, tracking down additional signees and lost documents, scanning printed signed documents, returning incomplete documents, and much more.

Saves money - Traditional signing processes include various costs such as paper, toner, ink, printers (including maintenance), as well as postage and shipping fees. There are also many indirect cost savings related to the time you’ll save by abandoning paper workflows, as listed above. 

Streamlines processes while minimizing errors - For example, DocuSign tracks signatures in real-time and directs signees to mandatory signature fields, helping you avoid delays and inconveniences.  


Whether you use Adobe Acrobat Reader or DocuSign, the benefits of adopting eSignatures are huge and sending and signing is fast, easy, and intuitive. Are you ready to e-sign on the dotted line? 

Related articles

To learn more about the eSignature solutions mentioned above and how to use them, you can refer to the following IT Knowledge Base articles: 

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