How to Add an Electronic Signature in Google Forms

/ 9 min read
Eliza Frakes

When a good old-fashioned handshake isn’t an option, a handwritten signature is the best way to seal a deal. For large and small businesses operating online, being able to sign documents digitally is crucial.

If you’re using Google Forms to gather online signatures for an agreement or release form, you may be hitting your head against the wall. We're here to help.

Unfortunately, there is no native signature field in Google Forms, so you'll need a workaround to send out your signature requests.

How to add a digital signature in Google Forms in 8 steps

Before we go any further, it's worth noting that while you can collect signatures with Google Forms using an add-on, they won't necessarily be legally binding. If you’re sending serious, legal contracts, you should reach for a more reputable app like DocuSign—which unfortunately does not integrate with this platform.

The laws about legally binding signatures differ depending on your location. The Electronic Transactions Act of 1999 made it possible for digital signatures to be as valid as their traditional wet-ink counterparts, but the ruling is not universal. Before you send any legal document, be sure you understand the laws in your area and use a tool that will allow you to follow them.

In most cases, Google Forms won't be that tool. Still, the signature field can be a great way for respondents to confirm their answers, like double-checking a time off request or confirming the details of an RSVP.

If you find yourself needing one for a use case like that, we've got you covered. These step-by-step instructions will teach you how to add a signature to your Google Form and offer a much easier solution.

1. Create a form

Head to Google Forms and select either a blank form or a premade template. You could also add a signature field to a pre-existing form—just jump to step two, and start from there.

2. Navigate to the Google Workspace Marketplace

From the form editor, select the three-dot menu at the top right-hand of the screen. Scroll down and select add-ons to open up the Google Workspace Marketplace.

Screenshot of Google Forms three dot menu(Image Source: Google Forms)

3. Download the Signature extension

Search for an app called Signature in Google Workspace Marketplace and follow the prompts to install it.

There are quite a few agreements you’ll need to allow, including granting Signature access to all of your Google Drive documents and allowing it to delete any and all of your Google Sheets spreadsheets.

4. Create a response spreadsheet

For the Signature app to work, you need to create a spreadsheet to gather your form responses. (Weird, we know). To do this, navigate to the Responses tab and select the green spreadsheet icon.

This will create a Google Sheet where your responses will be stored. If you forget to create a response spreadsheet, Signature will remind you with an error message.

Google Forms Response page(Image Source: Google Forms)

5. Uncheck “require users to sign in”

From the Settings tab, open up the drop-down menu under Responses. If it’s not done already, toggle off both options listed under require users to sign in. This will allow users outside of your organisation to answer your form. It will also lift the "one response per person" limit.

Why do you need to lift these restrictions to make an e-signature field? To be honest, you shouldn’t have to. But because Signature is such a buggy app, you’ll run into issues if you don’t. So even if you don’t need multiple responses from everyone, the safest bet is to keep them both toggled off.

6. Launch signature and select multiple signatures new

Finally, it’s time to make your signing fields. Select the puzzle piece icon from the top of the page and start Signature. Follow the prompts to log in and complete all the additional setup required. When you’re done, Signature will open as a pop-up on the bottom left hand of the screen.

Once it’s loaded, select Multiple Signatures (new) from the dropdown menu. If you only need a signature from one person, you can select Add Single Signature. You can also place a limit on the number of signatures you can collect.

Signature application pop up(Image Source: Google Forms)

Be sure to uncheck the protect view links for received signatures box. While this sounds like it adds security, because there are so many issues with this app, it actually makes viewing your signatures virtually impossible.

Select Test link from the Signature menu. This will navigate you to a preview of your form. If everything is working correctly, you should see a green button that reads Show Signature Page.

Respondents will need to click this button to complete the electronic signing process. Because there’s no way to sign within your form, they'll be redirected to a separate page to create and submit their signature.

This clunky process makes it particularly hard to gather mobile signatures. If there's anything worse than toggling between tabs on a laptop, it's doing it on a phone.

8. Share your form from the “Get Link” button

Once you’ve tested your link, select the Get Link button from the Signature pop-up. This will copy your form link to your dashboard so you can send it out to signees.

Here’s the kicker. If you don’t share your form via this link, your respondents will not be able to sign. You read that right. You cannot share your signature form the way you would normally share a Google Form.

Test Link and Get Link buttons that display when settings are correctly met in Signature(Image Source: Google Forms)

The signing process is tricky for respondents, too. Not only are they redirected outside of the form, but they have to copy the link from the separate page and paste it into the signature field in Google Forms. It’s not exactly intuitive.

Once you’ve set your form live, you can check your responses in the Google Spreadsheet you’ve created. If you have any issues at this stage, you probably fell into one of the many pitfalls of setting up this tricky add-on. Don’t blame yourself: it’s an unnecessarily difficult process.

Unfortunately, there’s no real way to change your settings after you’ve made the field. You’ll need to cancel any electronic signature fields you've made and create new ones from scratch. And if you’re working with the free version, you only get three shots to get it right.

Take a breath, and retrace the steps outlined in this post. Maybe you sent the wrong link, forgot to uncheck the protect view links for received signatures box, or accidentally restricted access to people only in your organisation.

With a bit of persistence, you’ll find your mistake and get that form signature. Pat yourself on the back for sticking to it. That was not an easy process.

Challenges of adding a digital signature in Google Forms

Signature is a seriously buggy app. Using it to add digital signatures to your Google Forms is a convoluted, unforgiving, and often frustrating process.

Here are just some of the many challenges you’ll face when using Signature.

  • Set up is tedious and time-consuming
  • It’s nearly impossible to adjust settings after creating the field
  • Signatures gathered may not be legally binding
  • There’s no way to sign within your form
  • The signing process is confusing for respondents
  • Signature only works under very specific conditions
  • It's difficult to sign on a phone
  • The user interface is dated and unintuitive
  • There are only a limited number of signatures accepted

For a process designed to make life easier, adding a digital signature in Google Forms is more trouble than it’s worth.

It’s unnecessarily complicated for all parties. And with no real security or legality behind the signatures in Google Forms, there’s little reason to gather one in the first place.

Add electronic signatures easily with Paperform

Paperform makes signing online effortless and secure, for form makers and respondents alike. Our dedicated signature field allows users to sign right from your form—no signing links or clunky applications required. Just use your cursor to draw a handwritten signature and click the checkmark to approve it.

To add a signature field, click anywhere in your form and type /signature. You can also select the Add questions icon and find Signature in the drop-down menu.

And that’s it. In two clicks, you’ve got yourself a stylish, easy-to-use signature field.

Unlike Google Forms, all Paperforms are automatically mobile optimised. Respondents can use their phone touch screen to sign by hand and complete the electronic signature verification, all without leaving the page.

Editing your form field is a breeze, too. Just hop into the configuration menu to adjust your question, add conditional logic, or make the field required. These changes will be updated across platforms automatically, no matter where your form is embedded, even after it's live.

Paperform's easy to use configuration menu(Image Source: Paperform)

All Paperform submissions are secured using TLS 1.2 SSL and encrypted at rest in regularly maintained systems. All that mumbo-jumbo means that you can rest easy knowing your signatures are only accessible to you and your team.

Once you’ve collected your signatures, you can easily view them from your Paperform dashboard. Export form submissions as PDFs, Word documents or CSV files, or make use of our over 3,000 direct and Zapier integrations to share data across platforms automatically.

If you need to send more legally binding documents, like contracts or employee agreements, Paperform connects seamlessly with DocuSign. With this integration in place, a new signature request will be created in DocuSign each time a respondent submits your form.

Thinking about making the move from Google Forms? You can easily migrate your forms over to Paperform with our Google Forms import tool.

Use Paperform as your electronic signature software

Signing online is significantly easier than dealing with cumbersome paper documents. Unfortunately, adding an e-signature field in Google Forms is tedious, difficult to set up, and unreliable. Not to mention, the resulting field is confusing for respondents and form makers alike.

Paperform's intuitive editor and dedicated signature field take the hassle out of signing forms. We give you the tools you need to send signature requests easily, and leave the jumping through hoops for your dog.

And when you make your signature forms with Paperform, you get access to all of these other snazzy features designed to make your work (and life) easier.

  • Automated emails: Send thank you emails to every respondent. Use answer piping to thank them by name, or reference a particular answer they gave.
  • Conditional logic: Create a streamlined, personal form-taking experience by displaying only relevant fields to each respondent. Paperform’s conditional logic is powerful and easy to understand, so everyone can make use of it.
  • Integrate to automate: Connect with over 3,000 apps to share data across platforms and cut down on busy work.
  • Analytics: Gain insights into your form data from our robust built-in Analytics dashboard.
  • Accept payments: Process payments with PayPal, Stripe, Square, Braintree and more, all with zero processing fees.
  • Powerful design tools: Gather the right data every time with our 25+ field types, including Ranking, Matrix, and File Upload.
  • Embed anywhere: Host your form as a stand-alone page, share it on social media, or embed it in a website or as a pop-up.

Paperform offers a much easier way to gather digital signatures. But don’t take our word for it—give it a go yourself with our 14-day free trial. You’ll be making deals in no time.


About the author
Eliza Frakes
Content Writer
Eliza Frakes is a content writer at Paperform. When she’s not writing for the blog, she’s probably writing a play (or acting in one), swimming in the ocean, or taking her very cute dog on a hike.

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