I would like to say I created my digital signature to help the environmental. However, I just don’t like signing my name to everything. Nor do I like mailing invoices to clients. So, I digitized my signature to cut down on signing items and to save postage. Being environment as well is the positive side effect I will just have to live with.
If you are like me, or even if you are not, you too can have a digital copy of your signature using 3 simple steps. For this project, we will be needing a few things, so make sure you have them available:
Piece of plain, unlined paper or index card (white preferred)
Scanner or Digital Camera
1) Signature on Plain White Paper
I typically try to stick with a plain white, unruled piece of paper or index card. Other colors should work, just make sure its not the same color as the ink you are using and unlined. This will make it much easier for using in Inkscape.
If you are not a straight writer, like me, you can try placing a lined item (paper or index card) behind the one you are signing on, to help make your signature more straight.
Note: Different writing instruments will yield slightly different results for the final signature. A thicker pen or marker will result in a thicker signature. I find that a simple pen works best for a digital signature.
2) Put Your Signature into the Computer
For this step, use a scanner if you have one available to you. This will be the easiest way to get your signature into the computer. I don’t have one available, so I used my digital camera and took a picture of the signature.
Note: If your scanner allows you to preview prior to scanning, use this option and select only the area of your signature. This will reduce the final image size and load time inside Inkscape.
3) Use Inkscape to Create Digital Signature
Inkscape offers the ability to trace an image, in this case our signature. You will be importing the image containing your signature, so from the File menu, choose Import… Navigate to the location of your scanned signature, select the file and click Open.
When asked if you want to embed or link the image, choose either one as we won’t be keeping the imported image once we are done. Click OK.
With the imported image selected, from the Path menu select Trace Bitmap… Choose Brightness cutoff and set the threshold to 0.600. Click Update.
If your signature looks good, click OK and a digitized copy of your signature will be created right on top of the selected image.
You won’t need the original copy anymore, so select it and delete it. This will leave only your digitized copy.
Tip: Save the file containing your signature as a Scalable Vector Graphic. Also export your signature, using export from the File menu.
Security: Keep the digitized copy of your signature somewhere safe and make sure any original files it is placed in are secured as well.
One final suggestion. If you are using this signature on any documents you will provide copies to others, make sure the copies provided are in a format they cannot get the signature from, at least not easily. I recommend PDF files.