A. Background & Definitions

Microsoft Office (incl. Word, Excel and PowerPoint) offers the possibility to create a digital signature (digital ID) as an electronic stamp of authentication on digital documents.

​B. Guidance & Expectations

To create a digital signature, a signing certificate is required:

  • you can create your own digital certificate for free
  • to allow verification of the authenticity of your digital signature, you can purchase a digital certificate from a reputable third-party certificate authority for a fee – link​

To create a digital signature:

  • ​in the document or worksheet, place your pointer where you want to create a signature line
  • on the Insert tab, in the Text group, click the Signature Line list, and then click Microsoft Office Signature Line – link​

To add another layer of security, the record can be signed not only by one person (e.g. a scientist who performed the experiment) but by several people (e.g. by the author and the Principal investigator):

  • if two (or more) people are to sign the document, it is required to create a signature line for every person who is supposed to sign. This is necessary as the document cannot be modified any longer once a first person has signed. The next person to sign the document can then select the respective signature line and add his/her signature (as this is not considered a document modification)​


  • ​​​​Once a document is signed, the document can not be modified anymore. Even minor changes undone/reverted before saving, are considered as a modification

C. Resources

Information on digital signature certificate – link

Microsoft support information about adding signature lines to Office documents – link