I don’t think that I’m alone in the annoyance I feel when I’m asked to sign something over the Internet. This usually means having to to print PDFs so that I can sign them, after which I have to then re-scan them. Even though it’s a situation that we don’t encounter too often, it still happens from time to time, which means from time to time, we want to pull all of our hair out. For example, as a freelancer, I sometimes have clients who ask me to sign contracts in order to begin work for certain old-fashioned websites.
Today we are reviewing an app called Signature. The makers behind this app want to help you sign these documents without having to print or scan anything. How does it do it? Let’s see.
If you can get past the unfortunate icon and pay the reasonable price of $2.99 for the app, the first time that you run it you’ll see a small window pointing you in the direction of your menu bar, which is where Signature will live. Unfortunately, there are no real instructions on how to use the app, nor is there any information about the different features that it has. It’s not that the app is complicated, but a few hints on how to use it would be useful initially. The only useful information I found on how to use the app is buried deep in the “Help” menu. This information should point you in the right direction so that you can get those documents signed.
Alright, so let’s say you get emailed a PDF that you need to sign. How would you go about using Signature to help you with this? Clicking the menu bar icon will show you a menu with a handful of options such as, “Sign It” and “Sign It – Advanced”. The first of these will let you simply sign something and that’s it. However, the advanced option gives you a lot more choices, like picking out colors and sizes for the brushes.
Whether you choose the advanced or normal mode, the processes will be essentially the same. You will be able to digitally make a resemblance of your written signature by clicking and dragging inside the Signature window. If you’ve ever tried doing this -with a mouse or a trackpad- you will be familiar with the final results: stiff hieroglyphics that look nothing like handwriting at all. Still, and that’s not really the app’s fault. The description of the app on the Mac App Store says that you can use “pens” as well as the mouse/trackpad. Obviously, users with drawing tablets will fare much better.
After you are happy with your signature, you can press “Enter” to save the current image on the window to your clipboard. You can then paste the image and even resize it to fit any document you would like. You also have the option of saving it as a .png file.
There is one very useful (although it is very hard to get used to) feature that is not advertised under the “Help” menu or on the description of the app. It is called “Active” and you can activate it by double clicking the window in which you sign. A sign saying “Active” will pop-up, and if you click it your cursor will disappear. After that, any gesture that you make will be counted as if you were signing. So, it’s basically a way of signing without having to keep the trackpad/mouse clicked while you move your finger or mouse around. While it may not sound very impressive, this feature is very useful, especially if you are using a trackpad.
As far as shortcomings go, the first thing that must be mentioned is the unsightliness of this app. From the icons, to the fonts and backgrounds, everything looks fairly unprofessional. It’s not that attractiveness is the most important part of an app, but beauty is a standard in most Mac apps. In addition, the few instructions that you find within the app tend to be written in poor English. Again, this is a drawback that is not relevant to the functionality of the app, but it does throw off a little bit.
Now, outside of the aesthetic flaws, there are some small, yet important, details that are missing from this app. If added, I believe these details would help the app become more useful and efficient. For example, some sort of line-smoothing feature would be very beneficial. Lots of iPad drawing and handwriting apps do this and it helps immensely with readability accuracy. Support for formats other than .png would also be useful for some people. Other than these few small details, I can’t imagine a way to improve this app.
Overall, it’s important for you to know what you are getting into when you buy this app. It isn’t a new amazing way of creating “real” signatures on your computer. It does nothing that simple image editors like Gimp or Paint can’t do.
What it does do is give you easy and quick access to creating a “drawing” that resembles your signature and copying it somewhere else with ease and speed. Whether you are comfortable paying $3 dollars for that is entirely up to you. Personally, I think the app is a great concept, but it could have used better execution.