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Wet Signature Guide: What It Is and How To Replace It

by Hung Nguyen

You can also read this article in German, Spanish, French, Indonesian, Italian and Portuguese.

Learn what a traditional wet signature is, and how you can quickly create your own electronic signature from the 'wet' version with Smallpdf—for free.

Welcome to the ever-changing world of document signing. If you’re scratching your head wondering what's the difference between the different types of signatures—we’ll help you out; it’s not at all that complicated.

What Is a Wet Signature?


Simply put, a wet signature is one you create when you manually sign a physical piece of document. Traditionally, you do so using an inked pen or a stamp—and the signature requires some time to dry—hence why it is ‘wet.’

Remember blowing on your written signature to dry after using a fountain pen? That’s precisely it.


Any physically singed signature = a wet signature

Photo by Lewis Keegan on Unsplash

Easy, right? Now that’s out of the way—time to learn about e-signatures.

Electronic signatures are digitalized versions of your signature. Even if you’re new to it, you probably have created one before: Think of the times you’ve had to sign a tablet from the postman before receiving a parcel.

Smallpdf offers one of the most popular online tools to create your own electronic signature for free. It’s simple, too.

How To Turn a Wet Signature Into an Electronic Signature

  1. Have a scanned copy of your wet signature (as large as possible).

  2. Open up a document you wish to sign to our eSign tool.

  3. Click ‘Create Signature’ and ‘Upload’ on the next dialog box.

  4. Upload the photo of your wet signature.

  5. We will then turn it into an electronic signature.

  6. Pick the color and hit ‘Create Signature’ to finish.


How to turn an old school wet signature into an electronic signature, using the Smallpdf eSign tool.

And that’s all there is to it. You can then review your document and complete the signing process.

While you create your first electronic signature, you can also recreate your wet signature by drawing it via a stylus or mouse.

With this online tool—you can also request an electronic version of someone else’s wet signature by adding signers via our online eSign tool. We will send the requester (you) and the signers with emails to notify you of every step of the singing process.

If you are looking to preserve a copy of your wet signature in PDF or image format (without) signing a document—please check out our guide on how to create a signature.

Remember to always verify with other involved parties on specific legal requirements. Although electronic signatures are widely accepted, some may still favor a handwritten signature. In such circumstances, you would need to sign in person or post paper documents for singing.

How To Create a Digital and Legally Binding Version of Your Wet Signature


The second type of electronic signatures is digital signatures. The process to create these signatures is the same, but we will generate digital seal protection on top of all signatures. Thus, you can verify the time it was signed, the signer, and whether the content was changed since the time of singing.

Daily business processes require the constant signing of both physical and electronic documents. Whether you require a wet signature, an electronic signature, or digital sealing depends on the current and growing needs of your business and clients. Remember to check in with your local laws with regards to the legality of electronic and digital signatures.

Our service is free to use, twice per day, whenever you need to digitize your wet signature into a standard electronic signature. For the digital signing service, you can opt for a Pro subscription of Smallpdf, which enables just this. But better yet, we will provide you with the most streamlined singing experience: you can store signatures online, request up to 100 signers, and also have unlimited access to 20 other useful PDF tools on our site.

With over 30 million monthly users, we help anybody and everybody daily to convert scanned copies of physical sheets of paper to PDF format, shrink large stacks of digital documents into email-ready sizes, and sign countless contracts and forms using the eSign tool. Get started for free today!

Hung Nguyen
Hung Nguyen
Senior Growth Marketing Manager